The quaternary architecture of RARβ-RXRα heterodimer facilitates domain-domain signal transmission.
Chandra V., Wu D., Li S., Potluri N., Kim Y., Rastinejad F.
Assessing the physical connections and allosteric communications in multi-domain nuclear receptor (NR) polypeptides has remained challenging, with few crystal structures available to show their overall structural organizations. Here we report the quaternary architecture of multi-domain retinoic acid receptor β-retinoic X receptor α (RARβ-RXRα) heterodimer bound to DNA, ligands and coactivator peptides, examined through crystallographic, hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, mutagenesis and functional studies. The RARβ ligand-binding domain (LBD) and DNA-binding domain (DBD) are physically connected to foster allosteric signal transmission between them. Direct comparisons among all the multi-domain NRs studied crystallographically to date show significant variations within their quaternary architectures, rather than a common architecture adhering to strict rules. RXR remains flexible and adaptive by maintaining loosely organized domains, while its heterodimerization partners use a surface patch on their LBDs to form domain-domain interactions with DBDs.Nuclear receptors (NR) are multidomain proteins, which makes their crystallization challenging. Here the authors present the crystal structure of the retinoic acid receptor β-retinoic X receptor α (RARβ-RXRα) heterodimer bound to DNA, ligands and coactivator peptides, which shows that NR quaternary architectures are variable.