A

 
 
 

 H-M

 
 

 BC

 
 
Flowchart: Preparation: Cdc25                

Text Box: Cdk2Text Box: Ghk1                         

                                

Text Box: Cdc25
 


                                          

Text Box: Cdc2

Text Box: Cycline B                   

 

Ras proteins are small G proteins playing a major role in eukaryotic signal transduction. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEF) stimulate GDP/GTP exchange, resulting in the formation of the active Ras-GTP complex. In mammalian cells, two major Ras-specific GEF exist: Sos-like and Cdc25-like. To date, structural data are available only for Cdc25(Mm). We designed and synthesized Cdc25(Mm)-derived peptides spanning residues corresponding to the hSos1 HI helical hairpin that has been implicated in the GEF catalytic mechanism. NMR experiments on a chemically synthesized Cdc25(Mm)(1178)(-)(1222) peptide proved that helix I readily reaches a conformation very similar to the corresponding helix in hSos1, while residues corresponding to helix H in hSos1 show higher conformational flexibility. Molecular dynamics studies with the appropriate solvent model showed that different conformational spaces are available for the peptide. Since helix H is making several contacts with Ras and a Cdc25(Mm)(1178)(-)(1222) peptide is able to bind nucleotide-free Ras in a BIAcore assay, the peptide must be able to obtain the proper Ras-interacting conformation, at least transiently. These results indicate that rational design and improvement of the Ras-interacting peptides should take into account conformational and flexibility features to obtain molecules with the appropriate biochemical properties.