Molecular mechanism of membrane targeting by the GRP1 PH domain

Ju He, Rachel M. Haney, Mohsin Vora, Vladislav V. Verkhusha, Robert V. Stahelin, Tatiana G. Kutateladze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The general receptor for phosphoinositides isoform 1(GRP1) is recruited to the plasma membrane in response to activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinases and accumulation of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P3]. GRP1's pleckstrin homology (PH) domain recognizes PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 with high specificity and affinity, however, the precise mechanism of its association with membranes remains unclear. Here, we detail the molecular basis of membrane anchoring by the GRP1 PH domain. Our data reveal a multivalent membrane docking involving PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 binding, regulated by pH and facilitated by electrostatic interactions with other anionic lipids. The specific recognition of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 triggers insertion of the GRP1 PH domain into membranes. An acidic environment enhances PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 binding and increases membrane penetration as demonstrated by NMR and monolayer surface tension and surface plasmon resonance experiments. The GRP1 PH domain displays a 28 nM affinity for POPC/1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl- sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine/PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 vesicles at pH 6.0, but binds 22-fold weaker at pH 8.0. The pH sensitivity is attributed in part to the His355 residue, protonation of which is required for the robust interaction with PtdIns (3,4,5)P3 and significant membrane penetration, as illustrated by mutagenesis data. The binding affinity of the GRP1 PH domain for PtdIns(3,4,5)P3-containing vesicles is further amplified (by ∼6-fold) by nonspecific electrostatic interactions with phosphatidylserine/ phosphatidylinositol. Together, our results provide new insight into the multivalent mechanism of the membrane targeting and regulation of the GRP1 PH domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1807-1815
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • General receptor for phosphoinositides isoform 1
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate
  • Phosphoinositide
  • Pleckstrin homology domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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