Crystal structure of calcium-free human gelsolin
[GELS_HUMAN] Defects in GSN are the cause of amyloidosis type 5 (AMYL5) [MIM:105120]; also known as familial amyloidosis Finnish type. AMYL5 is a hereditary generalized amyloidosis due to gelsolin amyloid deposition. It is typically characterized by cranial neuropathy and lattice corneal dystrophy. Most patients have modest involvement of internal organs, but severe systemic disease can develop in some individuals causing peripheral polyneuropathy, amyloid cardiomyopathy, and nephrotic syndrome leading to renal failure.   
[GELS_HUMAN] Calcium-regulated, actin-modulating protein that binds to the plus (or barbed) ends of actin monomers or filaments, preventing monomer exchange (end-blocking or capping). It can promote the assembly of monomers into filaments (nucleation) as well as sever filaments already formed. Plays a role in ciliogenesis.
Publication Abstract from PubMed
Gelsolin consists of six homologous domains (G1-G6), each containing a conserved Ca-binding site. Occupation of a subset of these sites enables gelsolin to sever and cap actin filaments in a Ca-dependent manner. Here, we present the structures of Ca-free human gelsolin and of Ca-bound human G1-G3 in a complex with actin. These structures closely resemble those determined previously for equine gelsolin. However, the G2 Ca-binding site is occupied in the human G1-G3/actin structure, whereas it is vacant in the equine version. In-depth comparison of the Ca-free and Ca-activated, actin-bound human gelsolin structures suggests G2 and G6 to be cooperative in binding Ca(2+) and responsible for opening the G2-G6 latch to expose the F-actin-binding site on G2. Mutational analysis of the G2 and G6 Ca-binding sites demonstrates their interdependence in maintaining the compact structure in the absence of calcium. Examination of Ca binding by G2 in human G1-G3/actin reveals that the Ca(2+) locks the G2-G3 interface. Thermal denaturation studies of G2-G3 indicate that Ca binding stabilizes this fragment, driving it into the active conformation. The G2 Ca-binding site is mutated in gelsolin from familial amyloidosis (Finnish-type) patients. This disease initially proceeds through protease cleavage of G2, ultimately to produce a fragment that forms amyloid fibrils. The data presented here support a mechanism whereby the loss of Ca binding by G2 prolongs the lifetime of partially activated, intermediate conformations in which the protease cleavage site is exposed.
Ca2+ binding by domain 2 plays a critical role in the activation and stabilization of gelsolin.,Nag S, Ma Q, Wang H, Chumnarnsilpa S, Lee WL, Larsson M, Kannan B, Hernandez-Valladares M, Burtnick LD, Robinson RC Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 18;106(33):13713-8. Epub 2009 Aug 4. PMID:19666512
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.