Samna Soumana, O ; Garnier, N ; Genest, M
European Biophysics Journal, 37 (6) 851-864.
publié le , mis à jour le
ErbB receptors undergo a complex interaction network defining hierarchical and competition relationships. Dimerization is driven entirely by receptor-receptor interactions and the transmembrane domains play a role in modulating the specificity and the selection of the partners during signal transduction. To shed light on the role of the GxxxG-like dimerization motifs in the formation of ErbB transmembrane heterodimers, we propose structural models resulting from conformational search method combined with molecular dynamics simulations. Left-handed structures of the transmembrane heterodimers are found preponderant over right-handed structures. All heterotypic heterodimers undergo two modes of association either via the N-terminal motif or the C-terminal motif. The transmembrane domain of ErbB3 impairs this C-terminal motif but also associates with the other partners owing to the presence of Gly residues. The two dimerization modes involve different orientations of the two helices. Thus, a molecular-switch model allowing the transition between the two dimerizing states may apply to the heterodimers and could help interpret receptor competition for the formation of homodimers and heterodimers. The comparison between experimental and theoretical results on the dimerization hierarchy of the transmembrane domains is not straightforward. However, we demonstrate that the intrinsic properties of the transmembrane sequences are an important component in heterodimer formation and that the ErbB2 and ErbB3 transmembrane domains have a strong power for heterodimerization as observed experimentally..