Otoferlin C2F Domain-Induced Changes in Membrane Structure Observed by Sum Frequency Generation

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Proteins that contain C2 domains are involved in a variety of biological processes, including encoding of sound, cell signaling, and cell membrane repair. Of particular importance is the interface activity of the C-terminal C2F domain of otoferlin due to the pathological mutations known to significantly disrupt the protein's lipid membrane interface binding activity, resulting in hearing loss. Therefore, there is a critical need to define the geometry and positions of functionally important sites and structures at the otoferlin-lipid membrane interface. Here, we describe the first in situ probe of the protein orientation of otoferlin's C2F domain interacting with a cell membrane surface. To identify this protein's orientation at the lipid interface, we applied sum frequency generation (SFG) vibrational spectroscopy and coupled it with simulated SFG spectra to observe and quantify the otoferlin C2F domain interacting with model lipid membranes. A model cell membrane was built with equal amounts of phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine. SFG measurements of the lipids that make up the model membrane indicate a 62% increase in amplitude from the SFG signal near 2075 cm−1 upon protein interaction, suggesting domain-induced changes in the orientation of the lipids and possible membrane curvature. This increase is related to lipid ordering caused by the docking interaction of the otoferlin C2F domain. SFG spectra taken from the amide-I region contain features near 1630 and 1670 cm−1 related to the C2F domains beta-sandwich secondary structure, thus indicating that the domain binds in a specific orientation. By mapping the simulated SFG spectra to the experimentally collected SFG spectra, we found the C2F domain of otoferlin orients 22° normal to the lipid surface. This information allows us to map what portion of the domain directly interacts with the lipid membrane.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiophysical Journal
Pages (from-to)1820-1830
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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