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Proteins from the LTBP/fibrillin family perform key structural and functional roles in connective tissues. LTBP1 forms the large latent complex with TGFβ and its propeptide LAP, and sequesters the latent growth factor to the extracellular matrix. Bioinformatics studies suggest the main structural features of the LTBP1 C-terminus are conserved through evolution. NMR studies were carried out on three overlapping C-terminal fragments of LTBP1, comprising four domains with characterised homologues, cbEGF14, TB3, EGF3 and cbEGF15, and three regions with no homology to known structures. The NMR data reveal that the four domains adopt canonical folds, but largely lack the interdomain interactions observed with homologous fibrillin domains; the exception is the EGF3-cbEGF15 domain pair which has a well-defined interdomain interface. (15)N relaxation studies further demonstrate that the three interdomain regions act as flexible linkers, allowing a wide range of motion between the well-structured domains. This work is consistent with the LTBP1 C-terminus adopting a flexible "knotted rope" structure, which may facilitate cell matrix interactions, and the accessibility to proteases or other factors that could contribute to TGFβ activation.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Amino Acid Sequence, Binding Sites, Humans, Latent TGF-beta Binding Proteins, Molecular Dynamics Simulation, Molecular Sequence Data, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular, Protein Binding, Protein Structure, Secondary, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Structural Homology, Protein