Structure of human saposin A at lysosomal pH.
The saposins are essential cofactors for the normal lysosomal degradation of complex glycosphingolipids by acid hydrolase enzymes; defects in either saposin or hydrolase function lead to severe metabolic diseases. Saposin A (SapA) activates the enzyme β-galactocerebrosidase (GALC), which catalyzes the breakdown of β-D-galactocerebroside, the principal lipid component of myelin. SapA is known to bind lipids and detergents in a pH-dependent manner; this is accompanied by a striking transition from a
closed' to an open' conformation. However, previous structures were determined at non-lysosomal pH. This work describes a 1.8 Å resolution X-ray crystal structure determined at the physiologically relevant lysosomal pH 4.8. In the absence of lipid or detergent at pH 4.8, SapA is observeed to adopt a conformation closely resembling the previously determined
closed' conformation, showing that pH alone is not sufficient for the transition to the open' conformation. Structural alignments reveal small conformational changes, highlighting regions of flexibility.
Royal Society (1562)
Wellcome Trust (100140/Z/12/Z)