A model for the three-dimensional structure of human plasma vitronectin from small-angle scattering measurements

Gary W. Lynn, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
William T. Heller, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Anand Mayasundari, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Kenneth H. Minor, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Cynthia B. Peterson, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) measurements were used to characterize vitronectin, a circulatory protein found in human plasma that functions in regulating cell adhesion and migration, as well as proteolytic cascades that affect blood coagulation, fibrinolysis, and pericellular proteolysis. SAXS measurements were taken over a 3-fold range of protein concentrations, yielding data that characterize a monodisperse system of particles with an average radius of gyration of 30.3 ± 0.6 Å and a maximum linear dimension of 110 Å. Shape restoration was applied to the data to produce two models of the solution structure of the ligand-free protein. A low-resolution model of the protein was generated that indicates the protein to be roughly peanut-shaped. A better understanding of the domain structure of vitronectin resulted from low-resolution models developed from available high-resolution structures of the domains. These domains include the N-terminal domain that was determined experimentally by NMR [Mayasundari, A., Whittemore, N. A., Serpersu, E. H., and Peterson, C. B. (2004) J. Biol. Chem. 279, 29359-29366] and the docked structure of the central and C-terminal domains that were determined by computational threading [Xu, D., Baburaj, K., Peterson, C. B., and Xu, Y. (2001) Proteins: Struct., Funct., Genet. 44, 312-320]. This model provides an indication of the disposition of the central domain and C-terminal heparin-binding domains of vitronectin with respect to the N-terminal somatomedin B (SMB) domain. This model constructed from the available domain structures, which agrees with the low-resolution model produced from the SAXS data, shows the SMB domain well separated from the central and heparin-binding domains by a disordered linker (residues 54-130). Also, binding sites within the SMB domain are predicted to be well exposed to the surrounding solvent for ease of access to its various ligands.