Actin capping protein (CP) can be regulated by steric and allosteric mechanisms. The molecular mechanism of the allosteric regulation at a biophysical level includes linkage between the binding sites for three ligands: F-actin, Capping-Protein-Interacting (CPI) motifs, and V-1/myotrophin, based on biochemical functional studies and solvent accessibility experiments. Here, we investigated the mechanism of allosteric regulation at the atomic level using single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and molecular dynamics (MD) to assess the conformational and structural dynamics of CP in response to linked-binding site ligands. In the absence of ligand, both single-molecule FRET and MD revealed two distinct conformations of CP in solution; previous crystallographic studies revealed only one. Interaction with CPI-motif peptides induced conformations within CP that bring the cap and stalk closer, while interaction with V-1 moves them away from one another. Comparing CPI-motif peptides from different proteins, we identified variations in CP conformations and dynamics that are specific to each CPI motif. MD simulations for CP alone and in complex with a CPI motif and V-1 reveal atomistic details of the conformational changes. Analysis of the interaction of CP with wild-type (wt) and chimeric CPI-motif peptides using single-molecule FRET, isothermal calorimetry (ITC) and MD simulation indicated that conformational and affinity differences are intrinsic to the C-terminal portion of the CPI motif. We conclude that allosteric regulation of CP involves changes in conformation that disseminate across the protein to link distinct binding-site functions. Our results provide novel insights into the biophysical mechanism of the allosteric regulation of CP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number168342
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2023


  • CPI-motif proteins
  • Single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer
  • V-1
  • protein conformation


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