The Activation of the Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva-Inducing ALK2-R206H Mutant Depends on the Distinct Homo-Oligomerization Patterns of ACVR2B and ACVR2A

Szabina Szófia Szilágyi, Wiktor Burdzinski, Jerome Jatzlau, Marcelo Ehrlich, Petra Knaus, Yoav I. Henis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mutations in activin-like kinase 2 (ALK2), e.g., ALK2-R206H, induce aberrant signaling to SMAD1/5/8, leading to Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP). In spite of extensive studies, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Here, we quantified the homomeric and heteromeric interactions of ACVR2A, ACVR2B, ALK2-WT, and ALK2-R206H by combining IgG-mediated immobilization of one receptor with fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) measurements on the lateral diffusion of a co-expressed receptor. ACVR2B formed stable homomeric complexes that were enhanced by Activin A (ActA), while ACVR2A required ActA for homodimerization. ALK2-WT, but not ALK2-R206H, exhibited homomeric complexes unaffected by ActA. ACVR2B formed ActA-enhanced heterocomplexes with ALK2-R206H or ALK2-WT, while ACVR2A interacted mainly with ALK2-WT. The extent of the homomeric complex formation of ACVR2A or ACVR2B was reflected in their ability to induce the oligomerization of ALK2-R206H and ALK2-WT. Thus, ACVR2B, which forms dimers without ligand, induced ActA-independent ALK2-R206H clustering but required ActA for enhancing the oligomerization of the largely dimeric ALK2-WT. In contrast, ACVR2A, which undergoes homodimerization in response to ActA, required ActA to induce ALK2-R206H oligomerization. To investigate whether these interactions are translated into signaling, we studied signaling by the FOP-inducing hyperactive ALK2-R206H mutant, with ALK2-WT signaling as control. The activation of SMAD1/5/8 signaling in cells expressing ALK2-R206H alone or together with ACVR2A or ACVR2B was measured by blotting for pSMAD1/5/8 and by transcriptional activation assays using BRE-Luc reporter. In line with the biophysical studies, ACVR2B activated ALK2-R206H without ligand, while activation by ACVR2A was weaker and required ActA. We propose that the homodimerization of ACVR2B or ACVR2A dictates their ability to recruit ALK2-R206H into higher complexes, enabling the homomeric interactions of ALK2-R206H receptors and, subsequently, their activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number221
JournalCells
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Funding

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation368/18

    Keywords

    • ALK2
    • ALK2-R206H
    • FOP (fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva)
    • FRAP
    • activin A
    • activin receptors
    • lateral diffusion
    • signaling

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