Journal of Structural Biology, Vol.205, No.2, 189-195, 2019
Structural transformation-mediated dimerization of caspase recruitment domain revealed by the crystal structure of CARD-only protein in frog virus 3
Caspase recruitment domain (CARD)-only proteins (COPs), regulate apoptosis, inflammation, and innate immunity. They inhibit the assembly of NOD-like receptor complexes such as the inflammasome and NODosome, which are molecular complexes critical for caspase-1 activation. COPs are known to interact with either caspase-1 CARD or RIP2 CARD via a CARD-CARD interaction, and inhibit caspase-1 activation or further downstream signaling. In addition to the human COPs, Pseudo-ICE, INCA, and ICEBERG, several viruses also contain viral COPs that help them escape the host immune system. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of host immunity inhibition by viral COPs, we solved the structure of a viral COP for the first time. Our structure showed that viral COP forms a structural transformation-mediated dimer, which is unique and has not been reported in any structural study of a CARD domain. Based on the current structure, and the previously solved structures of other death domain superfamily members, we propose that structural transformation-mediated dimerization might be a new strategy for dimer assembly in the death domain superfamily.