FYVE domains are small zinc-finger-like domains found in many proteins that are involved in regulating membrane traffic and have been shown to bind specifically to phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PtdIns-3-P). FYVE domains are thought to recruit PtdIns-3-P effectors to endosomal locations in vivo, where these effectors participate in controlling endosomal maturation and vacuolar protein sorting. We have compared the characteristics of PtdIns-3-P binding by the FYVE domain from Hrs-1 (the hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate) with those of specific phosphoinositide binding by Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains. Like certain PH domains (such as that from phospholipase C-δ1), the Hrs-1 FYVE domain specifically recognizes a single phosphoinositide. However, while phosphoinositide binding by highly specific PH domains is driven almost exclusively by interactions with the lipid headgroup, this is not true for the Hrs-1 FYVE domain. The phospholipase C-δ1 PH domain shows a 10-fold preference for binding isolated headgroup over its preferred lipid (phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate) in a membrane, while the Hrs-1 FYVE domain greatly prefers (more than 50-fold) intact lipid in a bilayer over the isolated headgroup (inositol 1,3-bisphosphate). By contrast with reports for certain PH domains, we find that this preference for membrane binding over interaction with soluble lipid headgroups does not require FYVE domain oligomerization.
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