Self-assembly of a dimeric avidin into unique higher-order oligomers

Juana Bana, Jessica Warwar, Edward A. Bayer, Oded Livnah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The dimeric avidin family has been expanded in recent years to include many new members. All of them lack the intermonomeric Trp that plays a critical role in biotin-binding. Nevertheless, these new members of the avidins maintain the high affinity towards biotin. Additionally, all of the dimeric avidins share a very unique property: namely, the cylindrical oligomerization in the crystal structure. The newest member described here, agroavidin from the agrobacterium, Rhizobium sp. AAP43, shares their important structural features. However, the affinity of agroavidin towards biotin is lower than all other members of the avidin family, due to the presence of phenylalanine instead of a conserved tyrosine in the biotin-binding site. Mutating this phenylalanine into tyrosine regenerated the high affinity, which emphasizes the importance of this particular tyrosine residue. Another unique feature that distinguishes agroavidin from the other dimeric avidins is that it does not produce oligomers in its crystal structure. In order to understand the factors that promote oligomerization in dimeric avidins, we exchanged the C-terminal region of agroavidin with that of hoefavidin that produced octamers. This exchange resulted in a decamer rather than an octamer. This unusual outcome demonstrates the impact of the C-terminal region on the ability to produce oligomers. The decameric assembly of agroavidin expands the avidin-biotin toolbox even further and could well pave the path into new biotin-based technologies. Moreover, uncovering the factors that induce dimeric avidins into oligomeric assemblies may aid in better understanding the general molecular determinants that promote oligomerization.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3563-3579
Number of pages17
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. The FEBS Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Biochemical Societies.


  • avidins
  • biotechnology
  • crystal structure
  • high-affinity systems
  • oligomerization
  • protein self-assembly


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