PROTEIN STRUCTURE. Crystal structure of a mycobacterial Insig homolog provides insight into how these sensors monitor sterol levels.
Insulin-induced gene 1 (Insig-1) and Insig-2 are endoplasmic reticulum membrane-embedded sterol sensors that regulate the cellular accumulation of sterols. Despite their physiological importance, the structural information on Insigs remains limited. Here we report the high-resolution structures of MvINS, an Insig homolog from Mycobacterium vanbaalenii. MvINS exists as a homotrimer. Each protomer comprises six transmembrane segments (TMs), with TM3 and TM4 contributing to homotrimerization. The six TMs enclose a V-shaped cavity that can accommodate a diacylglycerol molecule. A homology-based structural model of human Insig-2, together with biochemical characterizations, suggest that the central cavity of Insig-2 accommodates 25-hydroxycholesterol, whereas TM3 and TM4 engage in Scap binding. These analyses provide an important framework for further functional and mechanistic understanding of Insig proteins and the sterol regulatory element-binding protein pathway.