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Sample records for protein folding transition

  1. Single molecule fluorescence experiments determine protein folding transition path times

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Hoi Sung; McHale, Kevin; Louis, John M.; Eaton, William A.

    2013-01-01

    The transition path is the tiny fraction of an equilibrium molecular trajectory when a transition occurs by crossing the free-energy barrier between two states. It is a single-molecule property that contains all the mechanistic information on how a process occurs. As a step toward observing transition paths in protein folding we determined the average transition-path time for a fast- and a slow-folding protein from a photon-by-photon analysis of fluorescence trajectories in single-molecule Förster-resonance-energy-transfer experiments. While the folding rate coefficients differ by a factor of 10,000, the transition-path times differ by less than a factor of 5, showing that a fast-and a slow-folding protein take almost the same time to fold when folding actually happens. A very simple model based on energy landscape theory can explain this result. PMID:22363011

  2. Structure-Based Prediction of Protein-Folding Transition Paths.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, William M; Shakhnovich, Eugene I

    2016-09-01

    We propose a general theory to describe the distribution of protein-folding transition paths. We show that transition paths follow a predictable sequence of high-free-energy transient states that are separated by free-energy barriers. Each transient state corresponds to the assembly of one or more discrete, cooperative units, which are determined directly from the native structure. We show that the transition state on a folding pathway is reached when a small number of critical contacts are formed between a specific set of substructures, after which folding proceeds downhill in free energy. This approach suggests a natural resolution for distinguishing parallel folding pathways and provides a simple means to predict the rate-limiting step in a folding reaction. Our theory identifies a common folding mechanism for proteins with diverse native structures and establishes general principles for the self-assembly of polymers with specific interactions. PMID:27602721

  3. From Helix–Coil Transitions to Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Scheraga, Harold A.

    2009-01-01

    An evolution of procedures to simulate protein structure and folding pathways is described. From an initial focus on the helix–coil transition and on hydrogen-bonding and hydrophobic interactions, our original attempts to determine protein structure and folding pathways were based on an experimental approach. Experiments on the oxidative folding of reduced bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A) led to a mechanism by which the molecule folded to the native structure by a minimum of four different pathways. The experiments with RNase A were followed by development of a molecular mechanics approach, first, making use of global optimization procedures and then with molecular dynamics (MD), evolving from an all-atom to a united-residue model. This hierarchical MD approach facilitated probing of the folding trajectory to longer time scales than with all-atom MD, and hence led to the determination of complete folding trajectories, thus far for a protein containing as many as 75 amino acid residues. With increasing refinement of the computational procedures, the computed results are coming closer to experimental observations, providing an understanding as to how physics directs the folding process. PMID:18008324

  4. Protein folds and protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Schaeffer, R. Dustin; Daggett, Valerie

    2011-01-01

    The classification of protein folds is necessarily based on the structural elements that distinguish domains. Classification of protein domains consists of two problems: the partition of structures into domains and the classification of domains into sets of similar structures (or folds). Although similar topologies may arise by convergent evolution, the similarity of their respective folding pathways is unknown. The discovery and the characterization of the majority of protein folds will be followed by a similar enumeration of available protein folding pathways. Consequently, understanding the intricacies of structural domains is necessary to understanding their collective folding pathways. We review the current state of the art in the field of protein domain classification and discuss methods for the systematic and comprehensive study of protein folding across protein fold space via atomistic molecular dynamics simulation. Finally, we discuss our large-scale Dynameomics project, which includes simulations of representatives of all autonomous protein folds. PMID:21051320

  5. Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics Lecture: Single-molecule protein folding and transition paths

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eaton, William

    2012-02-01

    The transition path is the tiny fraction of an equilibrium molecular trajectory when a transition occurs by crossing the free energy barrier between two states. It is a uniquely single-molecule property, and has not yet been observed experimentally for any system in the condensed phase. The importance of the transition path in protein folding is that it contains all of the mechanistic information on how a protein folds. As a major step toward observing transition paths, we have determined the average transition-path time for a fast and a slow-folding protein from a photon-by-photon analysis of fluorescence trajectories in single-molecule FRET experiments. While the folding rate coefficients differ by 10,000-fold, surprisingly, the transition-path times differ by less than 5-fold, showing that a successful barrier crossing event takes almost the same time for a fast- and a slow-folding protein, i.e. almost the same time to fold when it actually happens.

  6. Direct observation of transition paths during the folding of proteins and nucleic acids.

    PubMed

    Neupane, Krishna; Foster, Daniel A N; Dee, Derek R; Yu, Hao; Wang, Feng; Woodside, Michael T

    2016-04-01

    Transition paths, the fleeting trajectories through the transition states that dominate the dynamics of biomolecular folding reactions, encapsulate the critical information about how structure forms. Owing to their brief duration, however, they have not previously been observed directly. We measured transition paths for both nucleic acid and protein folding, using optical tweezers to observe the microscopic diffusive motion of single molecules traversing energy barriers. The average transit times and the shapes of the transit-time distributions agreed well with theoretical expectations for motion over the one-dimensional energy landscapes reconstructed for the same molecules, validating the physical theory of folding reactions. These measurements provide a first look at the critical microscopic events that occur during folding, opening exciting new avenues for investigating folding phenomena. PMID:27124461

  7. Hydration of the folding transition-state ensemble of a protein

    PubMed Central

    Brun, Ludovic; Isom, Daniel G.; Velu, Priya; García-Moreno, Bertrand

    2008-01-01

    A complete description of the mechanisms of protein folding requires knowledge of the structural and physical character of the folding transition state ensembles (TSE). A key question remains, concerning the role of hydration of the hydrophobic core in determining folding mechanisms. To address this we probed the state of hydration of the TSE of staphylococcal nuclease (SNase) by examining the fluorescence-detected pressure-jump relaxation behavior of six SNase variants in which a residue in the hydrophobic core, Val-66, was replaced with polar or ionizable residues (Lys, Arg, His, Asp, Glu, Asn). Owing to a large positive activation volume for folding, the major effect of pressure on the wild type protein is to decrease the folding rate. By the time wild type SNase reaches the folding transition state, most water has already been expelled from its hydrophobic core. In contrast, the major effect of pressure on the variant proteins is an increase of the unfolding rate due to a large negative activation volume for unfolding. This results from a significant increase in the hydration of the TSE when an internal ionizable group is present. These data confirm that the role of water in the folding reaction can differ from protein to protein, and that even a single substitution in a critical position can modulate significantly the properties of the TSE. PMID:16533028

  8. Smooth Functional Transition along a Mutational Pathway with an Abrupt Protein Fold Switch

    PubMed Central

    Holzgräfe, Christian; Wallin, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Recent protein design experiments have demonstrated that proteins can migrate between folds through the accumulation of substitution mutations without visiting disordered or nonfunctional points in sequence space. To explore the biophysical mechanism underlying such transitions we use a three-letter continuous protein model with seven atoms per amino acid to provide realistic sequence-structure and sequence-function mappings through explicit simulation of the folding and interaction of model sequences. We start from two 16-amino-acid sequences folding into an α-helix and a β-hairpin, respectively, each of which has a preferred binding partner with 35 amino acids. We identify a mutational pathway between the two folds, which features a sharp fold switch. By contrast, we find that the transition in function is smooth. Moreover, the switch in preferred binding partner does not coincide with the fold switch. Discovery of new folds in evolution might therefore be facilitated by following fitness slopes in sequence space underpinned by binding-induced conformational switching. PMID:25185557

  9. Kinetic Definition of Protein Folding Transition State Ensembles and Reaction Coordinates

    PubMed Central

    Snow, Christopher D.; Rhee, Young Min; Pande, Vijay S.

    2006-01-01

    Using distributed molecular dynamics simulations we located four distinct folding transitions for a 39-residue ββαβ protein fold. To characterize the nature of each room temperature transition, we calculated the probability of transmission for 500 points along each free energy barrier. We introduced a method for determining transition states by employing the transmission probability, Ptrans, and determined which conformations were transition state ensemble members (Ptrans ≈ 0.5). The transmission probability may be used to characterize the barrier in several ways. For example, we ran simulations at 82°C, determined the change in Ptrans with temperature for all 2,000 conformations, and quantified Hammond behavior directly using Ptrans correlation. Additionally, we propose that diffusion along Ptrans may provide the configurational diffusion rate at the top of the barrier. Specifically, given a transition state conformation x0 with estimated Ptrans = 0.5, we selected a large set of subsequent conformations from independent trajectories, each exactly a small time δt after x0 (250 ps). Calculating Ptrans for the new trial conformations, we generated the P(Ptrans|δt = 250 ps) distribution that reflected diffusion. This approach provides a novel perspective on the diffusive nature of a protein folding transition and provides a framework for a quantitative study of activated relaxation kinetics. PMID:16617068

  10. Ratcheted molecular-dynamics simulations identify efficiently the transition state of protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiana, Guido; Camilloni, Carlo

    2012-12-01

    The atomistic characterization of the transition state (TS) is a fundamental step to improve the understanding of the folding mechanism and the function of proteins. From a computational point of view, the identification of the conformations that build out the transition state is particularly cumbersome, mainly because of the large computational cost of generating a statistically sound set of folding trajectories. Here we show that a biasing algorithm, based on the physics of the ratchet-and-pawl, can be used to approximate efficiently the transition state. The basic idea is that the algorithmic ratchet exerts a force on the protein when it is climbing the free-energy barrier, while it is inactive when it is descending. The transition state can be identified as the point of the trajectory where the ratchet changes regime. Besides discussing this strategy in general terms, we test it within a protein model whose transition state can be studied independently by plain molecular dynamics simulations. Finally, we show its power in explicit-solvent simulations, obtaining and characterizing a set of transition-state conformations for Acyl-Coenzyme A-Binding Protein (ACBP) and Chymotrypsin Inhibitor 2 (CI2).

  11. Probing the Folding-Unfolding Transition of a Thermophilic Protein, MTH1880

    PubMed Central

    Jung, Youngjin; Han, Jeongmin; Yun, Ji-Hye; Chang, Iksoo; Lee, Weontae

    2016-01-01

    The folding mechanism of typical proteins has been studied widely, while our understanding of the origin of the high stability of thermophilic proteins is still elusive. Of particular interest is how an atypical thermophilic protein with a novel fold maintains its structure and stability under extreme conditions. Folding-unfolding transitions of MTH1880, a thermophilic protein from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, induced by heat, urea, and GdnHCl, were investigated using spectroscopic techniques including circular dichorism, fluorescence, NMR combined with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Our results suggest that MTH1880 undergoes a two-state N to D transition and it is extremely stable against temperature and denaturants. The reversibility of refolding was confirmed by spectroscopic methods and size exclusion chromatography. We found that the hyper-stability of the thermophilic MTH1880 protein originates from an extensive network of both electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions coordinated by the central β-sheet. Spectroscopic measurements, in combination with computational simulations, have helped to clarify the thermodynamic and structural basis for hyper-stability of the novel thermophilic protein MTH1880. PMID:26766214

  12. Core-Shell Model of Folding-Unfolding Transitions (UFT) in Proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aroutiounian, Svetlana

    2008-03-01

    There are ˜10^N conformations for a protein of length N to sort out randomly in search of lowest free energy state. Can protein folding be simple and fast? Core-shell model introduces principles, proposes mechanisms and scores residues of fast, reversible UFT in protein. According to it, during UFT the realm of intra-residual interactions leads the residue motion. The scaffold of hydrophilic residues forms external shell of unstructured, tube-like protein in unfolded state, just as the hydrophobic residues form internal scaffold -- core, of the protein in folded state. As UFT proceeds, residue slides into lowest-score position permitted by its structure. Model accounts for experimentally observed features of UFT. It is based on three principles: 1) During UFT protein is virtual - its features or structure are inferred only statistically and with limited precision; 2) Mechanism of UFT memory is not longitudinal, but transverse; 3) Native design overrides specific features of residues - the alphabet of amino acids assumes an intrinsic score-function. Per-residue mechanism of UFT is proposed and score-function is described. Difference graphs of transitional score-function and average genome-wide abundance index show that our score-function is the order parameter of UFT in protein and by virtue of being it, reveals transitional key residues. It echoes the multiple-tier and funnel concepts of FEL perspective. Monte Carlo simulations of UFT in myoglobin illustrate the idea.

  13. Even with nonnative interactions, the updated folding transition states of the homologs Proteins G & L are extensive and similar

    PubMed Central

    Baxa, Michael C.; Yu, Wookyung; Adhikari, Aashish N.; Ge, Liang; Xia, Zhen; Zhou, Ruhong; Freed, Karl F.; Sosnick, Tobin R.

    2015-01-01

    Experimental and computational folding studies of Proteins L & G and NuG2 typically find that sequence differences determine which of the two hairpins is formed in the transition state ensemble (TSE). However, our recent work on Protein L finds that its TSE contains both hairpins, compelling a reassessment of the influence of sequence on the folding behavior of the other two homologs. We characterize the TSEs for Protein G and NuG2b, a triple mutant of NuG2, using ψ analysis, a method for identifying contacts in the TSE. All three homologs are found to share a common and near-native TSE topology with interactions between all four strands. However, the helical content varies in the TSE, being largely absent in Proteins G & L but partially present in NuG2b. The variability likely arises from competing propensities for the formation of nonnative β turns in the naturally occurring proteins, as observed in our TerItFix folding algorithm. All-atom folding simulations of NuG2b recapitulate the observed TSEs with four strands for 5 of 27 transition paths [Lindorff-Larsen K, Piana S, Dror RO, Shaw DE (2011) Science 334(6055):517–520]. Our data support the view that homologous proteins have similar folding mechanisms, even when nonnative interactions are present in the transition state. These findings emphasize the ongoing challenge of accurately characterizing and predicting TSEs, even for relatively simple proteins. PMID:26100906

  14. Tuning the Attempt Frequency of Protein Folding Dynamics via Transition-State Rigidification: Application to Trp-cage

    PubMed Central

    Abaskharon, Rachel M.; Culik, Robert M.; Woolley, G. Andrew; Gai, Feng

    2015-01-01

    The attempt frequency or prefactor (k0) of the transition state rate equation of protein folding kinetics has been estimated to be on the order of 106 s−1, which is many orders of magnitude smaller than that of chemical reactions. Herein, we use the mini-protein Trp-cage to show that it is possible to significantly increase the value of k0 for a protein folding reaction by rigidifying the transition state. This is achieved by reducing the conformational flexibility of a key structural element (i.e., an α-helix) formed in the transition state via photoisomerization of an azobenzene cross-linker. We find that this strategy not only decreases the folding time of the Trp-cage peptide by more than an order of magnitude (to ~100 ns at 25 °C) but also exposes parallel folding pathways, allowing us to provide, to the best of our knowledge, the first quantitative assessment of the curvature of the transition state free energy surface of a protein. PMID:26120378

  15. Fast protein folding kinetics

    PubMed Central

    Gelman, Hannah; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Fast folding proteins have been a major focus of computational and experimental study because they are accessible to both techniques: they are small and fast enough to be reasonably simulated with current computational power, but have dynamics slow enough to be observed with specially developed experimental techniques. This coupled study of fast folding proteins has provided insight into the mechanisms which allow some proteins to find their native conformation well less than 1 ms and has uncovered examples of theoretically predicted phenomena such as downhill folding. The study of fast folders also informs our understanding of even “slow” folding processes: fast folders are small, relatively simple protein domains and the principles that govern their folding also govern the folding of more complex systems. This review summarizes the major theoretical and experimental techniques used to study fast folding proteins and provides an overview of the major findings of fast folding research. Finally, we examine the themes that have emerged from studying fast folders and briefly summarize their application to protein folding in general as well as some work that is left to do. PMID:24641816

  16. Dynamical phase transitions reveal amyloid-like states on protein folding landscapes.

    PubMed

    Weber, Jeffrey K; Jack, Robert L; Schwantes, Christian R; Pande, Vijay S

    2014-08-19

    Developing an understanding of protein misfolding processes presents a crucial challenge for unlocking the mysteries of human disease. In this article, we present our observations of β-sheet-rich misfolded states on a number of protein dynamical landscapes investigated through molecular dynamics simulation and Markov state models. We employ a nonequilibrium statistical mechanical theory to identify the glassy states in a protein's dynamics, and we discuss the nonnative, β-sheet-rich states that play a distinct role in the slowest dynamics within seven protein folding systems. We highlight the fundamental similarity between these states and the amyloid structures responsible for many neurodegenerative diseases, and we discuss potential consequences for mechanisms of protein aggregation and intermolecular amyloid formation. PMID:25140433

  17. Folding of proteins with diverse folds.

    PubMed

    Mohanty, Sandipan; Hansmann, Ulrich H E

    2006-11-15

    Using parallel tempering simulations with high statistics, we investigate the folding and thermodynamic properties of three small proteins with distinct native folds: the all-helical 1RIJ, the all-sheet beta3s, and BBA5, which has a mixed helix-sheet fold. In all three cases, simulations with our energy function find the native structures as global minima in free energy at experimentally relevant temperatures. However, the folding process strongly differs for the three molecules, indicating that the folding mechanism is correlated with the form of the native structure. PMID:16950845

  18. Understanding the folding rates and folding nuclei of globular proteins.

    PubMed

    Finkelstein, Alexei V; Ivankov, Dmitry N; Garbuzynskiy, Sergiy O; Galzitskaya, Oxana V

    2007-12-01

    The first part of this paper contains an overview of protein structures, their spontaneous formation ("folding"), and the thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of this phenomenon, as revealed by in vitro experiments. It is stressed that universal features of folding are observed near the point of thermodynamic equilibrium between the native and denatured states of the protein. Here the "two-state" ("denatured state" <--> "native state") transition proceeds without accumulation of metastable intermediates, but includes only the unstable "transition state". This state, which is the most unstable in the folding pathway, and its structured core (a "nucleus") are distinguished by their essential influence on the folding/unfolding kinetics. In the second part of the paper, a theory of protein folding rates and related phenomena is presented. First, it is shown that the protein size determines the range of a protein's folding rates in the vicinity of the point of thermodynamic equilibrium between the native and denatured states of the protein. Then, we present methods for calculating folding and unfolding rates of globular proteins from their sizes, stabilities and either 3D structures or amino acid sequences. Finally, we show that the same theory outlines the location of the protein folding nucleus (i.e., the structured part of the transition state) in reasonable agreement with experimental data. PMID:18220841

  19. The protein folding network

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rao, Francesco; Caflisch, Amedeo

    2004-03-01

    Networks are everywhere. The conformation space of a 20-residue antiparallel beta-sheet peptide [1], sampled by molecular dynamics simulations, is mapped to a network. Conformations are nodes of the network, and the transitions between them are links. As previously found for the World-Wide Web as well as for social and biological networks , the conformation space contains highly connected hubs like the native state which is the most populated free energy basin. Furthermore, the network shows a hierarchical modularity [2] which is consistent with the funnel mechanism of folding [3] and is not observed for a random heteropolymer lacking a native state. Here we show that the conformation space network describes the free energy landscape without requiring projections into arbitrarily chosen reaction coordinates. The network analysis provides a basis for understanding the heterogeneity of the folding transition state and the existence of multiple pathways. [1] P. Ferrara and A. Caflisch, Folding simulations of a three-stranded antiparallel beta-sheet peptide, PNAS 97, 10780-10785 (2000). [2] Ravasz, E. and Barabási, A. L. Hierarchical organization in complex networks. Phys. Rev. E 67, 026112 (2003). [3] Dill, K. and Chan, H From Levinthal to pathways to funnels. Nature Struct. Biol. 4, 10-19 (1997)

  20. Hyperquenching and cold equilibration strategies for the study of liquid--liquid and protein folding transitions.

    PubMed

    Angell, C Austen; Wang, Li Min

    2003-09-01

    In this paper we consider the extension of the recent quantitative studies of hyperquenched glassformers to include (1). systems that exhibit first order liquid-liquid phase transitions, and (2). systems that contain molecules, which, during normal cooling, undergo internal structural changes above the glass temperature. The general aim of these studies is to trap-in a high enthalpy, high entropy, state of the system and then observe it evolving in time at low temperatures during a controlled annealing procedure. In this manner events that normally occur during change of temperature may be observed occurring during passage of time, at much lower temperatures. At such low temperatures the smearing effects of vibrations are greatly reduced. While the case of most interest in the second class is the refolding of thermally denatured protein molecules, any reconstructive molecular or chemical exchange process is a potential subject for investigation. Processes that occur in stages can be studied in greater detail, and any stage of interest can be frozen when desired, by drop of temperature, for more detailed spectroscopic examination. We review an electrospray method for hyperquenching liquids at approximately 10(5) K/s, and discuss some results of such experiments in order to illustrate a calorimetric approach to exploiting the hyperquenching-and- cold-equilibration strategy. To apply the idea to the study of proteins, the following protein solvent requirements must be met: (1). the solvents must not crystallize ice on cooling or heating, yet must not denature the proteins; (2). the solvents must support thermally denatured molecules without permitting aggregation. We describe two solvent systems, the first of which meets the first requirement, but the second only partially. The second solvent system apparently meets both. Preliminary results, only at the proof of concept stage, are reported for cold refolding of lysozyme, which, it seems, can be trapped in our solvent

  1. Transitive Homology-Guided Structural Studies Lead to Discovery of Cro Proteins With 40% Sequence Identify But Different Folds

    SciTech Connect

    Roessler, C.G.; Hall, B.M.; Anderson, W.J.; Ingram, W.M.; Roberts, S.A.; Montfort, W.R.; Cordes, M.H.J.

    2009-05-27

    Proteins that share common ancestry may differ in structure and function because of divergent evolution of their amino acid sequences. For a typical diverse protein superfamily, the properties of a few scattered members are known from experiment. A satisfying picture of functional and structural evolution in relation to sequence changes, however, may require characterization of a larger, well chosen subset. Here, we employ a 'stepping-stone' method, based on transitive homology, to target sequences intermediate between two related proteins with known divergent properties. We apply the approach to the question of how new protein folds can evolve from preexisting folds and, in particular, to an evolutionary change in secondary structure and oligomeric state in the Cro family of bacteriophage transcription factors, initially identified by sequence-structure comparison of distant homologs from phages P22 and {lambda}. We report crystal structures of two Cro proteins, Xfaso 1 and Pfl 6, with sequences intermediate between those of P22 and {lambda}. The domains show 40% sequence identity but differ by switching of {alpha}-helix to {beta}-sheet in a C-terminal region spanning {approx}25 residues. Sedimentation analysis also suggests a correlation between helix-to-sheet conversion and strengthened dimerization.

  2. Chirality and protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kwiecinska, Joanna I.; Cieplak, Marek

    2005-05-01

    There are several simple criteria of folding to a native state in model proteins. One of them involves crossing of a threshold value of the root mean square deviation distance away from the native state. Another checks whether all native contacts are established, i.e. whether the interacting amino acids come closer than some characteristic distance. We use Go-like models of proteins and show that such simple criteria may prompt one to declare folding even though fragments of the resulting conformations have a wrong sense of chirality. We propose that a better condition of folding should augment the simple criteria with the requirement that most of the local values of the chirality should be nearly native. The kinetic discrepancy between the simple and compound criteria can be substantially reduced in the Go-like models by providing the Hamiltonian with a term which favours native values of the local chirality. We study the effects of this term as a function of its amplitude and compare it to other models such as ones with side groups and ones with angle-dependent potentials.

  3. Evolutionary Strategies for Protein Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murthy Gopal, Srinivasa; Wenzel, Wolfgang

    2006-03-01

    The free energy approach for predicting the protein tertiary structure describes the native state of a protein as the global minimum of an appropriate free-energy forcefield. The low-energy region of the free-energy landscape of a protein is extremely rugged. Efficient optimization methods must therefore speed up the search for the global optimum by avoiding high energy transition states, adapt large scale moves or accept unphysical intermediates. Here we investigate an evolutionary strategies(ES) for optimizing a protein conformation in our all-atom free-energy force field([1],[2]). A set of random conformations is evolved using an ES to get a diverse population containing low energy structure. The ES is shown to balance energy improvement and yet maintain diversity in structures. The ES is implemented as a master-client model for distributed computing. Starting from random structures and by using this optimization technique, we were able to fold a 20 amino-acid helical protein and 16 amino-acid beta hairpin[3]. We compare ES to basin hopping method. [1]T. Herges and W. Wenzel,Biophys.J. 87,3100(2004) [2] A. Verma and W. Wenzel Stabilization and folding of beta-sheet and alpha-helical proteins in an all-atom free energy model(submitted)(2005) [3] S. M. Gopal and W. Wenzel Evolutionary Strategies for Protein Folding (in preparation)

  4. How do chaperonins fold protein?

    PubMed Central

    Motojima, Fumihiro

    2015-01-01

    Protein folding is a biological process that is essential for the proper functioning of proteins in all living organisms. In cells, many proteins require the assistance of molecular chaperones for their folding. Chaperonins belong to a class of molecular chaperones that have been extensively studied. However, the mechanism by which a chaperonin mediates the folding of proteins is still controversial. Denatured proteins are folded in the closed chaperonin cage, leading to the assumption that denatured proteins are completely encapsulated inside the chaperonin cage. In contrast to the assumption, we recently found that denatured protein interacts with hydrophobic residues at the subunit interfaces of the chaperonin, and partially protrude out of the cage. In this review, we will explain our recent results and introduce our model for the mechanism by which chaperonins accelerate protein folding, in view of recent findings.

  5. Evolutionary optimization of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Debès, Cédric; Wang, Minglei; Caetano-Anollés, Gustavo; Gräter, Frauke

    2013-01-01

    Nature has shaped the make up of proteins since their appearance, [Formula: see text]3.8 billion years ago. However, the fundamental drivers of structural change responsible for the extraordinary diversity of proteins have yet to be elucidated. Here we explore if protein evolution affects folding speed. We estimated folding times for the present-day catalog of protein domains directly from their size-modified contact order. These values were mapped onto an evolutionary timeline of domain appearance derived from a phylogenomic analysis of protein domains in 989 fully-sequenced genomes. Our results show a clear overall increase of folding speed during evolution, with known ultra-fast downhill folders appearing rather late in the timeline. Remarkably, folding optimization depends on secondary structure. While alpha-folds showed a tendency to fold faster throughout evolution, beta-folds exhibited a trend of folding time increase during the last [Formula: see text]1.5 billion years that began during the "big bang" of domain combinations. As a consequence, these domain structures are on average slow folders today. Our results suggest that fast and efficient folding of domains shaped the universe of protein structure. This finding supports the hypothesis that optimization of the kinetic and thermodynamic accessibility of the native fold reduces protein aggregation propensities that hamper cellular functions. PMID:23341762

  6. Protein folding in the ER.

    SciTech Connect

    Stevens, F. J.; Argon, Y.; Biosciences Division; Univ. of Chicago

    1999-10-01

    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a major protein folding compartment for secreted, plasma membrane and organelle proteins. Each of these newly-synthesized polypeptides folds in a deterministic process, affected by the unique conditions that exist in the ER. An understanding of protein folding in the ER is a fundamental biomolecular challenge at two levels. The first level addresses how the amino acid sequence programs that polypeptide to efficiently arrive at a particular fold out of a multitude of alternatives, and how different sequences obtain similar folds. At the second level are the issues introduced by folding not in the cytosol, but in the ER, including the risk of aggregation in a molecularly crowded environment, accommodation of post-translational modifications and the compatibility with subsequent intracellular trafficking. This review discusses both the physicochemical and cell biological constraints of folding, which are the challenges that the ER molecular chaperones help overcome.

  7. Are all regions of folded proteins that undergo ligand-dependent order-disorder transitions targets for allosteric peptide mimetics?†

    PubMed Central

    Fenton, Aron W.

    2013-01-01

    Although the classical view of how proteins function relied on well folded structures, it is now recognized that the function of many proteins is dependent on being intrinsically disordered. The primary consideration in this work is the intermediate group of proteins that are overall well folded, but which contain small regions that undergo order/disorder transitions. In particular, the current focus is on those order/disorder transitions that are energetically coupled to ligand binding. As exemplified by the case of human liver pyruvate kinase (hL-PYK), peptides that mimic the sequence of the order/disorder region can be used as allosteric regulators of the enzyme. Based on this example and others reported in the literature, we propose that a similar use of peptides that mimic protein regions that experience ligand-dependent order-disorder transitions can be a generalized initiation point for the development of allosteric drugs. PMID:23520021

  8. Protein folding. Translational tuning optimizes nascent protein folding in cells.

    PubMed

    Kim, Soo Jung; Yoon, Jae Seok; Shishido, Hideki; Yang, Zhongying; Rooney, LeeAnn A; Barral, Jose M; Skach, William R

    2015-04-24

    In cells, biosynthetic machinery coordinates protein synthesis and folding to optimize efficiency and minimize off-pathway outcomes. However, it has been difficult to delineate experimentally the mechanisms responsible. Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we studied cotranslational folding of the first nucleotide-binding domain from the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. During synthesis, folding occurred discretely via sequential compaction of N-terminal, α-helical, and α/β-core subdomains. Moreover, the timing of these events was critical; premature α-subdomain folding prevented subsequent core formation. This process was facilitated by modulating intrinsic folding propensity in three distinct ways: delaying α-subdomain compaction, facilitating β-strand intercalation, and optimizing translation kinetics via codon usage. Thus, de novo folding is translationally tuned by an integrated cellular response that shapes the cotranslational folding landscape at critical stages of synthesis. PMID:25908822

  9. Limited cooperativity in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Victor; Campos, Luis A; Sadqi, Mourad

    2016-02-01

    Theory and simulations predict that the structural concert of protein folding reactions is relatively low. Experimentally, folding cooperativity has been difficult to study, but in recent years we have witnessed major advances. New analytical procedures in terms of conformational ensembles rather than discrete states, experimental techniques with improved time, structural, or single-molecule resolution, and combined thermodynamic and kinetic analysis of fast folding have contributed to demonstrate a general scenario of limited cooperativity in folding. Gradual structural disorder is already apparent on the unfolded and native states of slow, two-state folding proteins, and it greatly increases in magnitude for fast folding domains. These results demonstrate a direct link between how fast a single-domain protein folds and unfolds, and how cooperative (or structurally diverse) is its equilibrium unfolding process. Reducing cooperativity also destabilizes the native structure because it affects unfolding more than folding. We can thus define a continuous cooperativity scale that goes from the 'pliable' two-state character of slow folders to the gradual unfolding of one-state downhill, and eventually to intrinsically disordered proteins. The connection between gradual unfolding and intrinsic disorder is appealing because it suggests a conformational rheostat mechanism to explain the allosteric effects of folding coupled to binding. PMID:26845039

  10. Fast events in protein folding

    SciTech Connect

    Woodruff, W.; Callender, R.; Causgrove, T.; Dyer, R.; Williams, S.

    1996-04-01

    The primary objective of this work was to develop a molecular understanding of how proteins achieve their native three-dimensional (folded) structures. This requires the identification and characterization of intermediates in the protein folding process on all relevant timescales, from picoseconds to seconds. The short timescale events in protein folding have been entirely unknown. Prior to this work, state-of-the-art experimental approaches were limited to milliseconds or longer, when much of the folding process is already over. The gap between theory and experiment is enormous: current theoretical and computational methods cannot realistically model folding processes with lifetimes longer than one nanosecond. This unique approach to employ laser pump-probe techniques that combine novel methods of laser flash photolysis with time-resolved vibrational spectroscopic probes of protein transients. In this scheme, a short (picosecond to nanosecond) laser photolysis pulse was used to produce an instantaneous pH or temperature jump, thereby initiating a protein folding or unfolding reaction. Structure-specific, time-resolved vibrational probes were then used to identify and characterize protein folding intermediates.

  11. Similarities between protein folding and granular jamming

    PubMed Central

    Jose, Prasanth P; Andricioaei, Ioan

    2012-01-01

    Grains and glasses, widely different materials, arrest their motions upon decreasing temperature and external load, respectively, in common ways, leading to a universal jamming phase diagram conjecture. However, unified theories are lacking, mainly because of the disparate nature of the particle interactions. Here we demonstrate that folded proteins exhibit signatures common to both glassiness and jamming by using temperature- and force-unfolding molecular dynamics simulations. Upon folding, proteins develop a peak in the interatomic force distributions that falls on a universal curve with experimentally measured forces on jammed grains and droplets. Dynamical signatures are found as a dramatic slowdown of stress relaxation upon folding. Together with granular similarities, folding is tied not just to the jamming transition, but a more nuanced picture of anisotropy, preparation protocol and internal interactions emerges. Results have implications for designing stable polymers and can open avenues to link protein folding to jamming theory. PMID:23093180

  12. Protein folding by motion planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, Shawna; Song, Guang; Amato, Nancy M.

    2005-12-01

    We investigate a novel approach for studying protein folding that has evolved from robotics motion planning techniques called probabilistic roadmap methods (PRMs). Our focus is to study issues related to the folding process, such as the formation of secondary and tertiary structures, assuming we know the native fold. A feature of our PRM-based framework is that the large sets of folding pathways in the roadmaps it produces, in just a few hours on a desktop PC, provide global information about the protein's energy landscape. This is an advantage over other simulation methods such as molecular dynamics or Monte Carlo methods which require more computation and produce only a single trajectory in each run. In our initial studies, we obtained encouraging results for several small proteins. In this paper, we investigate more sophisticated techniques for analyzing the folding pathways in our roadmaps. In addition to more formally revalidating our previous results, we present a case study showing that our technique captures known folding differences between the structurally similar proteins G and L. This research was supported in part by NSF CAREER Award CCR-9624315, NSF Grants ACI-9872126, EIA-9975018, EIA-0103742, EIA-9805823, ACR-0113971, CCR-0113974, EIA-9810937, EIA-0079874 and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board grant ATP-000512-0261-2001. ST was supported in part by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. GS was supported in part by an IBM PhD Fellowship.

  13. Osmolyte solutions and protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Char Y; Roesgen, Joerg

    2009-01-01

    In this brief review we discuss the evolution of recent thought regarding the role and mechanism of osmolytes with respect to protein stability. Osmolytes are naturally occurring intracellular compounds that change the protein folding landscape. Contributions from experiments are considered in the context of current theory and simulation results. PMID:19960095

  14. Protein folding, protein homeostasis, and cancer

    PubMed Central

    Van Drie, John H.

    2011-01-01

    Proteins fold into their functional 3-dimensional structures from a linear amino acid sequence. In vitro this process is spontaneous; while in vivo it is orchestrated by a specialized set of proteins, called chaperones. Protein folding is an ongoing cellular process, as cellular proteins constantly undergo synthesis and degradation. Here emerging links between this process and cancer are reviewed. This perspective both yields insights into the current struggle to develop novel cancer chemotherapeutics and has implications for future chemotherapy discovery. PMID:21272445

  15. Implementation of a k/k0 method to identify long-range structure in transition states during conformational folding/unfolding of proteins

    PubMed Central

    Pradeep, Lovy; Kurinov, Igor; Ealick, Steven E.; Scheraga, Harold A.

    2007-01-01

    Summary A previously-introduced kinetic-rate constant (k/k0) method, where k and k0 are the folding (unfolding) rate constants in the mutant and the wild-type forms, respectively, of a protein, has been applied to obtain qualitative information about structure in the transition state (TS) ensemble of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A) which contains four native disulfide bonds. The method compares the folding (unfolding) kinetics of two versions of RNase A, with and without a covalent crosslink (in the form of a fifth disulfide bond); the method tests whether the crosslinked residues are associated in the folding (unfolding) transition state of the non-crosslinked version. To confirm that the fifth disulfide bond has not introduced a significant structural perturbation, we solved the crystal structure of the V43C-R85C mutant to 1.6 Å resolution. Our findings suggest that residues Val 43 and Arg 85 are not associated in the folding (unfolding) TS ensemble of RNase A, and also that Ala 4 and Val 118 may form non-native contacts in the folding (unfolding) TS ensemble. PMID:17937908

  16. Comparison of two adaptive temperature-based replica exchange methods applied to a sharp phase transition of protein unfolding-folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Michael S.; Olson, Mark A.

    2011-06-01

    Temperature-based replica exchange (T-ReX) enhances sampling of molecular dynamics simulations by autonomously heating and cooling simulation clients via a Metropolis exchange criterion. A pathological case for T-ReX can occur when a change in state (e.g., folding to unfolding of a protein) has a large energetic difference over a short temperature interval leading to insufficient exchanges amongst replica clients near the transition temperature. One solution is to allow the temperature set to dynamically adapt in the temperature space, thereby enriching the population of clients near the transition temperature. In this work, we evaluated two approaches for adapting the temperature set: a method that equalizes exchange rates over all neighbor temperature pairs and a method that attempts to induce clients to visit all temperatures (dubbed "current maximization") by positioning many clients at or near the transition temperature. As a test case, we simulated the 57-residue SH3 domain of alpha-spectrin. Exchange rate equalization yielded the same unfolding-folding transition temperature as fixed-temperature ReX with much smoother convergence of this value. Surprisingly, the current maximization method yielded a significantly lower transition temperature, in close agreement with experimental observation, likely due to more extensive sampling of the transition state.

  17. Folding superfunnel to describe cooperative folding of interacting proteins.

    PubMed

    Smeller, László

    2016-07-01

    This paper proposes a generalization of the well-known folding funnel concept of proteins. In the funnel model the polypeptide chain is treated as an individual object not interacting with other proteins. Since biological systems are considerably crowded, protein-protein interaction is a fundamental feature during the life cycle of proteins. The folding superfunnel proposed here describes the folding process of interacting proteins in various situations. The first example discussed is the folding of the freshly synthesized protein with the aid of chaperones. Another important aspect of protein-protein interactions is the folding of the recently characterized intrinsically disordered proteins, where binding to target proteins plays a crucial role in the completion of the folding process. The third scenario where the folding superfunnel is used is the formation of aggregates from destabilized proteins, which is an important factor in case of several conformational diseases. The folding superfunnel constructed here with the minimal assumption about the interaction potential explains all three cases mentioned above. Proteins 2016; 84:1009-1016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27090200

  18. Polymer principles and protein folding.

    PubMed Central

    Dill, K. A.

    1999-01-01

    This paper surveys the emerging role of statistical mechanics and polymer theory in protein folding. In the polymer perspective, the folding code is more a solvation code than a code of local phipsi propensities. The polymer perspective resolves two classic puzzles: (1) the Blind Watchmaker's Paradox that biological proteins could not have originated from random sequences, and (2) Levinthal's Paradox that the folded state of a protein cannot be found by random search. Both paradoxes are traditionally framed in terms of random unguided searches through vast spaces, and vastness is equated with impossibility. But both processes are partly guided. The searches are more akin to balls rolling down funnels than balls rolling aimlessly on flat surfaces. In both cases, the vastness of the search is largely irrelevant to the search time and success. These ideas are captured by energy and fitness landscapes. Energy landscapes give a language for bridging between microscopics and macroscopics, for relating folding kinetics to equilibrium fluctuations, and for developing new and faster computational search strategies. PMID:10386867

  19. Understanding Protein Non-Folding

    PubMed Central

    Uversky, Vladimir N.; Dunker, A. Keith

    2010-01-01

    This review describes the family of intrinsically disordered proteins, members of which fail to form rigid 3-D structures under physiological conditions, either along their entire lengths or only in localized regions. Instead, these intriguing proteins/regions exist as dynamic ensembles within which atom positions and backbone Ramachandran angles exhibit extreme temporal fluctuations without specific equilibrium values. Many of these intrinsically disordered proteins are known to carry out important biological functions which, in fact, depend on the absence of specific 3-D structure. The existence of such proteins does not fit the prevailing structure-function paradigm, which states that unique 3-D structure is a prerequisite to function. Thus, the protein structure-function paradigm has to be expanded to include intrinsically disordered proteins and alternative relationships among protein sequence, structure, and function. This shift in the paradigm represents a major breakthrough for biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, as it opens new levels of understanding with regard to the complex life of proteins. This review will try to answer the following questions: How were intrinsically disordered proteins discovered? Why don't these proteins fold? What is so special about intrinsic disorder? What are the functional advantages of disordered proteins/regions? What is the functional repertoire of these proteins? What are the relationships between intrinsically disordered proteins and human diseases? PMID:20117254

  20. Wang-Landau density of states based study of the folding-unfolding transition in the mini-protein Trp-cage (TC5b)

    SciTech Connect

    Singh, Priya; Sarkar, Subir K.; Bandyopadhyay, Pradipta

    2014-07-07

    We present the results of a high-statistics equilibrium study of the folding/unfolding transition for the 20-residue mini-protein Trp-cage (TC5b) in water. The ECEPP/3 force field is used and the interaction with water is treated by a solvent-accessible surface area method. A Wang-Landau type simulation is used to calculate the density of states and the conditional probabilities for the various values of the radius of gyration and the number of native contacts at fixed values of energy—along with a systematic check on their convergence. All thermodynamic quantities of interest are calculated from this information. The folding-unfolding transition corresponds to a peak in the temperature dependence of the computed specific heat. This is corroborated further by the structural signatures of folding in the distributions for radius of gyration and the number of native contacts as a function of temperature. The potentials of mean force are also calculated for these variables, both separately and jointly. A local free energy minimum, in addition to the global minimum, is found in a temperature range substantially below the folding temperature. The free energy at this second minimum is approximately 5 k{sub B}T higher than the value at the global minimum.

  1. Implementation of a k/k(0) method to identify long-range structure in transition states during conformational folding/unfolding of proteins.

    PubMed

    Pradeep, Lovy; Kurinov, Igor; Ealick, Steven E; Scheraga, Harold A

    2007-10-01

    A previously introduced kinetic-rate constant (k/k(0)) method, where k and k(0) are the folding (unfolding) rate constants in the mutant and the wild-type forms, respectively, of a protein, has been applied to obtain qualitative information about structure in the transition state ensemble (TSE) of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A), which contains four native disulfide bonds. The method compares the folding (unfolding) kinetics of RNase A, with and without a covalent crosslink and tests whether the crosslinked residues are associated in the folding (unfolding) transition state (TS) of the noncrosslinked version. To confirm that the fifth disulfide bond has not introduced a significant structural perturbation, we solved the crystal structure of the V43C-R85C mutant to 1.6 A resolution. Our findings suggest that residues Val43 and Arg85 are not associated, and that residues Ala4 and Val118 may form nonnative contacts, in the folding (unfolding) TSE of RNase A. PMID:17937908

  2. Wang-Landau density of states based study of the folding-unfolding transition in the mini-protein Trp-cage (TC5b)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, Priya; Sarkar, Subir K.; Bandyopadhyay, Pradipta

    2014-07-01

    We present the results of a high-statistics equilibrium study of the folding/unfolding transition for the 20-residue mini-protein Trp-cage (TC5b) in water. The ECEPP/3 force field is used and the interaction with water is treated by a solvent-accessible surface area method. A Wang-Landau type simulation is used to calculate the density of states and the conditional probabilities for the various values of the radius of gyration and the number of native contacts at fixed values of energy—along with a systematic check on their convergence. All thermodynamic quantities of interest are calculated from this information. The folding-unfolding transition corresponds to a peak in the temperature dependence of the computed specific heat. This is corroborated further by the structural signatures of folding in the distributions for radius of gyration and the number of native contacts as a function of temperature. The potentials of mean force are also calculated for these variables, both separately and jointly. A local free energy minimum, in addition to the global minimum, is found in a temperature range substantially below the folding temperature. The free energy at this second minimum is approximately 5 kBT higher than the value at the global minimum.

  3. Hydrodynamic interactions in protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cieplak, Marek; Niewieczerzał, Szymon

    2009-03-01

    We incorporate hydrodynamic interactions (HIs) in a coarse-grained and structure-based model of proteins by employing the Rotne-Prager hydrodynamic tensor. We study several small proteins and demonstrate that HIs facilitate folding. We also study HIV-1 protease and show that HIs make the flap closing dynamics faster. The HIs are found to affect time correlation functions in the vicinity of the native state even though they have no impact on same time characteristics of the structure fluctuations around the native state.

  4. Hydrodynamic interactions in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Cieplak, Marek; Niewieczerzał, Szymon

    2009-03-28

    We incorporate hydrodynamic interactions (HIs) in a coarse-grained and structure-based model of proteins by employing the Rotne-Prager hydrodynamic tensor. We study several small proteins and demonstrate that HIs facilitate folding. We also study HIV-1 protease and show that HIs make the flap closing dynamics faster. The HIs are found to affect time correlation functions in the vicinity of the native state even though they have no impact on same time characteristics of the structure fluctuations around the native state. PMID:19334888

  5. Understanding protein folding: small proteins in silico.

    PubMed

    Zimmermann, Olav; Hansmann, Ulrich H E

    2008-01-01

    Recent improvements in methodology and increased computer power now allow atomistic computer simulations of protein folding. We briefly review several advanced Monte Carlo algorithms that have contributed to this development. Details of folding simulations of three designed mini proteins are shown. Adding global translations and rotations has allowed us to handle multiple chains and to simulate the aggregation of six beta-amyloid fragments. In a different line of research we have developed several algorithms to predict local features from sequence. In an outlook we sketch how such biasing could extend the application spectrum of Monte Carlo simulations to structure prediction of larger proteins. PMID:18036571

  6. The folding of knotted proteins: insights from lattice simulations.

    PubMed

    Faísca, Patrícia F N; Travasso, Rui D M; Charters, Tiago; Nunes, Ana; Cieplak, Marek

    2010-01-01

    We carry out systematic Monte Carlo simulations of Gō lattice proteins to investigate and compare the folding processes of two model proteins whose native structures differ from each other due to the presence of a trefoil knot located near the terminus of one of the protein chains. We show that the folding time of the knotted fold is larger than that of the unknotted protein and that this difference in folding time is particularly striking in the temperature region below the optimal folding temperature. Both proteins display similar folding transition temperatures, which is indicative of similar thermal stabilities. By using the folding probability reaction coordinate as an estimator of folding progression we have found out that the formation of the knot is mainly a late folding event in our shallow knot system. PMID:20130340

  7. The folding of knotted proteins: insights from lattice simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Faísca, Patrícia F. N.; Travasso, Rui D. M.; Charters, Tiago; Nunes, Ana; Cieplak, Marek

    2010-03-01

    We carry out systematic Monte Carlo simulations of Gō lattice proteins to investigate and compare the folding processes of two model proteins whose native structures differ from each other due to the presence of a trefoil knot located near the terminus of one of the protein chains. We show that the folding time of the knotted fold is larger than that of the unknotted protein and that this difference in folding time is particularly striking in the temperature region below the optimal folding temperature. Both proteins display similar folding transition temperatures, which is indicative of similar thermal stabilities. By using the folding probability reaction coordinate as an estimator of folding progression we have found out that the formation of the knot is mainly a late folding event in our shallow knot system.

  8. Learning Protein Folding Energy Functions

    PubMed Central

    Guan, Wei; Ozakin, Arkadas; Gray, Alexander; Borreguero, Jose; Pandit, Shashi; Jagielska, Anna; Wroblewska, Liliana; Skolnick, Jeffrey

    2014-01-01

    A critical open problem in ab initio protein folding is protein energy function design, which pertains to defining the energy of protein conformations in a way that makes folding most efficient and reliable. In this paper, we address this issue as a weight optimization problem and utilize a machine learning approach, learning-to-rank, to solve this problem. We investigate the ranking-via-classification approach, especially the RankingSVM method and compare it with the state-of-the-art approach to the problem using the MINUIT optimization package. To maintain the physicality of the results, we impose non-negativity constraints on the weights. For this we develop two efficient non-negative support vector machine (NNSVM) methods, derived from L2-norm SVM and L1-norm SVMs, respectively. We demonstrate an energy function which maintains the correct ordering with respect to structure dissimilarity to the native state more often, is more efficient and reliable for learning on large protein sets, and is qualitatively superior to the current state-of-the-art energy function. PMID:25311546

  9. PREFACE Protein folding: lessons learned and new frontiers Protein folding: lessons learned and new frontiers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pappu, Rohit V.; Nussinov, Ruth

    2009-03-01

    In appropriate physiological milieux proteins spontaneously fold into their functional three-dimensional structures. The amino acid sequences of functional proteins contain all the information necessary to specify the folds. This remarkable observation has spawned research aimed at answering two major questions. (1) Of all the conceivable structures that a protein can adopt, why is the ensemble of native-like structures the most favorable? (2) What are the paths by which proteins manage to robustly and reproducibly fold into their native structures? Anfinsen's thermodynamic hypothesis has guided the pursuit of answers to the first question whereas Levinthal's paradox has influenced the development of models for protein folding dynamics. Decades of work have led to significant advances in the folding problem. Mean-field models have been developed to capture our current, coarse grain understanding of the driving forces for protein folding. These models are being used to predict three-dimensional protein structures from sequence and stability profiles as a function of thermodynamic and chemical perturbations. Impressive strides have also been made in the field of protein design, also known as the inverse folding problem, thereby testing our understanding of the determinants of the fold specificities of different sequences. Early work on protein folding pathways focused on the specific sequence of events that could lead to a simplification of the search process. However, unifying principles proved to be elusive. Proteins that show reversible two-state folding-unfolding transitions turned out to be a gift of natural selection. Focusing on these simple systems helped researchers to uncover general principles regarding the origins of cooperativity in protein folding thermodynamics and kinetics. On the theoretical front, concepts borrowed from polymer physics and the physics of spin glasses led to the development of a framework based on energy landscape theories. These

  10. Chaperonin-mediated Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Horwich, Arthur L.

    2013-01-01

    We have been studying chaperonins these past twenty years through an initial discovery of an action in protein folding, analysis of structure, and elucidation of mechanism. Some of the highlights of these studies were presented recently upon sharing the honor of the 2013 Herbert Tabor Award with my early collaborator, Ulrich Hartl, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Boston. Here, some of the major findings are recounted, particularly recognizing my collaborators, describing how I met them and how our great times together propelled our thinking and experiments. PMID:23803606

  11. Improving protein fold recognition by random forest

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Recognizing the correct structural fold among known template protein structures for a target protein (i.e. fold recognition) is essential for template-based protein structure modeling. Since the fold recognition problem can be defined as a binary classification problem of predicting whether or not the unknown fold of a target protein is similar to an already known template protein structure in a library, machine learning methods have been effectively applied to tackle this problem. In our work, we developed RF-Fold that uses random forest - one of the most powerful and scalable machine learning classification methods - to recognize protein folds. Results RF-Fold consists of hundreds of decision trees that can be trained efficiently on very large datasets to make accurate predictions on a highly imbalanced dataset. We evaluated RF-Fold on the standard Lindahl's benchmark dataset comprised of 976 × 975 target-template protein pairs through cross-validation. Compared with 17 different fold recognition methods, the performance of RF-Fold is generally comparable to the best performance in fold recognition of different difficulty ranging from the easiest family level, the medium-hard superfamily level, and to the hardest fold level. Based on the top-one template protein ranked by RF-Fold, the correct recognition rate is 84.5%, 63.4%, and 40.8% at family, superfamily, and fold levels, respectively. Based on the top-five template protein folds ranked by RF-Fold, the correct recognition rate increases to 91.5%, 79.3% and 58.3% at family, superfamily, and fold levels. Conclusions The good performance achieved by the RF-Fold demonstrates the random forest's effectiveness for protein fold recognition. PMID:25350499

  12. Protein-Folding Landscapes in Multi-Chain Systems

    SciTech Connect

    Cellmer, Troy; Bratko, Dusan; Prausnitz, John M.; Blanch, Harvey

    2005-06-20

    Computational studies of proteins have significantly improved our understanding of protein folding. These studies are normally carried out using chains in isolation. However, in many systems of practical interest, proteins fold in the presence of other molecules. To obtain insight into folding in such situations, we compare the thermodynamics of folding for a Miyazawa-Jernigan model 64-mer in isolation to results obtained in the presence of additional chains. The melting temperature falls as the chain concentration increases. In multi-chain systems, free-energy landscapes for folding show an increased preference for misfolded states. Misfolding is accompanied by an increase in inter-protein interactions; however, near the folding temperature, the transition from folded chains to misfolded and associated chains isentropically driven. A majority of the most probable inter-protein contacts are also native contacts, suggesting that native topology plays a role in early stages of aggregation.

  13. Protein folding in a force clamp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cieplak, Marek; Szymczak, P.

    2006-05-01

    Kinetics of folding of a protein held in a force clamp are compared to an unconstrained folding. The comparison is made within a simple topology-based dynamical model of ubiquitin. We demonstrate that the experimentally observed variations in the end-to-end distance reflect microscopic events during folding. However, the folding scenarios in and out of the force clamp are distinct.

  14. Collapse transition in proteins.

    PubMed

    Ziv, Guy; Thirumalai, D; Haran, Gilad

    2009-01-01

    The coil-globule transition, a tenet of the physics of polymers, has been identified in recent years as an important unresolved aspect of the initial stages of the folding of proteins. We describe the basics of the collapse transition, starting with homopolymers and continuing with proteins. Studies of denatured-state collapse under equilibrium are then presented. An emphasis is placed on single-molecule fluorescence experiments, which are particularly useful for measuring properties of the denatured state even under conditions of coexistence with the folded state. Attempts to understand the dynamics of collapse, both theoretically and experimentally, are then described. Only an upper limit for the rate of collapse has been obtained so far. Improvements in experimental and theoretical methodology are likely to continue to push our understanding of the importance of the denatured-state thermodynamics and dynamics for protein folding in the coming years. PMID:19081910

  15. Cotranslational protein folding on the ribosome monitored in real time.

    PubMed

    Holtkamp, Wolf; Kokic, Goran; Jäger, Marcus; Mittelstaet, Joerg; Komar, Anton A; Rodnina, Marina V

    2015-11-27

    Protein domains can fold into stable tertiary structures while they are synthesized on the ribosome. We used a high-performance, reconstituted in vitro translation system to investigate the folding of a small five-helix protein domain-the N-terminal domain of Escherichia coli N5-glutamine methyltransferase HemK-in real time. Our observations show that cotranslational folding of the protein, which folds autonomously and rapidly in solution, proceeds through a compact, non-native conformation that forms within the peptide tunnel of the ribosome. The compact state rearranges into a native-like structure immediately after the full domain sequence has emerged from the ribosome. Both folding transitions are rate-limited by translation, allowing for quasi-equilibrium sampling of the conformational space restricted by the ribosome. Cotranslational folding may be typical of small, intrinsically rapidly folding protein domains. PMID:26612953

  16. Folding-unfolding transition in the mini-protein villin headpiece (HP35): An equilibrium study using the Wang-Landau algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singh, Priya; Sarkar, Subir K.; Bandyopadhyay, Pradipta

    2016-04-01

    A computational study, using the Wang-Landau algorithm, is carried out for the 35 residue mini-protein villin headpiece (HP35) to investigate some equilibrium aspects of its folding-unfolding transition in water. The force field used is ECEPP/3 and a solvent-accessible surface area method is used to describe the interaction with water. The density of states and the conditional probabilities of some physically interesting geometrical descriptors of the molecule at various energies are calculated by analyzing the high-statistics data generated by the simulations. All canonical ensemble averages are subsequently calculated by using these data. The computed quantities include specific heat, radius of gyration, number of native contacts, number of helical residues and the potential of mean force for three pairs of geometric descriptors. High precision and a systematic check on the convergence of the computation are the two key points of our methodology.

  17. Reduced alphabet for protein folding prediction.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jitao T; Wang, Titi; Huang, Shanran R; Li, Xin

    2015-04-01

    What are the key building blocks that would have been needed to construct complex protein folds? This is an important issue for understanding protein folding mechanism and guiding de novo protein design. Twenty naturally occurring amino acids and eight secondary structures consist of a 28-letter alphabet to determine folding kinetics and mechanism. Here we predict folding kinetic rates of proteins from many reduced alphabets. We find that a reduced alphabet of 10 letters achieves good correlation with folding rates, close to the one achieved by full 28-letter alphabet. Many other reduced alphabets are not significantly correlated to folding rates. The finding suggests that not all amino acids and secondary structures are equally important for protein folding. The foldable sequence of a protein could be designed using at least 10 folding units, which can either promote or inhibit protein folding. Reducing alphabet cardinality without losing key folding kinetic information opens the door to potentially faster machine learning and data mining applications in protein structure prediction, sequence alignment and protein design. PMID:25641420

  18. Molecular Recognition by Templated Folding of an Intrinsically Disordered Protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toto, Angelo; Camilloni, Carlo; Giri, Rajanish; Brunori, Maurizio; Vendruscolo, Michele; Gianni, Stefano

    2016-02-01

    Intrinsically disordered proteins often become structured upon interacting with their partners. The mechanism of this ‘folding upon binding’ process, however, has not been fully characterised yet. Here we present a study of the folding of the intrinsically disordered transactivation domain of c-Myb (c-Myb) upon binding its partner KIX. By determining the structure of the folding transition state for the binding of wild-type and three mutational variants of KIX, we found a remarkable plasticity of the folding pathway of c-Myb. To explain this phenomenon, we show that the folding of c-Myb is templated by the structure of KIX. This adaptive folding behaviour, which occurs by heterogeneous nucleation, differs from the robust homogeneous nucleation typically observed for globular proteins. We suggest that this templated folding mechanism may enable intrinsically disordered proteins to achieve specific and reliable binding with multiple partners while avoiding aberrant interactions.

  19. Protein Folding in Confined and Crowded Environments

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Huan-Xiang

    2007-01-01

    Confinement and crowding are two major factors that can potentially impact protein folding in cellular environments. Theories based on considerations of excluded volumes predict disparate effects on protein folding stability for confinement and crowding: confinement can stabilize proteins by over 10kBT but crowding has a very modest effect on stability. On the other hand, confinement and crowding are both predicted to favor conformations of the unfolded state which are compact, and consequently may increase the folding rate. These predictions are largely borne out by experimental studies of protein folding under confined and crowded conditions in the test tube. Protein folding in cellular environments is further complicated by interactions with surrounding surfaces and other factors. Concerted theoretical modeling and test-tube and in vivo experiments promise to elucidate the complexity of protein folding in cellular environments. PMID:17719556

  20. Molecular dynamics studies of protein folding and aggregation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Feng

    This thesis applies molecular dynamics simulations and statistical mechanics to study: (i) protein folding; and (ii) protein aggregation. Most small proteins fold into their native states via a first-order-like phase transition with a major free energy barrier between the folded and unfolded states. A set of protein conformations corresponding to the free energy barrier, Delta G >> kBT, are the folding transition state ensemble (TSE). Due to their evasive nature, TSE conformations are hard to capture (probability ∝ exp(-DeltaG/k BT)) and characterize. A coarse-grained discrete molecular dynamics model with realistic steric constraints is constructed to reproduce the experimentally observed two-state folding thermodynamics. A kinetic approach is proposed to identify the folding TSE. A specific set of contacts, common to the TSE conformations, is identified as the folding nuclei which are necessary to be formed in order for the protein to fold. Interestingly, the amino acids at the site of the identified folding nuclei are highly conserved for homologous proteins sharing the same structures. Such conservation suggests that amino acids that are important for folding kinetics are under selective pressure to be preserved during the course of molecular evolution. In addition, studies of the conformations close to the transition states uncover the importance of topology in the construction of order parameter for protein folding transition. Misfolded proteins often form insoluble aggregates, amyloid fibrils, that deposit in the extracellular space and lead to a type of disease known as amyloidosis. Due to its insoluble and non-crystalline nature, the aggregation structure and, thus the aggregation mechanism, has yet to be uncovered. Discrete molecular dynamics studies reveal an aggregate structure with the same structural signatures as in experimental observations and show a nucleation aggregation scenario. The simulations also suggest a generic aggregation mechanism

  1. Spectroscopic studies of protein folding: Linear and nonlinear methods

    PubMed Central

    Serrano, Arnaldo L; Waegele, Matthias M; Gai, Feng

    2012-01-01

    Although protein folding is a simple outcome of the underlying thermodynamics, arriving at a quantitative and predictive understanding of how proteins fold nevertheless poses huge challenges. Therefore, both advanced experimental and computational methods are continuously being developed and refined to probe and reveal the atomistic details of protein folding dynamics and mechanisms. Herein, we provide a concise review of recent developments in spectroscopic studies of protein folding, with a focus on new triggering and probing methods. In particular, we describe several laser-based techniques for triggering protein folding/unfolding on the picosecond and/or nanosecond timescales and various linear and nonlinear spectroscopic techniques for interrogating protein conformations, conformational transitions, and dynamics. PMID:22109973

  2. Protein folding at single-molecule resolution

    PubMed Central

    Ferreon, Allan Chris M.; Deniz, Ashok A.

    2011-01-01

    The protein folding reaction carries great significance for cellular function and hence continues to be the research focus of a large interdisciplinary protein science community. Single-molecule methods are providing new and powerful tools for dissecting the mechanisms of this complex process by virtue of their ability to provide views of protein structure and dynamics without associated ensemble averaging. This review briefly introduces common FRET and force methods, and then explores several areas of protein folding where single-molecule experiments have yielded insights. These include exciting new information about folding landscapes, dynamics, intermediates, unfolded ensembles, intrinsically disordered proteins, assisted folding and biomechanical unfolding. Emerging and future work is expected to include advances in single-molecule techniques aimed at such investigations, and increasing work on more complex systems from both the physics and biology standpoints, including folding and dynamics of systems of interacting proteins and of proteins in cells and organisms. PMID:21303706

  3. Protein folding in a force-clamp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cieplak, Marek; Szymczak, Piotr

    2006-03-01

    Kinetics of folding of a protein held in a force-clamp are compared to an unconstrained folding. The comparison is made within a simple topology-based dynamical model of ubiquitin. We demonstrate that the experimentally observed rapid changes in the end-to-end distance mirror microscopic events during folding. However, the folding scenarios in and out of the force-clamp are distinct.

  4. Protein Folding and Self-Organized Criticality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bajracharya, Arun; Murray, Joelle

    Proteins are known to fold into tertiary structures that determine their functionality in living organisms. However, the complex dynamics of protein folding and the way they consistently fold into the same structures is not fully understood. Self-organized criticality (SOC) has provided a framework for understanding complex systems in various systems (earthquakes, forest fires, financial markets, and epidemics) through scale invariance and the associated power law behavior. In this research, we use a simple hydrophobic-polar lattice-bound computational model to investigate self-organized criticality as a possible mechanism for generating complexity in protein folding.

  5. Monster Mash: Protein Folding Gone Wrong

    MedlinePlus

    ... Articles | Inside Life Science Home Page Monster Mash: Protein Folding Gone Wrong By Joseph Piergrossi Posted October 31, 2013 In this image, globs of misfolded proteins called amyloid plaques (blobs) are found outside neurons ( ...

  6. Exploring the protein funnel energy landscape for folding and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Onuchic, Jose

    2005-03-01

    Globally the energy landscape of a folding protein resembles a partially rough funnel. Using minimalist model simulations together with analytical theory, we learn about good (minimally frustrated) folding sequences and non-folding (frustrated) sequences In addition to the need to minimize energetic frustration, the fold topology also plays a major role in the folding mechanism. Some folding motifs are easier to design than others, suggesting the possibility that evolution not only selected sequences with sufficiently small energetic frustration but also more easily designable native structures. We have demonstrated for several proteins (such as CI2 and SH3) that they are sufficiently well designed (i.e., reduced energetic frustration) that much of the heterogeneity observed in their transition state ensemble (TSE) is determined by topology. Topological effects go beyond the TSE. The overall structure of the on-route and off-route (traps) intermediates for the folding of more complex proteins and protein dimers is also strongly influenced by topology.this theoretical framework, simulations of minimalist models and their connections to more computationally-expensive all-atom simulations, we are now in the process of obtaining a quantitative understanding of the folding problem, which allows for a direct comparison to a new generation of folding experiments. Connections between the folding landscape and protein function will also be discussed.

  7. Visualizing chaperone-assisted protein folding.

    PubMed

    Horowitz, Scott; Salmon, Loïc; Koldewey, Philipp; Ahlstrom, Logan S; Martin, Raoul; Quan, Shu; Afonine, Pavel V; van den Bedem, Henry; Wang, Lili; Xu, Qingping; Trievel, Raymond C; Brooks, Charles L; Bardwell, James C A

    2016-07-01

    Challenges in determining the structures of heterogeneous and dynamic protein complexes have greatly hampered past efforts to obtain a mechanistic understanding of many important biological processes. One such process is chaperone-assisted protein folding. Obtaining structural ensembles of chaperone-substrate complexes would ultimately reveal how chaperones help proteins fold into their native state. To address this problem, we devised a new structural biology approach based on X-ray crystallography, termed residual electron and anomalous density (READ). READ enabled us to visualize even sparsely populated conformations of the substrate protein immunity protein 7 (Im7) in complex with the Escherichia coli chaperone Spy, and to capture a series of snapshots depicting the various folding states of Im7 bound to Spy. The ensemble shows that Spy-associated Im7 samples conformations ranging from unfolded to partially folded to native-like states and reveals how a substrate can explore its folding landscape while being bound to a chaperone. PMID:27239796

  8. Frustration in Condensed Matter and Protein Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Z.; Tanner, S.; Conroy, B.; Owens, F.; Tran, M. M.; Boekema, C.

    2014-03-01

    By means of computer modeling, we are studying frustration in condensed matter and protein folding, including the influence of temperature and Thomson-figure formation. Frustration is due to competing interactions in a disordered state. The key issue is how the particles interact to reach the lowest frustration. The relaxation for frustration is mostly a power function (randomly assigned pattern) or an exponential function (regular patterns like Thomson figures). For the atomic Thomson model, frustration is predicted to decrease with the formation of Thomson figures at zero kelvin. We attempt to apply our frustration modeling to protein folding and dynamics. We investigate the homogeneous protein frustration that would cause the speed of the protein folding to increase. Increase of protein frustration (where frustration and hydrophobicity interplay with protein folding) may lead to a protein mutation. Research is supported by WiSE@SJSU and AFC San Jose.

  9. Protein Folding and Mechanisms of Proteostasis

    PubMed Central

    Díaz-Villanueva, José Fernando; Díaz-Molina, Raúl; García-González, Victor

    2015-01-01

    Highly sophisticated mechanisms that modulate protein structure and function, which involve synthesis and degradation, have evolved to maintain cellular homeostasis. Perturbations in these mechanisms can lead to protein dysfunction as well as deleterious cell processes. Therefore in recent years the etiology of a great number of diseases has been attributed to failures in mechanisms that modulate protein structure. Interconnections among metabolic and cell signaling pathways are critical for homeostasis to converge on mechanisms associated with protein folding as well as for the preservation of the native structure of proteins. For instance, imbalances in secretory protein synthesis pathways lead to a condition known as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress which elicits the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR). Therefore, taking this into consideration, a key part of this paper is developed around the protein folding phenomenon, and cellular mechanisms which support this pivotal condition. We provide an overview of chaperone protein function, UPR via, spatial compartmentalization of protein folding, proteasome role, autophagy, as well as the intertwining between these processes. Several diseases are known to have a molecular etiology in the malfunction of mechanisms responsible for protein folding and in the shielding of native structure, phenomena which ultimately lead to misfolded protein accumulation. This review centers on our current knowledge about pathways that modulate protein folding, and cell responses involved in protein homeostasis. PMID:26225966

  10. Protein Folding and Mechanisms of Proteostasis.

    PubMed

    Díaz-Villanueva, José Fernando; Díaz-Molina, Raúl; García-González, Victor

    2015-01-01

    Highly sophisticated mechanisms that modulate protein structure and function, which involve synthesis and degradation, have evolved to maintain cellular homeostasis. Perturbations in these mechanisms can lead to protein dysfunction as well as deleterious cell processes. Therefore in recent years the etiology of a great number of diseases has been attributed to failures in mechanisms that modulate protein structure. Interconnections among metabolic and cell signaling pathways are critical for homeostasis to converge on mechanisms associated with protein folding as well as for the preservation of the native structure of proteins. For instance, imbalances in secretory protein synthesis pathways lead to a condition known as endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress which elicits the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR). Therefore, taking this into consideration, a key part of this paper is developed around the protein folding phenomenon, and cellular mechanisms which support this pivotal condition. We provide an overview of chaperone protein function, UPR via, spatial compartmentalization of protein folding, proteasome role, autophagy, as well as the intertwining between these processes. Several diseases are known to have a molecular etiology in the malfunction of mechanisms responsible for protein folding and in the shielding of native structure, phenomena which ultimately lead to misfolded protein accumulation. This review centers on our current knowledge about pathways that modulate protein folding, and cell responses involved in protein homeostasis. PMID:26225966

  11. Protein Folding and Misfolding on Surfaces

    PubMed Central

    Stefani, Massimo

    2008-01-01

    Protein folding, misfolding and aggregation, as well as the way misfolded and aggregated proteins affects cell viability are emerging as key themes in molecular and structural biology and in molecular medicine. Recent advances in the knowledge of the biophysical basis of protein folding have led to propose the energy landscape theory which provides a consistent framework to better understand how a protein folds rapidly and efficiently to the compact, biologically active structure. The increased knowledge on protein folding has highlighted its strict relation to protein misfolding and aggregation, either process being in close competition with the other, both relying on the same physicochemical basis. The theory has also provided information to better understand the structural and environmental factors affecting protein folding resulting in protein misfolding and aggregation into ordered or disordered polymeric assemblies. Among these, particular importance is given to the effects of surfaces. The latter, in some cases make possible rapid and efficient protein folding but most often recruit proteins/peptides increasing their local concentration thus favouring misfolding and accelerating the rate of nucleation. It is also emerging that surfaces can modify the path of protein misfolding and aggregation generating oligomers and polymers structurally different from those arising in the bulk solution and endowed with different physical properties and cytotoxicities. PMID:19330090

  12. Protein Folding and Unfolding Under Force

    PubMed Central

    Jagannathan, Bharat; Marqusee, Susan

    2014-01-01

    The recent revolution in optics and instrumentation has enabled the study of protein folding using extremely low mechanical forces as the denaturant. This exciting development has led to the observation of the protein folding process at single molecule resolution and its response to mechanical force. Here, we describe the principles and experimental details of force spectroscopy on proteins, with a focus on the optical tweezers instrument. Several recent results will be discussed to highlight the importance of this technique in addressing a variety of questions in the protein folding field. PMID:23784721

  13. The nature of protein folding pathways.

    PubMed

    Englander, S Walter; Mayne, Leland

    2014-11-11

    How do proteins fold, and why do they fold in that way? This Perspective integrates earlier and more recent advances over the 50-y history of the protein folding problem, emphasizing unambiguously clear structural information. Experimental results show that, contrary to prior belief, proteins are multistate rather than two-state objects. They are composed of separately cooperative foldon building blocks that can be seen to repeatedly unfold and refold as units even under native conditions. Similarly, foldons are lost as units when proteins are destabilized to produce partially unfolded equilibrium molten globules. In kinetic folding, the inherently cooperative nature of foldons predisposes the thermally driven amino acid-level search to form an initial foldon and subsequent foldons in later assisted searches. The small size of foldon units, ∼ 20 residues, resolves the Levinthal time-scale search problem. These microscopic-level search processes can be identified with the disordered multitrack search envisioned in the "new view" model for protein folding. Emergent macroscopic foldon-foldon interactions then collectively provide the structural guidance and free energy bias for the ordered addition of foldons in a stepwise pathway that sequentially builds the native protein. These conclusions reconcile the seemingly opposed new view and defined pathway models; the two models account for different stages of the protein folding process. Additionally, these observations answer the "how" and the "why" questions. The protein folding pathway depends on the same foldon units and foldon-foldon interactions that construct the native structure. PMID:25326421

  14. Energy Landscapes and Solved Protein Folding Problems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolynes, Peter

    2004-03-01

    Peter G. Wolynes Center for Theoretical Biological Physics Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Physics University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093-0371 Fifteen years ago, how proteins folded into organized structures on the basis of their sequence was a great mystery. By characterizing the energy landscapes of proteins with tools from the statistical mechanics of disordered systems like spin glasses, a "new view' of the folding process became possible. Energy landscape theory provided an incentive to pursue heroic new experiments and to carry out difficult computer simulations addressing protein folding mechanisms. Many aspects of folding kinetics revealed by these studies can be quantitatively understood using the simple idea that the topography of the energy landscape is that of a "rugged funnel". Energy landscape theory provided a quantitative means of characterizing which amino acid sequences can rapidly fold. Algorithms based on energy landscape theory have been used to successfully design novel sequences that fold to a given structure in the laboratory. Energy landscape ideas have begun to transform the prediction of protein structure from sequence data from being an art to being a science. The success of energy landscape- based algorithms in predicting protein structure from sequence will be highlighted. While there is still much to learn about folding mechanisms and much work to do achieving universally reliable structure prediction, many parts of what used to be called "the protein folding problem" can now be considered solved.

  15. The folding transition state theory in simple model systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Niewieczerzał, Szymon; Cieplak, Marek

    2008-06-01

    We present the results of an exact analysis of several model free energy landscapes of a protein to clarify the notion of the transition state and the physical meaning of the phi values determined in protein engineering experiments. We argue that a proper search strategy for the transition state in more realistic models should involve identification of a common part of various methods. Two of the models considered involve explicit conformations instead of just points on the free energy axis. These models are minimalistic as they are endowed only with five or 36 states to enumerate folding paths and to identify the transition state easily. Even though they display much of the two-state behavior, the phi values are found not to correspond to the conformation of the transition state.

  16. Elastic energy of proteins and the stages of protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lei, J.; Huang, K.

    2009-12-01

    We propose a universal elastic energy for proteins, which depends only on the radius of gyration Rg and the residue number N. It is constructed using physical arguments based on the hydrophobic effect and hydrogen bonding. Adjustable parameters are fitted to data from the computer simulation of the folding of a set of proteins using the CSAW (conditioned self-avoiding walk) model. The elastic energy gives rise to scaling relations of the form Rg~Nν in different regions. It shows three folding stages characterized by the progression with exponents ν=3/5, 3/7, 2/5, which we identify as the unfolded stage, pre-globule, and molten globule, respectively. The pre-globule goes over to the molten globule via a break in behavior akin to a first-order phase transition, which is initiated by a sudden acceleration of hydrogen bonding.

  17. Network measures for protein folding state discrimination

    PubMed Central

    Menichetti, Giulia; Fariselli, Piero; Remondini, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Proteins fold using a two-state or multi-state kinetic mechanisms, but up to now there is not a first-principle model to explain this different behavior. We exploit the network properties of protein structures by introducing novel observables to address the problem of classifying the different types of folding kinetics. These observables display a plain physical meaning, in terms of vibrational modes, possible configurations compatible with the native protein structure, and folding cooperativity. The relevance of these observables is supported by a classification performance up to 90%, even with simple classifiers such as discriminant analysis. PMID:27464796

  18. Structural origin of slow diffusion in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Chung, Hoi Sung; Piana-Agostinetti, Stefano; Shaw, David E; Eaton, William A

    2015-09-25

    Experimental, theoretical, and computational studies of small proteins suggest that interresidue contacts not present in the folded structure play little or no role in the self-assembly mechanism. Non-native contacts can, however, influence folding kinetics by introducing additional local minima that slow diffusion over the global free-energy barrier between folded and unfolded states. Here, we combine single-molecule fluorescence with all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to discover the structural origin for the slow diffusion that markedly decreases the folding rate for a designed α-helical protein. Our experimental determination of transition path times and our analysis of the simulations point to non-native salt bridges between helices as the source, which provides a quantitative glimpse of how specific intramolecular interactions influence protein folding rates by altering dynamics and not activation free energies. PMID:26404828

  19. Stochastic Resonance in Protein Folding Dynamics.

    PubMed

    Davtyan, Aram; Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin; Papoian, Garegin A

    2016-05-01

    Although protein folding reactions are usually studied under static external conditions, it is likely that proteins fold in a locally fluctuating cellular environment in vivo. To mimic such behavior in in vitro experiments, the local temperature of the solvent can be modulated either harmonically or using correlated noise. In this study, coarse-grained molecular simulations are used to investigate these possibilities, and it is found that both periodic and correlated random fluctuations of the environment can indeed accelerate folding kinetics if the characteristic frequencies of the applied fluctuations are commensurate with the internal timescale of the folding reaction; this is consistent with the phenomenon of stochastic resonance observed in many other condensed-matter processes. To test this theoretical prediction, the folding dynamics of phosphoglycerate kinase under harmonic temperature fluctuations are experimentally probed using Förster resonance energy transfer fluorescence measurements. To analyze these experiments, a combination of theoretical approaches is developed, including stochastic simulations of folding kinetics and an analytical mean-field kinetic theory. The experimental observations are consistent with the theoretical predictions of stochastic resonance in phosphoglycerate kinase folding. When combined with an alternative experiment on the protein VlsE using a power spectrum analysis, elaborated in Dave et al., ChemPhysChem 2016, 10.1002/cphc.201501041, the overall data overwhelmingly point to the experimental confirmation of stochastic resonance in protein folding dynamics. PMID:26992148

  20. Protein folding: When ribosomes pick the structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sivertsson, Elin M.; Itzhaki, Laura S.

    2014-05-01

    Anfinsen's principle tells us that the folded structure of a protein is determined solely by its sequence. Now, it has been shown that the rate at which a polypeptide chain is synthesized in the cell can affect which of two alternative folded structures it adopts.

  1. Protein folding and misfolding: mechanism and principles.

    PubMed

    Englander, S Walter; Mayne, Leland; Krishna, Mallela M G

    2007-11-01

    Two fundamentally different views of how proteins fold are now being debated. Do proteins fold through multiple unpredictable routes directed only by the energetically downhill nature of the folding landscape or do they fold through specific intermediates in a defined pathway that systematically puts predetermined pieces of the target native protein into place? It has now become possible to determine the structure of protein folding intermediates, evaluate their equilibrium and kinetic parameters, and establish their pathway relationships. Results obtained for many proteins have serendipitously revealed a new dimension of protein structure. Cooperative structural units of the native protein, called foldons, unfold and refold repeatedly even under native conditions. Much evidence obtained by hydrogen exchange and other methods now indicates that cooperative foldon units and not individual amino acids account for the unit steps in protein folding pathways. The formation of foldons and their ordered pathway assembly systematically puts native-like foldon building blocks into place, guided by a sequential stabilization mechanism in which prior native-like structure templates the formation of incoming foldons with complementary structure. Thus the same propensities and interactions that specify the final native state, encoded in the amino-acid sequence of every protein, determine the pathway for getting there. Experimental observations that have been interpreted differently, in terms of multiple independent pathways, appear to be due to chance misfolding errors that cause different population fractions to block at different pathway points, populate different pathway intermediates, and fold at different rates. This paper summarizes the experimental basis for these three determining principles and their consequences. Cooperative native-like foldon units and the sequential stabilization process together generate predetermined stepwise pathways. Optional misfolding errors

  2. Protein folding using contact maps.

    PubMed

    Vendruscolo, M; Domany, E

    2000-01-01

    We discuss the problem of representations of protein structure and give the definition of contact maps. We present a method to obtain a three-dimensional polypeptide conformation from a contact map. We also explain how to deal with the case of nonphysical contact maps. We describe a stochastic method to perform dynamics in contact map space. We explain how the motion is restricted to physical regions of the space. First, we introduce the exact free energy of a contact map and discuss two simple approximations to it. Second, we present a method to derive energy parameters based on perception learning. We prove in an extensive number of situations that the pairwise contact approximation both when alone and when supplemented with a hydrophobic term is unsuitable for stabilizing proteins' native states. PMID:10668399

  3. Folding funnels, binding funnels, and protein function.

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, C. J.; Kumar, S.; Ma, B.; Nussinov, R.

    1999-01-01

    Folding funnels have been the focus of considerable attention during the last few years. These have mostly been discussed in the general context of the theory of protein folding. Here we extend the utility of the concept of folding funnels, relating them to biological mechanisms and function. In particular, here we describe the shape of the funnels in light of protein synthesis and folding; flexibility, conformational diversity, and binding mechanisms; and the associated binding funnels, illustrating the multiple routes and the range of complexed conformers. Specifically, the walls of the folding funnels, their crevices, and bumps are related to the complexity of protein folding, and hence to sequential vs. nonsequential folding. Whereas the former is more frequently observed in eukaryotic proteins, where the rate of protein synthesis is slower, the latter is more frequent in prokaryotes, with faster translation rates. The bottoms of the funnels reflect the extent of the flexibility of the proteins. Rugged floors imply a range of conformational isomers, which may be close on the energy landscape. Rather than undergoing an induced fit binding mechanism, the conformational ensembles around the rugged bottoms argue that the conformers, which are most complementary to the ligand, will bind to it with the equilibrium shifting in their favor. Furthermore, depending on the extent of the ruggedness, or of the smoothness with only a few minima, we may infer nonspecific, broad range vs. specific binding. In particular, folding and binding are similar processes, with similar underlying principles. Hence, the shape of the folding funnel of the monomer enables making reasonable guesses regarding the shape of the corresponding binding funnel. Proteins having a broad range of binding, such as proteolytic enzymes or relatively nonspecific endonucleases, may be expected to have not only rugged floors in their folding funnels, but their binding funnels will also behave similarly

  4. [Protein structure: Folding and prions].

    PubMed

    Rey-Gayo, Antonio; Calbo Torrecilla, Francisco

    2002-04-01

    Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies have become a subject of prime social concern in recent years because of its relation to "mad cow disease" and their potential for transmission to humans. Among the most important scientific aspects of these diseases are the peculiar characteristics of the agent involved in their transmission. In this article we briefly describe the outstanding features of prions, the most widely accepted hypothesis for these diseases. We focus on the molecular characteristics of this protein, coded in the genome of the affected host, and describe the conformational alterations in the protein's tertiary structure that have been blamed for its pathologic activity. Our aim is to summarize the state-of-the-art knowledge on prions, the hypotheses proposed to explain mechanisms of disease transmission without agents containing genetic material, and some specific peculiarities of this new infectious agent. The links between this knowledge and possible therapeutic strategies to overcome the disease justify, once again, close interaction among chemistry, molecular biology, and medicine. PMID:11996702

  5. Unfolded protein ensembles, folding trajectories, and refolding rate prediction.

    PubMed

    Das, A; Sin, B K; Mohazab, A R; Plotkin, S S

    2013-09-28

    Computer simulations can provide critical information on the unfolded ensemble of proteins under physiological conditions, by explicitly characterizing the geometrical properties of the diverse conformations that are sampled in the unfolded state. A general computational analysis across many proteins has not been implemented however. Here, we develop a method for generating a diverse conformational ensemble, to characterize properties of the unfolded states of intrinsically disordered or intrinsically folded proteins. The method allows unfolded proteins to retain disulfide bonds. We examined physical properties of the unfolded ensembles of several proteins, including chemical shifts, clustering properties, and scaling exponents for the radius of gyration with polymer length. A problem relating simulated and experimental residual dipolar couplings is discussed. We apply our generated ensembles to the problem of folding kinetics, by examining whether the ensembles of some proteins are closer geometrically to their folded structures than others. We find that for a randomly selected dataset of 15 non-homologous 2- and 3-state proteins, quantities such as the average root mean squared deviation between the folded structure and unfolded ensemble correlate with folding rates as strongly as absolute contact order. We introduce a new order parameter that measures the distance travelled per residue, which naturally partitions into a smooth "laminar" and subsequent "turbulent" part of the trajectory. This latter conceptually simple measure with no fitting parameters predicts folding rates in 0 M denaturant with remarkable accuracy (r = -0.95, p = 1 × 10(-7)). The high correlation between folding times and sterically modulated, reconfigurational motion supports the rapid collapse of proteins prior to the transition state as a generic feature in the folding of both two-state and multi-state proteins. This method for generating unfolded ensembles provides a powerful approach to

  6. Unfolded protein ensembles, folding trajectories, and refolding rate prediction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Das, A.; Sin, B. K.; Mohazab, A. R.; Plotkin, S. S.

    2013-09-01

    Computer simulations can provide critical information on the unfolded ensemble of proteins under physiological conditions, by explicitly characterizing the geometrical properties of the diverse conformations that are sampled in the unfolded state. A general computational analysis across many proteins has not been implemented however. Here, we develop a method for generating a diverse conformational ensemble, to characterize properties of the unfolded states of intrinsically disordered or intrinsically folded proteins. The method allows unfolded proteins to retain disulfide bonds. We examined physical properties of the unfolded ensembles of several proteins, including chemical shifts, clustering properties, and scaling exponents for the radius of gyration with polymer length. A problem relating simulated and experimental residual dipolar couplings is discussed. We apply our generated ensembles to the problem of folding kinetics, by examining whether the ensembles of some proteins are closer geometrically to their folded structures than others. We find that for a randomly selected dataset of 15 non-homologous 2- and 3-state proteins, quantities such as the average root mean squared deviation between the folded structure and unfolded ensemble correlate with folding rates as strongly as absolute contact order. We introduce a new order parameter that measures the distance travelled per residue, which naturally partitions into a smooth "laminar" and subsequent "turbulent" part of the trajectory. This latter conceptually simple measure with no fitting parameters predicts folding rates in 0 M denaturant with remarkable accuracy (r = -0.95, p = 1 × 10-7). The high correlation between folding times and sterically modulated, reconfigurational motion supports the rapid collapse of proteins prior to the transition state as a generic feature in the folding of both two-state and multi-state proteins. This method for generating unfolded ensembles provides a powerful approach to

  7. Cotranslational folding of deeply knotted proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chwastyk, Mateusz; Cieplak, Marek

    2015-09-01

    Proper folding of deeply knotted proteins has a very low success rate even in structure-based models which favor formation of the native contacts but have no topological bias. By employing a structure-based model, we demonstrate that cotranslational folding on a model ribosome may enhance the odds to form trefoil knots for protein YibK without any need to introduce any non-native contacts. The ribosome is represented by a repulsive wall that keeps elongating the protein. On-ribosome folding proceeds through a a slipknot conformation. We elucidate the mechanics and energetics of its formation. We show that the knotting probability in on-ribosome folding is a function of temperature and that there is an optimal temperature for the process. Our model often leads to the establishment of the native contacts without formation of the knot.

  8. Cotranslational folding of deeply knotted proteins.

    PubMed

    Chwastyk, Mateusz; Cieplak, Marek

    2015-09-01

    Proper folding of deeply knotted proteins has a very low success rate even in structure-based models which favor formation of the native contacts but have no topological bias. By employing a structure-based model, we demonstrate that cotranslational folding on a model ribosome may enhance the odds to form trefoil knots for protein YibK without any need to introduce any non-native contacts. The ribosome is represented by a repulsive wall that keeps elongating the protein. On-ribosome folding proceeds through a a slipknot conformation. We elucidate the mechanics and energetics of its formation. We show that the knotting probability in on-ribosome folding is a function of temperature and that there is an optimal temperature for the process. Our model often leads to the establishment of the native contacts without formation of the knot. PMID:26292194

  9. Towards a systematic classification of protein folds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lindgård, Per-Anker; Bohr, Henrik

    1997-10-01

    A lattice model Hamiltonian is suggested for protein structures that can explain the division into structural fold classes during the folding process. Proteins are described by chains of secondary structure elements, with the hinges in between being the important degrees of freedom. The protein structures are given a unique name, which simultaneously represent a linear string of physical coupling constants describing hinge spin interactions. We have defined a metric and a precise distance measure between the fold classes. An automated procedure is constructed in which any protein structure in the usual protein data base coordinate format can be transformed into the proposed chain representation. Taking into account hydrophobic forces we have found a mechanism for the formation of domains with a unique fold containing predicted magic numbers \\{4,6,9,12,16,18,...\\} of secondary structures and multiples of these domains. It is shown that the same magic numbers are robust and occur as well for packing on other nonclosed packed lattices. We have performed a statistical analysis of available protein structures and found agreement with the predicted preferred abundances of proteins with a predicted magic number of secondary structures. Thermodynamic arguments for the increased abundance and a phase diagram for the folding scenario are given. This includes an intermediate high symmetry phase, the parent structures, between the molten globule and the native states. We have made an exhaustive enumeration of dense lattice animals on a cubic lattice for acceptance number Z=4 and Z=5 up to 36 vertices.

  10. Structural Characteristics of Novel Protein Folds

    PubMed Central

    Fernandez-Fuentes, Narcis; Dybas, Joseph M.; Fiser, Andras

    2010-01-01

    Folds are the basic building blocks of protein structures. Understanding the emergence of novel protein folds is an important step towards understanding the rules governing the evolution of protein structure and function and for developing tools for protein structure modeling and design. We explored the frequency of occurrences of an exhaustively classified library of supersecondary structural elements (Smotifs), in protein structures, in order to identify features that would define a fold as novel compared to previously known structures. We found that a surprisingly small set of Smotifs is sufficient to describe all known folds. Furthermore, novel folds do not require novel Smotifs, but rather are a new combination of existing ones. Novel folds can be typified by the inclusion of a relatively higher number of rarely occurring Smotifs in their structures and, to a lesser extent, by a novel topological combination of commonly occurring Smotifs. When investigating the structural features of Smotifs, we found that the top 10% of most frequent ones have a higher fraction of internal contacts, while some of the most rare motifs are larger, and contain a longer loop region. PMID:20421995

  11. The nature of protein folding pathways

    PubMed Central

    Englander, S. Walter; Mayne, Leland

    2014-01-01

    How do proteins fold, and why do they fold in that way? This Perspective integrates earlier and more recent advances over the 50-y history of the protein folding problem, emphasizing unambiguously clear structural information. Experimental results show that, contrary to prior belief, proteins are multistate rather than two-state objects. They are composed of separately cooperative foldon building blocks that can be seen to repeatedly unfold and refold as units even under native conditions. Similarly, foldons are lost as units when proteins are destabilized to produce partially unfolded equilibrium molten globules. In kinetic folding, the inherently cooperative nature of foldons predisposes the thermally driven amino acid-level search to form an initial foldon and subsequent foldons in later assisted searches. The small size of foldon units, ∼20 residues, resolves the Levinthal time-scale search problem. These microscopic-level search processes can be identified with the disordered multitrack search envisioned in the “new view” model for protein folding. Emergent macroscopic foldon–foldon interactions then collectively provide the structural guidance and free energy bias for the ordered addition of foldons in a stepwise pathway that sequentially builds the native protein. These conclusions reconcile the seemingly opposed new view and defined pathway models; the two models account for different stages of the protein folding process. Additionally, these observations answer the “how” and the “why” questions. The protein folding pathway depends on the same foldon units and foldon–foldon interactions that construct the native structure. PMID:25326421

  12. Coherent topological phenomena in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Bohr, H; Brunak, S; Bohr, J

    1997-01-01

    A theory is presented for coherent topological phenomena in protein dynamics with implications for protein folding and stability. We discuss the relationship to the writhing number used in knot diagrams of DNA. The winding state defines a long-range order along the backbone of a protein with long-range excitations, 'wring' modes, that play an important role in protein denaturation and stability. Energy can be pumped into these excitations, either thermally or by an external force. PMID:9218961

  13. Folding and escape of nascent proteins at ribosomal exit tunnel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bui, Phuong Thuy; Hoang, Trinh Xuan

    2016-03-01

    We investigate the interplay between post-translational folding and escape of two small single-domain proteins at the ribosomal exit tunnel by using Langevin dynamics with coarse-grained models. It is shown that at temperatures lower or near the temperature of the fastest folding, folding proceeds concomitantly with the escape process, resulting in vectorial folding and enhancement of foldability of nascent proteins. The concomitance between the two processes, however, deteriorates as temperature increases. Our folding simulations as well as free energy calculation by using umbrella sampling show that, at low temperatures, folding at the tunnel follows one or two specific pathways without kinetic traps. It is shown that the escape time can be mapped to a one-dimensional diffusion model with two different regimes for temperatures above and below the folding transition temperature. Attractive interactions between amino acids and attractive sites on the tunnel wall lead to a free energy barrier along the escape route of the protein. It is suggested that this barrier slows down the escape process and consequently promotes correct folding of the released nascent protein.

  14. Folding and escape of nascent proteins at ribosomal exit tunnel.

    PubMed

    Bui, Phuong Thuy; Hoang, Trinh Xuan

    2016-03-01

    We investigate the interplay between post-translational folding and escape of two small single-domain proteins at the ribosomal exit tunnel by using Langevin dynamics with coarse-grained models. It is shown that at temperatures lower or near the temperature of the fastest folding, folding proceeds concomitantly with the escape process, resulting in vectorial folding and enhancement of foldability of nascent proteins. The concomitance between the two processes, however, deteriorates as temperature increases. Our folding simulations as well as free energy calculation by using umbrella sampling show that, at low temperatures, folding at the tunnel follows one or two specific pathways without kinetic traps. It is shown that the escape time can be mapped to a one-dimensional diffusion model with two different regimes for temperatures above and below the folding transition temperature. Attractive interactions between amino acids and attractive sites on the tunnel wall lead to a free energy barrier along the escape route of the protein. It is suggested that this barrier slows down the escape process and consequently promotes correct folding of the released nascent protein. PMID:26957181

  15. Protein folding: Vexing debates on a fundamental problem.

    PubMed

    Gianni, Stefano; Jemth, Per

    2016-05-01

    The folding of proteins has been at the heart of protein chemistry and biophysics ever since the pioneering experiments by the labs of Fred Richards and Christian Anfinsen. But, despite nearly 60years of intense research, there are unresolved issues and a lively debate regarding some aspects of this fundamental problem. In this review we give a personal account on some key topics in the field: (i) the nature of the denatured state of a protein, (ii) nucleation sites in the folding reaction, and (iii) the time it takes for individual molecules to traverse the transition state. PMID:27018826

  16. Generating folded protein structures with a lattice chain growth algorithm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gan, Hin Hark; Tropsha, Alexander; Schlick, Tamar

    2000-10-01

    We present a new application of the chain growth algorithm to lattice generation of protein structure and thermodynamics. Given the difficulty of ab initio protein structure prediction, this approach provides an alternative to current folding algorithms. The chain growth algorithm, unlike Metropolis folding algorithms, generates independent protein structures to achieve rapid and efficient exploration of configurational space. It is a modified version of the Rosenbluth algorithm where the chain growth transition probability is a normalized Boltzmann factor; it was previously applied only to simple polymers and protein models with two residue types. The independent protein configurations, generated segment-by-segment on a refined cubic lattice, are based on a single interaction site for each amino acid and a statistical interaction energy derived by Miyazawa and Jernigan. We examine for several proteins the algorithm's ability to produce nativelike folds and its effectiveness for calculating protein thermodynamics. Thermal transition profiles associated with the internal energy, entropy, and radius of gyration show characteristic folding/unfolding transitions and provide evidence for unfolding via partially unfolded (molten-globule) states. From the configurational ensembles, the protein structures with the lowest distance root-mean-square deviations (dRMSD) vary between 2.2 to 3.8 Å, a range comparable to results of an exhaustive enumeration search. Though the ensemble-averaged dRMSD values are about 1.5 to 2 Å larger, the lowest dRMSD structures have similar overall folds to the native proteins. These results demonstrate that the chain growth algorithm is a viable alternative to protein simulations using the whole chain.

  17. Applications of statistical physics to genome assembly and protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Putnam, Nicholas Helms

    This dissertation describes work on computational approaches to two problems of biological relevance, one practical and one theoretical. Both have a statistical ensemble at their heart. One is the practical problem of reconstructing a genome sequence from sequences sampled by the Whole Genome Shotgun method. A new method is described which has been successfully applied as part of ten genome sequencing projects and uses an iterative self-consistent approach to finding a solution. The method is robust enough to assemble polymorphic datasets. The second, theoretical, problem describes an investigation of the nature of the folding transition state of a simplified model for protein folding. Here, simplified dynamics of various model proteins are used to collect model protein conformations which have the defining properties of the transition state, and this ensemble of conformations is characterized. For each model, transition state conformations can be classified into one or two classes. The conformations in each class share a common partially-structured nucleus.

  18. Microfluidic Mixers for Studying Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Waldauer, Steven A.; Wu, Ling; Yao, Shuhuai; Bakajin, Olgica; Lapidus, Lisa J.

    2012-01-01

    The process by which a protein folds into its native conformation is highly relevant to biology and human health yet still poorly understood. One reason for this is that folding takes place over a wide range of timescales, from nanoseconds to seconds or longer, depending on the protein1. Conventional stopped-flow mixers have allowed measurement of folding kinetics starting at about 1 ms. We have recently developed a microfluidic mixer that dilutes denaturant ~100-fold in ~8 μs2. Unlike a stopped-flow mixer, this mixer operates in the laminar flow regime in which turbulence does not occur. The absence of turbulence allows precise numeric simulation of all flows within the mixer with excellent agreement to experiment3-4. Laminar flow is achieved for Reynolds numbers Re ≤100. For aqueous solutions, this requires micron scale geometries. We use a hard substrate, such as silicon or fused silica, to make channels 5-10 μm wide and 10 μm deep (See Figure 1). The smallest dimensions, at the entrance to the mixing region, are on the order of 1 μm in size. The chip is sealed with a thin glass or fused silica coverslip for optical access. Typical total linear flow rates are ~1 m/s, yielding Re~10, but the protein consumption is only ~0.5 nL/s or 1.8 μL/hr. Protein concentration depends on the detection method: For tryptophan fluorescence the typical concentration is 100 μM (for 1 Trp/protein) and for FRET the typical concentration is ~100 nM. The folding process is initiated by rapid dilution of denaturant from 6 M to 0.06 M guanidine hydrochloride. The protein in high denaturant flows down a central channel and is met on either side at the mixing region by buffer without denaturant moving ~100 times faster (see Figure 2). This geometry causes rapid constriction of the protein flow into a narrow jet ~100 nm wide. Diffusion of the light denaturant molecules is very rapid, while diffusion of the heavy protein molecules is much slower, diffusing less than 1 μm in 1 ms

  19. Protein folding pathways extracted by OFLOOD: Outlier FLOODing method.

    PubMed

    Harada, Ryuhei; Nakamura, Tomotake; Takano, Yu; Shigeta, Yasuteru

    2015-01-15

    The Outlier FLOODing method (OFLOOD) is proposed as an efficient conformational sampling method to extract biologically rare events such as protein folding. In OFLOOD, sparse distributions (outliers in the conformational space) were regarded as relevant states for the transitions. Then, the transitions were enhanced through conformational resampling from the outliers. This evidence indicates that the conformational resampling of the sparse distributions might increase chances for promoting the transitions from the outliers to other meta-stable states, which resembles a conformational flooding from the outliers to the neighboring clusters. OFLOOD consists of (i) detections of outliers from conformational distributions and (ii) conformational resampling from the outliers by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Cycles of (i) and (ii) are simply repeated. As demonstrations, OFLOOD was applied to folding of Chignolin and HP35. In both cases, OFLOOD automatically extracted folding pathways from unfolded structures with ns-order computational costs, although µs-order canonical MD failed to extract them. PMID:25363340

  20. Intermediates and the folding of proteins L and G

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, Scott; Head-Gordon, Teresa

    2003-07-01

    We use a minimalist protein model, in combination with a sequence design strategy, to determine differences in primary structure for proteins L and G that are responsible for the two proteins folding through distinctly different folding mechanisms. We find that the folding of proteins L and G are consistent with a nucleation-condensation mechanism, each of which is described as helix-assisted {beta}-1 and {beta}-2 hairpin formation, respectively. We determine that the model for protein G exhibits an early intermediate that precedes the rate-limiting barrier of folding and which draws together misaligned secondary structure elements that are stabilized by hydrophobic core contacts involving the third {beta}-strand, and presages the later transition state in which the correct strand alignment of these same secondary structure elements is restored. Finally the validity of the targeted intermediate ensemble for protein G was analyzed by fitting the kinetic data to a two-step first order reversible reaction, proving that protein G folding involves an on-pathway early intermediate, and should be populated and therefore observable by experiment.

  1. Protein folding guides disulfide bond formation

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Meng; Wang, Wei; Thirumalai, D.

    2015-01-01

    The Anfinsen principle that the protein sequence uniquely determines its structure is based on experiments on oxidative refolding of a protein with disulfide bonds. The problem of how protein folding drives disulfide bond formation is poorly understood. Here, we have solved this long-standing problem by creating a general method for implementing the chemistry of disulfide bond formation and rupture in coarse-grained molecular simulations. As a case study, we investigate the oxidative folding of bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI). After confirming the experimental findings that the multiple routes to the folded state contain a network of states dominated by native disulfides, we show that the entropically unfavorable native single disulfide [14–38] between Cys14 and Cys38 forms only after polypeptide chain collapse and complete structuring of the central core of the protein containing an antiparallel β-sheet. Subsequent assembly, resulting in native two-disulfide bonds and the folded state, involves substantial unfolding of the protein and transient population of nonnative structures. The rate of [14–38] formation increases as the β-sheet stability increases. The flux to the native state, through a network of kinetically connected native-like intermediates, changes dramatically by altering the redox conditions. Disulfide bond formation between Cys residues not present in the native state are relevant only on the time scale of collapse of BPTI. The finding that formation of specific collapsed native-like structures guides efficient folding is applicable to a broad class of single-domain proteins, including enzyme-catalyzed disulfide proteins. PMID:26297249

  2. Kinetic Analysis of Protein Folding Lattice Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Hu; Zhou, Xin; Liaw, Chih Young; Koh, Chan Ghee

    Based on two-dimensional square lattice models of proteins, the relation between folding time and temperature is studied by Monte Carlo simulation. The results can be represented by a kinetic model with three states — random coil, molten globule, and native state. The folding process is composed of nonspecific collapse and final searching for the native state. At high temperature, it is easy to escape from local traps in the folding process. With decreasing temperature, because of the trapping in local traps, the final searching speed decreases. Then the folding shows chevron rollover. Through the analysis of the fitted parameters of the kinetic model, it is found that the main difference between the energy landscapes of the HP model and the Go model is that the number of local minima of the Go model is less than that of the HP model.

  3. Effects of Knots on Protein Folding Properties

    PubMed Central

    Soler, Miguel A.; Faísca, Patrícia F. N.

    2013-01-01

    This work explores the impact of knots, knot depth and motif of the threading terminus in protein folding properties (kinetics, thermodynamics and mechanism) via extensive Monte Carlo simulations of lattice models. A knotted backbone has no effect on protein thermodynamic stability but it may affect key aspects of folding kinetics. In this regard, we found clear evidence for a functional advantage of knots: knots enhance kinetic stability because a knotted protein unfolds at a distinctively slower rate than its unknotted counterpart. However, an increase in knot deepness does not necessarily lead to more effective changes in folding properties. In this regard, a terminus with a non-trivial conformation (e.g. hairpin) can have a more dramatic effect in enhancing kinetic stability than knot depth. Nevertheless, our results suggest that the probability of the denatured ensemble to keep knotted is higher for proteins with deeper knots, indicating that knot depth plays a role in determining the topology of the denatured state. Refolding simulations starting from denatured knotted conformations show that not every knot is able to nucleate folding and further indicate that the formation of the knotting loop is a key event in the folding of knotted trefoils. They also show that there are specific native contacts within the knotted core that are crucial to keep a native knotting loop in denatured conformations which otherwise have no detectable structure. The study of the knotting mechanism reveals that the threading of the knotting loop generally occurs towards late folding in conformations that exhibit a significant degree of structural consolidation. PMID:24023962

  4. How does a simplified-sequence protein fold?

    PubMed

    Guarnera, Enrico; Pellarin, Riccardo; Caflisch, Amedeo

    2009-09-16

    To investigate a putatively primordial protein we have simplified the sequence of a 56-residue alpha/beta fold (the immunoglobulin-binding domain of protein G) by replacing it with polyalanine, polythreonine, and diglycine segments at regions of the sequence that in the folded structure are alpha-helical, beta-strand, and turns, respectively. Remarkably, multiple folding and unfolding events are observed in a 15-micros molecular dynamics simulation at 330 K. The most stable state (populated at approximately 20%) of the simplified-sequence variant of protein G has the same alpha/beta topology as the wild-type but shows the characteristics of a molten globule, i.e., loose contacts among side chains and lack of a specific hydrophobic core. The unfolded state is heterogeneous and includes a variety of alpha/beta topologies but also fully alpha-helical and fully beta-sheet structures. Transitions within the denatured state are very fast, and the molten-globule state is reached in <1 micros by a framework mechanism of folding with multiple pathways. The native structure of the wild-type is more rigid than the molten-globule conformation of the simplified-sequence variant. The difference in structural stability and the very fast folding of the simplified protein suggest that evolution has enriched the primordial alphabet of amino acids mainly to optimize protein function by stabilization of a unique structure with specific tertiary interactions. PMID:19751679

  5. How Does a Simplified-Sequence Protein Fold?

    PubMed Central

    Guarnera, Enrico; Pellarin, Riccardo; Caflisch, Amedeo

    2009-01-01

    To investigate a putatively primordial protein we have simplified the sequence of a 56-residue α/β fold (the immunoglobulin-binding domain of protein G) by replacing it with polyalanine, polythreonine, and diglycine segments at regions of the sequence that in the folded structure are α-helical, β-strand, and turns, respectively. Remarkably, multiple folding and unfolding events are observed in a 15-μs molecular dynamics simulation at 330 K. The most stable state (populated at ∼20%) of the simplified-sequence variant of protein G has the same α/β topology as the wild-type but shows the characteristics of a molten globule, i.e., loose contacts among side chains and lack of a specific hydrophobic core. The unfolded state is heterogeneous and includes a variety of α/β topologies but also fully α-helical and fully β-sheet structures. Transitions within the denatured state are very fast, and the molten-globule state is reached in <1 μs by a framework mechanism of folding with multiple pathways. The native structure of the wild-type is more rigid than the molten-globule conformation of the simplified-sequence variant. The difference in structural stability and the very fast folding of the simplified protein suggest that evolution has enriched the primordial alphabet of amino acids mainly to optimize protein function by stabilization of a unique structure with specific tertiary interactions. PMID:19751679

  6. Foldons as independently folding units of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panchenko, Anna R.; Luthey-Schulten, Zaida; Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-02-01

    Independently folding units of proteins, foldons, have been identified by maxima in a scan of the ratio of an energetic stability gap to the energy variance of that segment's molten globule states, reflecting the requirement of minimal frustration. Foldon boundaries, unlike structural domains, depend on the sequence of the protein. Therefore, domains defined by purely structural criteria and the foldons of a given protein may differ in size and structure. The predicted foldons have been compared to the exons and structural modules. Statistical analysis indicates a strong correlation between the energetically determined foldons and Go's geometrically defined structural modules. There is only a weak correlation of foldons to exons.

  7. Protein Stability, Folding and Misfolding in Human PGK1 Deficiency.

    PubMed

    Valentini, Giovanna; Maggi, Maristella; Pey, Angel L

    2013-01-01

    Conformational diseases are often caused by mutations, altering protein folding and stability in vivo. We review here our recent work on the effects of mutations on the human phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (hPGK1), with a particular focus on thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding and misfolding. Expression analyses and in vitro biophysical studies indicate that disease-causing mutations enhance protein aggregation propensity. We found a strong correlation among protein aggregation propensity, thermodynamic stability, cooperativity and dynamics. Comparison of folding and unfolding properties with previous reports in PGKs from other species suggests that hPGK1 is very sensitive to mutations leading to enhance protein aggregation through changes in protein folding cooperativity and the structure of the relevant denaturation transition state for aggregation. Overall, we provide a mechanistic framework for protein misfolding of hPGK1, which is insightful to develop new therapeutic strategies aimed to target native state stability and foldability in hPGK1 deficient patients. PMID:24970202

  8. Structure based prediction of protein folding intermediates.

    PubMed

    Xie, D; Freire, E

    1994-09-01

    The complete unfolding of a protein involves the disruption of non-covalent intramolecular interactions within the protein and the subsequent hydration of the backbone and amino acid side-chains. The magnitude of the thermodynamic parameters associated with this process is known accurately for a growing number of globular proteins for which high-resolution structures are also available. The existence of this database of structural and thermodynamic information has facilitated the development of statistical procedures aimed at quantifying the relationships existing between protein structure and the thermodynamic parameters of folding/unfolding. Under some conditions proteins do not unfold completely, giving rise to states (commonly known as molten globules) in which the molecule retains some secondary structure and remains in a compact configuration after denaturation. This phenomenon is reflected in the thermodynamics of the process. Depending on the nature of the residual structure that exists after denaturation, the observed enthalpy, entropy and heat capacity changes will deviate in a particular and predictable way from the values expected for complete unfolding. For several proteins, these deviations have been shown to exhibit similar characteristics, suggesting that their equilibrium folding intermediates exhibit some common structural features. Employing empirically derived structure-energetic relationships, it is possible to identify in the native structure of the protein those regions with the higher probability of being structured in equilibrium partly folded states. In this work, a thermodynamic search algorithm aimed at identifying the structural determinants of the molten globule state has been applied to six globular proteins; alpha-lactalbumin, barnase, IIIGlc, interleukin-1 beta, phage T4 lysozyme and phage 434 repressor. Remarkably, the structural features of the predicted equilibrium intermediates coincide to a large extent with the known

  9. Evolution of a protein folding nucleus.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xue; Longo, Liam M; Sutherland, Mason A; Blaber, Michael

    2016-07-01

    The folding nucleus (FN) is a cryptic element within protein primary structure that enables an efficient folding pathway and is the postulated heritable element in the evolution of protein architecture; however, almost nothing is known regarding how the FN structurally changes as complex protein architecture evolves from simpler peptide motifs. We report characterization of the FN of a designed purely symmetric β-trefoil protein by ϕ-value analysis. We compare the structure and folding properties of key foldable intermediates along the evolutionary trajectory of the β-trefoil. The results show structural acquisition of the FN during gene fusion events, incorporating novel turn structure created by gene fusion. Furthermore, the FN is adjusted by circular permutation in response to destabilizing functional mutation. FN plasticity by way of circular permutation is made possible by the intrinsic C3 cyclic symmetry of the β-trefoil architecture, identifying a possible selective advantage that helps explain the prevalence of cyclic structural symmetry in the proteome. PMID:26610273

  10. Is Protein Folding Sub-Diffusive?

    PubMed Central

    Krivov, Sergei V.

    2010-01-01

    Protein folding dynamics is often described as diffusion on a free energy surface considered as a function of one or few reaction coordinates. However, a growing number of experiments and models show that, when projected onto a reaction coordinate, protein dynamics is sub-diffusive. This raises the question as to whether the conventionally used diffusive description of the dynamics is adequate. Here, we numerically construct the optimum reaction coordinate for a long equilibrium folding trajectory of a Go model of a -repressor protein. The trajectory projected onto this coordinate exhibits diffusive dynamics, while the dynamics of the same trajectory projected onto a sub-optimal reaction coordinate is sub-diffusive. We show that the higher the (cut-based) free energy profile for the putative reaction coordinate, the more diffusive the dynamics become when projected on this coordinate. The results suggest that whether the projected dynamics is diffusive or sub-diffusive depends on the chosen reaction coordinate. Protein folding can be described as diffusion on the free energy surface as function of the optimum reaction coordinate. And conversely, the conventional reaction coordinates, even though they might be based on physical intuition, are often sub-optimal and, hence, show sub-diffusive dynamics. PMID:20862361

  11. A Simple Model for Protein Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henry, Eric R.; Eaton, William A.

    We describe a simple Ising-like statistical mechanical model for folding proteins based on the α-carbon contact map of the native structure. In this model residues can adopt two microscopic states corresponding to the native and non-native conformations. In order to exactly enumerate the large number of possible configurations, structure is considered to grow as continuous sequences of native residues, with no more than two sequences in each molecule. Inter-residue contacts can only form within each sequence and between residues of the two native sequences. As structure grows there is a tradeoff between the stabilizing effect of inter-residue contacts and the entropy losses from ordering residues in their native conformation and from forming a disordered loop to connect two continuous sequences. Folding kinetics are calculated from the dynamics on the free energy profile, as in Kramers' reaction rate theory. Although non-native interactions responsible for roughness in the energy landscape are not explicitly considered in the model, they are implicitly included by determining the absolute rates for motion on the free energy profile. With the exception of α-helical proteins, the kinetic progress curves exhibit single exponential time courses, consistent with two state behavior, as observed experimentally. The calculated folding rates are in remarkably good agreement with the measured values for the 25 two-state proteins investigated, with a correlation coefficient of 0.8. With its coarse-grained description of both the energy and entropy, and only three independently adjustable parameters, the model may be regarded as the simplest possible analytical model of protein folding capable of predicting experimental properties of specific proteins.

  12. The role of ascorbate in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Szarka, András; Lőrincz, Tamás

    2014-05-01

    Ascorbate was linked to protein folding a long time ago. At the first level of this connection, it had been shown that ascorbate functions as an essential cofactor in the hydroxylation enzymes involved in collagen synthesis. Although the hydroxylation reactions catalyzed by the members of the prolyl 4-hydroxylase family are considered to be ascorbate dependent, the hydroxylation of proline alone does not need ascorbate. Prolyl 4-hydroxylases participate in two catalytic reactions: one in which proline residues are hydroxylated, while 2-oxoglutarate is decarboxylated and molecular oxygen is consumed. This reaction is ascorbate independent. However, in another reaction, prolyl 4-hydroxylases catalyze the decarboxylation of 2-oxoglutarate uncoupled from proline hydroxylation but still needing molecular oxygen. At this time, ferrous iron is oxidized and the protein is rendered catalytically inactive until reduced by ascorbate. At the second level of the connection, the oxidation and the oxidized form of ascorbate, dehydroascorbate, is involved in the formation of disulfide bonds of secretory proteins. The significance of the dehydroascorbate reductase activity of protein disulfide isomerase was debated because protein disulfide isomerase as a dehydroascorbate reductase was found to be too slow to be the major route for the reduction of dehydroascorbate (and formation of disulfides) in the endoplasmic reticulum lumen. However, very recently, low tissue ascorbate levels and a noncanonical scurvy were observed in endoplasmic reticulum thiol oxidase- and peroxiredoxin 4-compromised mice. This novel observation implies that ascorbate may be involved in oxidative protein folding and creates a link between the disulfide bond formation (oxidative protein folding) and hydroxylation. PMID:24150425

  13. Scaling approach to the folding kinetics of large proteins.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Erik D; Grishin, Nick V

    2006-01-01

    We study a nucleation-growth model of protein folding and extend it to describe larger proteins with multiple folding units. The model is of one of an extremely simple type in which amino acids are allowed just two states--either folded (frozen) or unfolded. Its energetics are heterogeneous and Gō-like, the energy being defined in terms of the number of atom-to-atom contacts that would occur between frozen amino acids in the native crystal structure of the protein. Each collective state of the amino acids is intended to represent a small free energy microensemble consisting of the possible configurations of unfolded loops, open segments, and free ends constrained by the cross-links that form between folded parts of the molecule. We approximate protein free energy landscapes by an infinite subset of these microensemble topologies in which loops and open unfolded segments can be viewed roughly as independent objects for the purpose of calculating their entropy, and we develop a means to implement this approximation in Monte Carlo simulations. We show that this approach describes transition state structures (phi values) more accurately and identifies folding intermediates that were unavailable to previous versions of the model that restricted the number of loops and nuclei. PMID:16486182

  14. Protein folding at atomic resolution: analysis of autonomously folding supersecondary structure motifs by nuclear magnetic resonance.

    PubMed

    Sborgi, Lorenzo; Verma, Abhinav; Sadqi, Mourad; de Alba, Eva; Muñoz, Victor

    2013-01-01

    The study of protein folding has been conventionally hampered by the assumption that all single-domain proteins fold by an all-or-none process (two-state folding) that makes it impossible to resolve folding mechanisms experimentally. Here we describe an experimental method for the thermodynamic analysis of protein folding at atomic resolution using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The method is specifically developed for the study of small proteins that fold autonomously into basic supersecondary structure motifs, and that do so in the sub-millisecond timescale (folding archetypes). From the NMR experiments we obtain hundreds of atomic unfolding curves that are subsequently analyzed leading to the determination of the characteristic network of folding interactions. The application of this approach to a comprehensive catalog of elementary folding archetypes holds the promise of becoming the first experimental approach capable of unraveling the basic rules connecting protein structure and folding mechanism. PMID:22987355

  15. Protein Folding Stages and Universal Exponents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Kerson

    We propose three stages in protein folding, based on physical arguements involving the interplay between the hydrophobic effect and hydrogen bonding, and computer simulations using the CSAW (conditioned self-avoiding walk) model. These stages are characterized by universal exponents ν = 3/5, 3/7, 2/5 in the power law R ~ Nν, where R is the radius of gyration and N is the number of residues. They correspond to the experimentally observed stages: unfolded, preglobule, molten globule.

  16. Protein Folding Stages and Universal Exponents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Kerson

    2011-11-01

    We propose three stages in protein folding, based on physical arguements involving the interplay between the hydrophobic effect and hydrogen bonding, and computer simulations using the CSAW (conditioned self-avoiding walk) model. These stages are characterized by universal exponents ν = 3/5, 3/7, 2/5 in the power law R ˜ Nν, where R is the radius of gyration and N is the number of residues. They correspond to the experimentally observed stages: unfolded, preglobule, molten globule.

  17. Protein-facilitated ribozyme folding and catalysis.

    PubMed

    Zingler, Nora; Solem, Amanda; Pyle, Anna Marie

    2008-01-01

    In vivo, large RNAs rely on proteins to fold to their native conformation. In the case of the S. cerevisiae group II intron ai5 gamma, the DEAD-box protein Mss116 has been shown to promote the formation of the catalytically active structure. However, it is a matter of debate whether it does this by stabilizing on-pathway intermediates or by disrupting misfolded structures. Here we present the available experimental evidence to distinguish between those mechanisms and discuss the possible interpretations. PMID:18776256

  18. Reducing the dimensionality of the protein-folding search problem.

    PubMed

    Chellapa, George D; Rose, George D

    2012-08-01

    How does a folding protein negotiate a vast, featureless conformational landscape and adopt its native structure in biological real time? Motivated by this search problem, we developed a novel algorithm to compare protein structures. Procedures to identify structural analogs are typically conducted in three-dimensional space: the tertiary structure of a target protein is matched against each candidate in a database of structures, and goodness of fit is evaluated by a distance-based measure, such as the root-mean-square distance between target and candidate. This is an expensive approach because three-dimensional space is complex. Here, we transform the problem into a simpler one-dimensional procedure. Specifically, we identify and label the 11 most populated residue basins in a database of high-resolution protein structures. Using this 11-letter alphabet, any protein's three-dimensional structure can be transformed into a one-dimensional string by mapping each residue onto its corresponding basin. Similarity between the resultant basin strings can then be evaluated by conventional sequence-based comparison. The disorder → order folding transition is abridged on both sides. At the onset, folding conditions necessitate formation of hydrogen-bonded scaffold elements on which proteins are assembled, severely restricting the magnitude of accessible conformational space. Near the end, chain topology is established prior to emergence of the close-packed native state. At this latter stage of folding, the chain remains molten, and residues populate natural basins that are approximated by the 11 basins derived here. In essence, our algorithm reduces the protein-folding search problem to mapping the amino acid sequence onto a restricted basin string. PMID:22692765

  19. Reducing the dimensionality of the protein-folding search problem

    PubMed Central

    Chellapa, George D; Rose, George D

    2012-01-01

    How does a folding protein negotiate a vast, featureless conformational landscape and adopt its native structure in biological real time? Motivated by this search problem, we developed a novel algorithm to compare protein structures. Procedures to identify structural analogs are typically conducted in three-dimensional space: the tertiary structure of a target protein is matched against each candidate in a database of structures, and goodness of fit is evaluated by a distance-based measure, such as the root-mean-square distance between target and candidate. This is an expensive approach because three-dimensional space is complex. Here, we transform the problem into a simpler one-dimensional procedure. Specifically, we identify and label the 11 most populated residue basins in a database of high-resolution protein structures. Using this 11-letter alphabet, any protein's three-dimensional structure can be transformed into a one-dimensional string by mapping each residue onto its corresponding basin. Similarity between the resultant basin strings can then be evaluated by conventional sequence-based comparison. The disorder → order folding transition is abridged on both sides. At the onset, folding conditions necessitate formation of hydrogen-bonded scaffold elements on which proteins are assembled, severely restricting the magnitude of accessible conformational space. Near the end, chain topology is established prior to emergence of the close-packed native state. At this latter stage of folding, the chain remains molten, and residues populate natural basins that are approximated by the 11 basins derived here. In essence, our algorithm reduces the protein-folding search problem to mapping the amino acid sequence onto a restricted basin string. PMID:22692765

  20. Universality Classes in Folding Times of Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Cieplak, Marek; Hoang, Trinh Xuan

    2003-01-01

    Molecular dynamics simulations in simplified models allow one to study the scaling properties of folding times for many proteins together under a controlled setting. We consider three variants of the Go models with different contact potentials and demonstrate scaling described by power laws and no correlation with the relative contact order parameter. We demonstrate existence of at least three kinetic universality classes that are correlated with the types of structure: the α-, α-β-, and β- proteins have the scaling exponents of ∼1.7, 2.5, and 3.2, respectively. The three classes merge into one when the contact range is truncated at a reasonable value. We elucidate the role of the potential associated with the chirality of a protein. PMID:12524300

  1. Microscopic interpretation of folding ϕ-values using the transition path ensemble.

    PubMed

    Best, Robert B; Hummer, Gerhard

    2016-03-22

    All-atom molecular dynamics simulations now allow us to create movies of proteins folding and unfolding. However, it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the folding mechanisms observed because experiments cannot yet directly resolve events occurring along the transition paths between unfolded and folded states. Protein folding ϕ-values provide residue-resolved information about folding mechanisms by comparing the effects of mutations on folding rates and stability, but determining ϕ-values by separately simulating mutant proteins would be computationally demanding and prone to large statistical errors. Here we use transition path theory to develop a method for computing ϕ-values directly from the transition path ensemble, without the need for additional simulations. This path-based approach uses the full transition path information available from equilibrium folding and unfolding trajectories, or from transition path sampling, and does not require identification of folding transition states. Applying our approach to a set of simulations of 10 small proteins by Shaw and coworkers [Lindorff-Larsen K, Piana S, Dror RO, Shaw DE (2011) Science 334(6055):517-520; Piana S, Lindorff-Larsen K, Shaw DE (2011) Biophys J100(9):L47-L49; and Piana S, Lindorff-Larsen K, Shaw DE (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(15):5915-5920], we find good agreement with experiments in most cases where data are available. We can further resolve the contributions to fractional ϕ-values coming from partial contact formation versus transition path heterogeneity. Although in some cases, there is substantial heterogeneity of folding mechanism, in others, such as Ubiquitin, the mechanism is strongly conserved. PMID:26957599

  2. Folding analysis of the most complex Stevedore's protein knot.

    PubMed

    Wang, Iren; Chen, Szu-Yu; Hsu, Shang-Te Danny

    2016-01-01

    DehI is a homodimeric haloacid dehalogenase from Pseudomonas putida that contains the most complex 61 Stevedore's protein knot within its folding topology. To examine how DehI attains such an intricate knotted topology we combined far-UV circular dichroism (CD), intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to investigate its folding mechanism. Equilibrium unfolding of DehI by chemical denaturation indicated the presence of two highly populated folding intermediates, I and I'. While the two intermediates vary in secondary structure contents and tertiary packing according to CD and intrinsic fluorescence, respectively, their overall dimension and compactness are similar according to SAXS. Three single-tryptophan variants (W34, W53, and W196) were generated to probe non-cooperative unfolding events localized around the three fluorophores. Kinetic fluorescence measurements indicated that the transition from the intermediate I' to the unfolded state is rate limiting. Our multiparametric folding analyses suggest that DehI unfolds through a linear folding pathway with two distinct folding intermediates by initial hydrophobic collapse followed by nucleation condensation, and that knotting precedes the formation of secondary structures. PMID:27527519

  3. Dynamic heterogeneity in the folding/unfolding transitions of FiP35

    SciTech Connect

    Mori, Toshifumi Saito, Shinji

    2015-04-07

    Molecular dynamics simulations have become an important tool in studying protein dynamics over the last few decades. Atomistic simulations on the order of micro- to milliseconds are becoming feasible and are used to study the state-of-the-art experiments in atomistic detail. Yet, analyzing the high-dimensional-long-temporal trajectory data is still a challenging task and sometimes leads to contradictory results depending on the analyses. To reveal the dynamic aspect of the trajectory, here we propose a simple approach which uses a time correlation function matrix and apply to the folding/unfolding trajectory of FiP35 WW domain [Shaw et al., Science 330, 341 (2010)]. The approach successfully characterizes the slowest mode corresponding to the folding/unfolding transitions and determines the free energy barrier indicating that FiP35 is not an incipient downhill folder. The transition dynamics analysis further reveals that the folding/unfolding transition is highly heterogeneous, e.g., the transition path time varies by ∼100 fold. We identify two misfolded states and show that the dynamic heterogeneity in the folding/unfolding transitions originates from the trajectory being trapped in the misfolded and half-folded intermediate states rather than the diffusion driven by a thermal noise. The current results help reconcile the conflicting interpretations of the folding mechanism and highlight the complexity in the folding dynamics. This further motivates the need to understand the transition dynamics beyond a simple free energy picture using simulations and single-molecule experiments.

  4. Recognizing the fold of a protein structure.

    PubMed

    Harrison, Andrew; Pearl, Frances; Sillitoe, Ian; Slidel, Tim; Mott, Richard; Thornton, Janet; Orengo, Christine

    2003-09-22

    This paper reports a graph-theoretic program, GRATH, that rapidly, and accurately, matches a novel structure against a library of domain structures to find the most similar ones. GRATH generates distributions of scores by comparing the novel domain against the different types of folds that have been classified previously in the CATH database of structural domains. GRATH uses a measure of similarity that details the geometric information, number of secondary structures and number of residues within secondary structures, that any two protein structures share. Although GRATH builds on well established approaches for secondary structure comparison, a novel scoring scheme has been introduced to allow ranking of any matches identified by the algorithm. More importantly, we have benchmarked the algorithm using a large dataset of 1702 non-redundant structures from the CATH database which have already been classified into fold groups, with manual validation. This has facilitated introduction of further constraints, optimization of parameters and identification of reliable thresholds for fold identification. Following these benchmarking trials, the correct fold can be identified with the top score with a frequency of 90%. It is identified within the ten most likely assignments with a frequency of 98%. GRATH has been implemented to use via a server (http://www.biochem.ucl.ac.uk/cgi-bin/cath/Grath.pl). GRATH's speed and accuracy means that it can be used as a reliable front-end filter for the more accurate, but computationally expensive, residue based structure comparison algorithm SSAP, currently used to classify domain structures in the CATH database. With an increasing number of structures being solved by the structural genomics initiatives, the GRATH server also provides an essential resource for determining whether newly determined structures are related to any known structures from which functional properties may be inferred. PMID:14512345

  5. Stability and folding of the tumour suppressor protein p16.

    PubMed

    Tang, K S; Guralnick, B J; Wang, W K; Fersht, A R; Itzhaki, L S

    1999-01-29

    The tumour suppressor p16 is a member of the INK4 family of inhibi tors of the cyclin D-dependent kinases, CDK4 and CDK6, that are involved in the key growth control pathway of the eukaryotic cell cycle. The 156 amino acid residue protein is composed of four ankyrin repeats (a helix-turn-helix motif) that stack linearly as two four-helix bundles resulting in a non-globular, elongated molecule. The thermodynamic and kinetic properties of the folding of p16 are unusual. The protein has a very low free energy of unfolding, Delta GH-2O/D-N, of 3.1 kcal mol-1 at 25 degreesC. The rate-determining transition state of folding/unfolding is very compact (89% as compact as the native state). The other unusual feature is the very rapid rate of unfolding in the absence of denaturant of 0.8 s-1 at 25 degreesC. Thus, p16 has both thermodynamic and kinetic instability. These features may be essential for the regulatory function of the INK4 proteins and of other ankyrin-repeat-containing proteins that mediate a wide range of protein-protein interactions. The mechanisms of inactivation of p16 by eight cancer-associated mutations were dissected using a systematic method designed to probe the integrity of the secondary structure and the global fold. The structure and folding of p16 appear to be highly vulnerable to single point mutations, probably as a result of the protein's low stability. This vulnerability provides one explanation for the striking frequency of p16 mutations in tumours and in immortalised cell lines. PMID:9917418

  6. Energy landscape and multiroute folding of topologically complex proteins adenylate kinase and 2ouf-knot.

    PubMed

    Li, Wenfei; Terakawa, Tsuyoshi; Wang, Wei; Takada, Shoji

    2012-10-30

    While fast folding of small proteins has been relatively well characterized by experiments and theories, much less is known for slow folding of larger proteins, for which recent experiments suggested quite complex and rich folding behaviors. Here, we address how the energy landscape theory can be applied to these slow folding reactions. Combining the perfect-funnel approximation with a multiscale method, we first extended our previous atomic-interaction based coarse grained (AICG) model to take into account local flexibility of protein molecules. Using this model, we then investigated the energy landscapes and folding routes of two proteins with complex topologies: a multidomain protein adenylate kinase (AKE) and a knotted protein 2ouf-knot. In the AKE folding, consistent with experimental results, the kinetic free energy surface showed several substates between the fully unfolded and native states. We characterized the structural features of these substates and transitions among them, finding temperature-dependent multiroute folding. For protein 2ouf-knot, we found that the improved atomic-interaction based coarse-grained model can spontaneously tie a knot and fold the protein with a probability up to 96%. The computed folding rate of the knotted protein was much slower than that of its unknotted counterpart, in agreement with experimental findings. Similar to the AKE case, the 2ouf-knot folding exhibited several substates and transitions among them. Interestingly, we found a dead-end substate that lacks the knot, thus suggesting backtracking mechanisms. PMID:22753508

  7. A Soluble, Folded Protein without Charged Amino Acid Residues.

    PubMed

    Højgaard, Casper; Kofoed, Christian; Espersen, Roall; Johansson, Kristoffer Enøe; Villa, Mara; Willemoës, Martin; Lindorff-Larsen, Kresten; Teilum, Kaare; Winther, Jakob R

    2016-07-19

    Charges are considered an integral part of protein structure and function, enhancing solubility and providing specificity in molecular interactions. We wished to investigate whether charged amino acids are indeed required for protein biogenesis and whether a protein completely free of titratable side chains can maintain solubility, stability, and function. As a model, we used a cellulose-binding domain from Cellulomonas fimi, which, among proteins of more than 100 amino acids, presently is the least charged in the Protein Data Bank, with a total of only four titratable residues. We find that the protein shows a surprising resilience toward extremes of pH, demonstrating stability and function (cellulose binding) in the pH range from 2 to 11. To ask whether the four charged residues present were required for these properties of this protein, we altered them to nontitratable ones. Remarkably, this chargeless protein is produced reasonably well in Escherichia coli, retains its stable three-dimensional structure, and is still capable of strong cellulose binding. To further deprive this protein of charges, we removed the N-terminal charge by acetylation and studied the protein at pH 2, where the C-terminus is effectively protonated. Under these conditions, the protein retains its function and proved to be both soluble and have a reversible folding-unfolding transition. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a soluble, functional protein with no titratable side chains has been produced. PMID:27307139

  8. CoinFold: a web server for protein contact prediction and contact-assisted protein folding.

    PubMed

    Wang, Sheng; Li, Wei; Zhang, Renyu; Liu, Shiwang; Xu, Jinbo

    2016-07-01

    CoinFold (http://raptorx2.uchicago.edu/ContactMap/) is a web server for protein contact prediction and contact-assisted de novo structure prediction. CoinFold predicts contacts by integrating joint multi-family evolutionary coupling (EC) analysis and supervised machine learning. This joint EC analysis is unique in that it not only uses residue coevolution information in the target protein family, but also that in the related families which may have divergent sequences but similar folds. The supervised learning further improves contact prediction accuracy by making use of sequence profile, contact (distance) potential and other information. Finally, this server predicts tertiary structure of a sequence by feeding its predicted contacts and secondary structure to the CNS suite. Tested on the CASP and CAMEO targets, this server shows significant advantages over existing ones of similar category in both contact and tertiary structure prediction. PMID:27112569

  9. Quantifying Nonnative Interactions in the Protein-Folding Free-Energy Landscape.

    PubMed

    Mouro, Paulo Ricardo; de Godoi Contessoto, Vinícius; Chahine, Jorge; Junio de Oliveira, Ronaldo; Pereira Leite, Vitor Barbanti

    2016-07-26

    Protein folding is a central problem in biological physics. Energetic roughness is an important aspect that controls protein-folding stability and kinetics. The roughness is associated with conflicting interactions in the protein and is also known as frustration. Recent studies indicate that an addition of a small amount of energetic frustration may enhance folding speed for certain proteins. In this study, we have investigated the conditions under which frustration increases the folding rate. We used a Cα structure-based model to simulate a group of proteins. We found that the free-energy barrier at the transition state (ΔF) correlates with nonnative-contact variation (ΔA), and the simulated proteins are clustered according to their fold motifs. These findings are corroborated by the Clementi-Plotkin analytical model. As a consequence, the optimum frustration regime for protein folding can be predicted analytically. PMID:27463131

  10. Negative activation enthalpies in the kinetics of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Oliveberg, M; Tan, Y J; Fersht, A R

    1995-09-12

    Although the rates of chemical reactions become faster with increasing temperature, the converse may be observed with protein-folding reactions. The rate constant for folding initially increases with temperature, goes through a maximum, and then decreases. The activation enthalpy is thus highly temperature dependent because of a large change in specific heat (delta Cp). Such a delta Cp term is usually presumed to be a consequence of a large decrease in exposure of hydrophobic surfaces to water as the reaction proceeds from the denatured state to the transition state for folding: the hydrophobic side chains are surrounded by "icebergs" of water that melt with increasing temperature, thus making a large contribution to the Cp of the denatured state and a smaller one to the more compact transition state. The rate could also be affected by temperature-induced changes in the conformational population of the ground state: the heat required for the progressive melting of residual structure in the denatured state will contribute to delta Cp. By examining two proteins with different refolding mechanisms, we are able to find both of these two processes; barley chymotrypsin inhibitor 2, which refolds from a highly unfolded state, fits well to a hydrophobic interaction model with a constant delta Cp of activation, whereas barnase, which refolds from a more structured denatured state, deviates from this ideal behavior. PMID:7568045

  11. Statistical mechanics of simple models of protein folding and design.

    PubMed Central

    Pande, V S; Grosberg, A Y; Tanaka, T

    1997-01-01

    It is now believed that the primary equilibrium aspects of simple models of protein folding are understood theoretically. However, current theories often resort to rather heavy mathematics to overcome some technical difficulties inherent in the problem or start from a phenomenological model. To this end, we take a new approach in this pedagogical review of the statistical mechanics of protein folding. The benefit of our approach is a drastic mathematical simplification of the theory, without resort to any new approximations or phenomenological prescriptions. Indeed, the results we obtain agree precisely with previous calculations. Because of this simplification, we are able to present here a thorough and self contained treatment of the problem. Topics discussed include the statistical mechanics of the random energy model (REM), tests of the validity of REM as a model for heteropolymer freezing, freezing transition of random sequences, phase diagram of designed ("minimally frustrated") sequences, and the degree to which errors in the interactions employed in simulations of either folding and design can still lead to correct folding behavior. Images FIGURE 2 FIGURE 3 FIGURE 4 FIGURE 6 PMID:9414231

  12. The folding of an ``average'' beta trefoil protein.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gosavi, Shachi; Jennings, Pat; Onuchic, Jose

    2007-03-01

    The beta-trefoil fold is characterized by twelve beta strands folded into three similar beta-beta-beta-loop-beta (trefoil) units. The overall fold has pseudo-threefold symmetry and consists of a six stranded-barrel, capped by a triangular hairpin triplet. The loops connecting the beta-strands vary in length and structure. It is these loops that give the fold its varied binding capability and the binding sites lie in different parts of the fold. The beta-trefoil proteins have little sequence similarity (sometimes less than 17%) and bind a range of molecules, including other proteins, DNA, membranes and carbohydrates. Protein folding experiments have been performed on four of the beta trefoils, namely, interleukin-1 (IL1B), acidic and basic fibroblast growth factors (FGF-1 and FGF-2) and hisactophilin (HIS). These experiments indicate that the proteins fold by different routes. Folding simulations of the proteins identify the possible folding routes and also show that the shapes of the barriers are different for the different proteins. In this work, we design a model protein which contains only the core fold elements of the beta-trefoil fold. We compare the folding of this ``average'' protein to the folding of His, FGF and IL1B and make some connections with function.

  13. High-Resolution Mapping of the Folding Transition State of a WW Domain.

    PubMed

    Dave, Kapil; Jäger, Marcus; Nguyen, Houbi; Kelly, Jeffery W; Gruebele, Martin

    2016-04-24

    Fast-folding WW domains are among the best-characterized systems for comparing experiments and simulations of protein folding. Recent microsecond-resolution experiments and long duration (totaling milliseconds) single-trajectory modeling have shown that even mechanistic changes in folding kinetics due to mutation can now be analyzed. Thus, a comprehensive set of experimental data would be helpful to benchmark the predictions made by simulations. Here, we use T-jump relaxation in conjunction with protein engineering and report mutational Φ-values (ΦM) as indicators for folding transition-state structure of 65 side chain, 7 backbone hydrogen bond, and 6 deletion and /or insertion mutants within loop 1 of the 34-residue hPin1 WW domain. Forty-five cross-validated consensus mutants could be identified that provide structural constraints for transition-state structure within all substructures of the WW domain fold (hydrophobic core, loop 1, loop 2, β-sheet). We probe the robustness of the two hydrophobic clusters in the folding transition state, discuss how local backbone disorder in the native-state can lead to non-classical ΦM-values (ΦM > 1) in the rate-determining loop 1 substructure, and conclusively identify mutations and positions along the sequence that perturb the folding mechanism from loop 1-limited toward loop 2-limited folding. PMID:26880334

  14. Improving Protein Fold Recognition by Deep Learning Networks

    PubMed Central

    Jo, Taeho; Hou, Jie; Eickholt, Jesse; Cheng, Jianlin

    2015-01-01

    For accurate recognition of protein folds, a deep learning network method (DN-Fold) was developed to predict if a given query-template protein pair belongs to the same structural fold. The input used stemmed from the protein sequence and structural features extracted from the protein pair. We evaluated the performance of DN-Fold along with 18 different methods on Lindahl’s benchmark dataset and on a large benchmark set extracted from SCOP 1.75 consisting of about one million protein pairs, at three different levels of fold recognition (i.e., protein family, superfamily, and fold) depending on the evolutionary distance between protein sequences. The correct recognition rate of ensembled DN-Fold for Top 1 predictions is 84.5%, 61.5%, and 33.6% and for Top 5 is 91.2%, 76.5%, and 60.7% at family, superfamily, and fold levels, respectively. We also evaluated the performance of single DN-Fold (DN-FoldS), which showed the comparable results at the level of family and superfamily, compared to ensemble DN-Fold. Finally, we extended the binary classification problem of fold recognition to real-value regression task, which also show a promising performance. DN-Fold is freely available through a web server at http://iris.rnet.missouri.edu/dnfold. PMID:26634993

  15. Improving Protein Fold Recognition by Deep Learning Networks.

    PubMed

    Jo, Taeho; Hou, Jie; Eickholt, Jesse; Cheng, Jianlin

    2015-01-01

    For accurate recognition of protein folds, a deep learning network method (DN-Fold) was developed to predict if a given query-template protein pair belongs to the same structural fold. The input used stemmed from the protein sequence and structural features extracted from the protein pair. We evaluated the performance of DN-Fold along with 18 different methods on Lindahl's benchmark dataset and on a large benchmark set extracted from SCOP 1.75 consisting of about one million protein pairs, at three different levels of fold recognition (i.e., protein family, superfamily, and fold) depending on the evolutionary distance between protein sequences. The correct recognition rate of ensembled DN-Fold for Top 1 predictions is 84.5%, 61.5%, and 33.6% and for Top 5 is 91.2%, 76.5%, and 60.7% at family, superfamily, and fold levels, respectively. We also evaluated the performance of single DN-Fold (DN-FoldS), which showed the comparable results at the level of family and superfamily, compared to ensemble DN-Fold. Finally, we extended the binary classification problem of fold recognition to real-value regression task, which also show a promising performance. DN-Fold is freely available through a web server at http://iris.rnet.missouri.edu/dnfold. PMID:26634993

  16. Improving Protein Fold Recognition by Deep Learning Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jo, Taeho; Hou, Jie; Eickholt, Jesse; Cheng, Jianlin

    2015-12-01

    For accurate recognition of protein folds, a deep learning network method (DN-Fold) was developed to predict if a given query-template protein pair belongs to the same structural fold. The input used stemmed from the protein sequence and structural features extracted from the protein pair. We evaluated the performance of DN-Fold along with 18 different methods on Lindahl’s benchmark dataset and on a large benchmark set extracted from SCOP 1.75 consisting of about one million protein pairs, at three different levels of fold recognition (i.e., protein family, superfamily, and fold) depending on the evolutionary distance between protein sequences. The correct recognition rate of ensembled DN-Fold for Top 1 predictions is 84.5%, 61.5%, and 33.6% and for Top 5 is 91.2%, 76.5%, and 60.7% at family, superfamily, and fold levels, respectively. We also evaluated the performance of single DN-Fold (DN-FoldS), which showed the comparable results at the level of family and superfamily, compared to ensemble DN-Fold. Finally, we extended the binary classification problem of fold recognition to real-value regression task, which also show a promising performance. DN-Fold is freely available through a web server at http://iris.rnet.missouri.edu/dnfold.

  17. Protein folding and amyloid formation in various environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Brien, Edward P.

    Understanding and predicting the effect of various environments that differ in terms of pH and the presence of cosolutes and macromolecules on protein properties is a formidable challenge. Yet this knowledge is crucial in understanding the effect of cellular environments on a protein. By combining thermodynamic theories of solution condition effects with statistical mechanics and computer simulations we develop a molecular perspective of protein folding and amyloid formation that was previously unobtainable. The resulting Molecular Transfer Model offers, in some instances, quantitatively accurate predictions of cosolute and pH effects on various protein properties. We show that protein denatured state properties can change significantly with osmolyte concentration, and that residual structure can persist at high denaturant concentrations. We study the single molecule mechanical unfolding of proteins at various pH values and varying osmolyte and denaturant concentrations. We find that the the effect of varying solution conditions on a protein under tension can be understood and qualitatively predicted based on knowledge of that protein's behavior in the absence of force. We test the accuracy of FRET inferred denatured state properties and find that currently, only qualitative estimates of denatured state properties can be obtained with these experimental methods. We also explore the factors governing helix formation in peptides confined to carbon nanotubes. We find that the interplay of the peptide's sequence and dimensions, the nanotube's diameter, hydrophobicity and chemical heterogeneity, lead to a rich diversity of behavior in helix formation. We determine the structural and thermodynamic basis for the dock-lock mechanism of peptide deposition to a mature amyloid fibril. We find multiple basins of attraction on the free energy surface associated with structural transitions of the adding monomer. The models we introduce offer a better understanding of protein

  18. Fold assessment for comparative protein structure modeling.

    PubMed

    Melo, Francisco; Sali, Andrej

    2007-11-01

    Accurate and automated assessment of both geometrical errors and incompleteness of comparative protein structure models is necessary for an adequate use of the models. Here, we describe a composite score for discriminating between models with the correct and incorrect fold. To find an accurate composite score, we designed and applied a genetic algorithm method that searched for a most informative subset of 21 input model features as well as their optimized nonlinear transformation into the composite score. The 21 input features included various statistical potential scores, stereochemistry quality descriptors, sequence alignment scores, geometrical descriptors, and measures of protein packing. The optimized composite score was found to depend on (1) a statistical potential z-score for residue accessibilities and distances, (2) model compactness, and (3) percentage sequence identity of the alignment used to build the model. The accuracy of the composite score was compared with the accuracy of assessment by single and combined features as well as by other commonly used assessment methods. The testing set was representative of models produced by automated comparative modeling on a genomic scale. The composite score performed better than any other tested score in terms of the maximum correct classification rate (i.e., 3.3% false positives and 2.5% false negatives) as well as the sensitivity and specificity across the whole range of thresholds. The composite score was implemented in our program MODELLER-8 and was used to assess models in the MODBASE database that contains comparative models for domains in approximately 1.3 million protein sequences. PMID:17905832

  19. Prions and protein-folding diseases.

    PubMed

    Norrby, E

    2011-07-01

    Prions represent a group of proteins with a unique capacity to fold into different conformations. One isoform is rich in beta-pleated sheets and can aggregate into amyloid that may be pathogenic. This abnormal form propagates itself by imposing its confirmation on the homologous normal host cell protein. Pathogenic prions have been shown to cause lethal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals. These diseases are sometimes infectious and hence referred to as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. In the present review, the remarkable evolution of the heterodox prion concept is summarized. The origin of this phenomenon is based on information transfer between homologous proteins, without the involvement of nucleic acid-encoded mechanisms. Historically, kuru and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) were the first infectious prion diseases to be identified in man. It was their relationship to scrapie in sheep and experimental rodents that allowed an unravelling of the particular molecular mechanism that underlie the disease process. Transmission between humans has been documented to have occurred in particular contexts, including ritual cannibalism, iatrogenic transmission because of pituitary gland-derived growth hormone or the use in neurosurgical procedures of dura mater from cadavers, and the temporary use of a prion-contaminated protein-rich feed for cows. The latter caused a major outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which spread to man by human consumption of contaminated meat, causing approximately 200 cases of variant CJD. All these epidemics now appear to be over because of measures taken to curtail further spread of prions. Recent studies have shown that the mechanism of protein aggregation may apply to a wider range of diseases in and possibly also outside the brain, some of which are relatively common such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Furthermore, it has become apparent that the phenomenon of prion aggregation may have a wider

  20. Prediction of protein folding rates from simplified secondary structure alphabet.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jitao T; Wang, Titi; Huang, Shanran R; Li, Xin

    2015-10-21

    Protein folding is a very complicated and highly cooperative dynamic process. However, the folding kinetics is likely to depend more on a few key structural features. Here we find that secondary structures can determine folding rates of only large, multi-state folding proteins and fails to predict those for small, two-state proteins. The importance of secondary structures for protein folding is ordered as: extended β strand > α helix > bend > turn > undefined secondary structure>310 helix > isolated β strand > π helix. Only the first three secondary structures, extended β strand, α helix and bend, can achieve a good correlation with folding rates. This suggests that the rate-limiting step of protein folding would depend upon the formation of regular secondary structures and the buckling of chain. The reduced secondary structure alphabet provides a simplified description for the machine learning applications in protein design. PMID:26247139

  1. Proteins with Highly Similar Native Folds Can Show Vastly Dissimilar Folding Behavior When Desolvated**

    PubMed Central

    Schennach, Moritz; Breuker, Kathrin

    2014-01-01

    Proteins can be exposed to vastly different environments such as the cytosol or membranes, but the delicate balance between external factors and intrinsic determinants of protein structure, stability, and folding is only poorly understood. Here we used electron capture dissociation to study horse and tuna heart Cytochromes c in the complete absence of solvent. The significantly different stability of their highly similar native folds after transfer into the gas phase, and their strikingly different folding behavior in the gas phase, can be rationalized on the basis of electrostatic interactions such as salt bridges. In the absence of hydrophobic bonding, protein folding is far slower and more complex than in solution. PMID:24259450

  2. Equation to Line the Borders of the Folding-Unfolding Transition Diagram of Lysozyme.

    PubMed

    Mohammad, Mohammad Amin; Grimsey, Ian M; Forbes, Robert T

    2016-07-21

    It is important for the formulators of biopharmaceuticals to predict the folding-unfolding transition of proteins. This enables them to process proteins under predetermined conditions, without denaturation. Depending on the apparent denaturation temperature (Tm) of lysozyme, we have derived an equation describing its folding-unfolding transition diagram. According to the water content and temperature, this diagram was divided into three different areas, namely, the area of the water-folded lysozyme phase, the area of the water-folded lysozyme phase and the bulk water phase, and the area of the denatured lysozyme phase. The water content controlled the appearance and intensity of the Raman band at ∼1787 cm(-1) when lysozyme powders were thermally denatured at temperatures higher than Tm. PMID:27341101

  3. Quantifying hub-like behavior in protein folding networks

    PubMed Central

    Dickson, Alex

    2013-01-01

    The free energy landscape of a protein is a function of many interdependent degrees of freedom. For this reason, conceptual constructs (e.g., funnels) have been useful to visualize these landscapes. One relatively new construct is the idea of a hub-like native state that is the final destination of many non-interconverting folding pathways. This is in contrast to the idea of a single predominant folding pathway connecting the native state to a rapidly interconverting ensemble of unfolded states. The key quantity to distinguish between these two ideas is the connectivity of the unfolded ensemble. We present a metric to determine this connectivity for a given network, which can be calculated either from continuous folding trajectories, or a Markov model. The metric determines how often a region of space is used as an intermediate on transition paths that connect two other regions of space, and we use it here to determine how often two parts of the unfolded ensemble are connected directly, versus how often these transitions are mediated by the native state. PMID:24027492

  4. Aggregation and folding phase transitions of RNA molecules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundschuh, Ralf

    2007-03-01

    RNA is a biomolecule that is involved in nearly all aspects of cellular functions. In order to perform many of these functions, RNA molecules have to fold into specific secondary structures. This folding is driven by the tendency of the bases to form Watson-Crick base pairs. Beyond the biological importance of RNA, the relatively simple rules for structure formation of RNA make it a very interesting system from the statistical physics point of view. We will present examples of phase transitions in RNA secondary structure formation that are amenable to analytical descriptions. A special focus will be on aggregation between several RNA molecules which is important for some regulatory circuits based on RNA structure, triplet repeat diseases like Huntington's, and as a model for prion diseases. We show that depending on the relative strength of the intramolecular and the intermolecular base pairing, RNA molecules undergo a transition into an aggregated phase and quantitatively characterize this transition.

  5. Multiple folding pathways of proteins with shallow knots and co-translational folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chwastyk, Mateusz; Cieplak, Marek

    2015-07-01

    We study the folding process in the shallowly knotted protein MJ0366 within two variants of a structure-based model. We observe that the resulting topological pathways are much richer than identified in previous studies. In addition to the single knot-loop events, we find novel, and dominant, two-loop mechanisms. We demonstrate that folding takes place in a range of temperatures and the conditions of most successful folding are at temperatures which are higher than those required for the fastest folding. We also demonstrate that nascent conditions are more favorable to knotting than off-ribosome folding.

  6. Multiple folding pathways of proteins with shallow knots and co-translational folding.

    PubMed

    Chwastyk, Mateusz; Cieplak, Marek

    2015-07-28

    We study the folding process in the shallowly knotted protein MJ0366 within two variants of a structure-based model. We observe that the resulting topological pathways are much richer than identified in previous studies. In addition to the single knot-loop events, we find novel, and dominant, two-loop mechanisms. We demonstrate that folding takes place in a range of temperatures and the conditions of most successful folding are at temperatures which are higher than those required for the fastest folding. We also demonstrate that nascent conditions are more favorable to knotting than off-ribosome folding. PMID:26233164

  7. Modeling Protein Folding and Applying It to a Relevant Activity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Nelson, Allan; Goetze, Jim

    2004-01-01

    The different levels of protein structure that can be easily understood by creating a model that simulates protein folding, which can then be evaluated by applying it to a relevant activity, is presented. The materials required and the procedure for constructing a protein folding model are mentioned.

  8. Folding a protein by discretizing its backbone torsional dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernández, Ariel

    1999-05-01

    The aim of this work is to provide a coarse codification of local conformational constraints associated with each folding motif of a peptide chain in order to obtain a rough solution to the protein folding problem. This is accomplished by implementing a discretized version of the soft-mode dynamics on a personal computer (PC). Our algorithm mimics a parallel process as it evaluates concurrent folding possibilities by pattern recognition. It may be implemented in a PC as a sequence of perturbation-translation-renormalization (p-t-r) cycles performed on a matrix of local topological constraints (LTM). This requires suitable representational tools and a periodic quenching of the dynamics required for renormalization. We introduce a description of the peptide chain based on a local discrete variable the values of which label the basins of attraction of the Ramachandran map for each residue. Thus, the local variable indicates the basin in which the torsional coordinates of each residue lie at a given time. In addition, a coding of local topological constraints associated with each secondary and tertiary structural motif is introduced. Our treatment enables us to adopt a computation time step of 81 ps, a value far larger than hydrodynamic drag time scales. Folding pathways are resolved as transitions between patterns of locally encoded structural signals that change within the 10 μs-100 ms time scale range. These coarse folding pathways are generated by the periodic search for structural patterns in the time-evolving LTM. Each pattern is recorded as a contact matrix, an operation subject to a renormalization feedback loop. The validity of our approach is tested vis-a-vis experimentally-probed folding pathways eventually generating tertiary interactions in proteins which recover their active structure under in vitro renaturation conditions. As an illustration, we focus on determining significant folding intermediates and late kinetic bottlenecks that occur within the

  9. Start2Fold: a database of hydrogen/deuterium exchange data on protein folding and stability

    PubMed Central

    Pancsa, Rita; Varadi, Mihaly; Tompa, Peter; Vranken, Wim F.

    2016-01-01

    Proteins fulfil a wide range of tasks in cells; understanding how they fold into complex three-dimensional (3D) structures and how these structures remain stable while retaining sufficient dynamics for functionality is essential for the interpretation of overall protein behaviour. Since the 1950's, solvent exchange-based methods have been the most powerful experimental means to obtain information on the folding and stability of proteins. Considerable expertise and care were required to obtain the resulting datasets, which, despite their importance and intrinsic value, have never been collected, curated and classified. Start2Fold is an openly accessible database (http://start2fold.eu) of carefully curated hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) data extracted from the literature that is open for new submissions from the community. The database entries contain (i) information on the proteins investigated and the underlying experimental procedures and (ii) the classification of the residues based on their exchange protection levels, also allowing for the instant visualization of the relevant residue groups on the 3D structures of the corresponding proteins. By providing a clear hierarchical framework for the easy sharing, comparison and (re-)interpretation of HDX data, Start2Fold intends to promote a better understanding of how the protein sequence encodes folding and structure as well as the development of new computational methods predicting protein folding and stability. PMID:26582925

  10. Cotranslational Protein Folding inside the Ribosome Exit Tunnel.

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Ola B; Hedman, Rickard; Marino, Jacopo; Wickles, Stephan; Bischoff, Lukas; Johansson, Magnus; Müller-Lucks, Annika; Trovato, Fabio; Puglisi, Joseph D; O'Brien, Edward P; Beckmann, Roland; von Heijne, Gunnar

    2015-09-01

    At what point during translation do proteins fold? It is well established that proteins can fold cotranslationally outside the ribosome exit tunnel, whereas studies of folding inside the exit tunnel have so far detected only the formation of helical secondary structure and collapsed or partially structured folding intermediates. Here, using a combination of cotranslational nascent chain force measurements, inter-subunit fluorescence resonance energy transfer studies on single translating ribosomes, molecular dynamics simulations, and cryoelectron microscopy, we show that a small zinc-finger domain protein can fold deep inside the vestibule of the ribosome exit tunnel. Thus, for small protein domains, the ribosome itself can provide the kind of sheltered folding environment that chaperones provide for larger proteins. PMID:26321634

  11. Cotranslational Protein Folding inside the Ribosome Exit Tunnel

    PubMed Central

    Nilsson, Ola B.; Hedman, Rickard; Marino, Jacopo; Wickles, Stephan; Bischoff, Lukas; Johansson, Magnus; Müller-Lucks, Annika; Trovato, Fabio; Puglisi, Joseph D.; O’Brien, Edward P.; Beckmann, Roland; von Heijne, Gunnar

    2015-01-01

    Summary At what point during translation do proteins fold? It is well established that proteins can fold cotranslationally outside the ribosome exit tunnel, whereas studies of folding inside the exit tunnel have so far detected only the formation of helical secondary structure and collapsed or partially structured folding intermediates. Here, using a combination of cotranslational nascent chain force measurements, inter-subunit fluorescence resonance energy transfer studies on single translating ribosomes, molecular dynamics simulations, and cryoelectron microscopy, we show that a small zinc-finger domain protein can fold deep inside the vestibule of the ribosome exit tunnel. Thus, for small protein domains, the ribosome itself can provide the kind of sheltered folding environment that chaperones provide for larger proteins. PMID:26321634

  12. Folding of β-barrel membrane proteins in lipid bilayers - Unassisted and assisted folding and insertion.

    PubMed

    Kleinschmidt, Jörg H

    2015-09-01

    In cells, β-barrel membrane proteins are transported in unfolded form to an outer membrane into which they fold and insert. Model systems have been established to investigate the mechanisms of insertion and folding of these versatile proteins into detergent micelles, lipid bilayers and even synthetic amphipathic polymers. In these experiments, insertion into lipid membranes is initiated from unfolded forms that do not display residual β-sheet secondary structure. These studies therefore have allowed the investigation of membrane protein folding and insertion in great detail. Folding of β-barrel membrane proteins into lipid bilayers has been monitored from unfolded forms by dilution of chaotropic denaturants that keep the protein unfolded as well as from unfolded forms present in complexes with molecular chaperones from cells. This review is aimed to provide an overview of the principles and mechanisms observed for the folding of β-barrel transmembrane proteins into lipid bilayers, the importance of lipid-protein interactions and the function of molecular chaperones and folding assistants. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Lipid-protein interactions. PMID:25983306

  13. Quantifying the Sources of Kinetic Frustration in Folding Simulations of Small Proteins

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Experiments and atomistic simulations of polypeptides have revealed structural intermediates that promote or inhibit conformational transitions to the native state during folding. We invoke a concept of “kinetic frustration” to quantify the prevalence and impact of these behaviors on folding rates within a large set of atomistic simulation data for 10 fast-folding proteins, where each protein’s conformational space is represented as a Markov state model of conformational transitions. Our graph theoretic approach addresses what conformational features correlate with folding inhibition and therefore permits comparison among features within a single protein network and also more generally between proteins. Nonnative contacts and nonnative secondary structure formation can thus be quantitatively implicated in inhibiting folding for several of the tested peptides. PMID:25136267

  14. Designing pH induced fold switch in proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baruah, Anupaul; Biswas, Parbati

    2015-05-01

    This work investigates the computational design of a pH induced protein fold switch based on a self-consistent mean-field approach by identifying the ensemble averaged characteristics of sequences that encode a fold switch. The primary challenge to balance the alternative sets of interactions present in both target structures is overcome by simultaneously optimizing two foldability criteria corresponding to two target structures. The change in pH is modeled by altering the residual charge on the amino acids. The energy landscape of the fold switch protein is found to be double funneled. The fold switch sequences stabilize the interactions of the sites with similar relative surface accessibility in both target structures. Fold switch sequences have low sequence complexity and hence lower sequence entropy. The pH induced fold switch is mediated by attractive electrostatic interactions rather than hydrophobic-hydrophobic contacts. This study may provide valuable insights to the design of fold switch proteins.

  15. Small protein domains fold inside the ribosome exit tunnel.

    PubMed

    Marino, Jacopo; von Heijne, Gunnar; Beckmann, Roland

    2016-03-01

    Cotranslational folding of small protein domains within the ribosome exit tunnel may be an important cellular strategy to avoid protein misfolding. However, the pathway of cotranslational folding has so far been described only for a few proteins, and therefore, it is unclear whether folding in the ribosome exit tunnel is a common feature for small protein domains. Here, we have analyzed nine small protein domains and determined at which point during translation their folding generates sufficient force on the nascent chain to release translational arrest by the SecM arrest peptide, both in vitro and in live E. coli cells. We find that all nine protein domains initiate folding while still located well within the ribosome exit tunnel. PMID:26879042

  16. Lattice model for rapidly folding protein-like heteropolymers.

    PubMed Central

    Shrivastava, I; Vishveshwara, S; Cieplak, M; Maritan, A; Banavar, J R

    1995-01-01

    Protein folding is a relatively fast process considering the astronomical number of conformations in which a protein could find itself. Within the framework of a lattice model, we show that one can design rapidly folding sequences by assigning the strongest attractive couplings to the contacts present in a target native state. Our protein design can be extended to situations with both attractive and repulsive contacts. Frustration is minimized by ensuring that all the native contacts are again strongly attractive. Strikingly, this ensures the inevitability of folding and accelerates the folding process by an order of magnitude. The evolutionary implications of our findings are discussed. PMID:7568102

  17. Simulating replica exchange simulations of protein folding with a kinetic network model

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Weihua; Andrec, Michael; Gallicchio, Emilio; Levy, Ronald M.

    2007-01-01

    Replica exchange (RE) is a generalized ensemble simulation method for accelerating the exploration of free-energy landscapes, which define many challenging problems in computational biophysics, including protein folding and binding. Although temperature RE (T-RE) is a parallel simulation technique whose implementation is relatively straightforward, kinetics and the approach to equilibrium in the T-RE ensemble are very complicated; there is much to learn about how to best employ T-RE to protein folding and binding problems. We have constructed a kinetic network model for RE studies of protein folding and used this reduced model to carry out “simulations of simulations” to analyze how the underlying temperature dependence of the conformational kinetics and the basic parameters of RE (e.g., the number of replicas, the RE rate, and the temperature spacing) all interact to affect the number of folding transitions observed. When protein folding follows anti-Arrhenius kinetics, we observe a speed limit for the number of folding transitions observed at the low temperature of interest, which depends on the maximum of the harmonic mean of the folding and unfolding transition rates at high temperature. The results shown here for the network RE model suggest ways to improve atomic-level RE simulations such as the use of “training” simulations to explore some aspects of the temperature dependence for folding of the atomic-level models before performing RE studies. PMID:17878309

  18. Effects of confinement on protein folding and protein stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ping, G.; Yuan, J. M.; Vallieres, M.; Dong, H.; Sun, Z.; Wei, Y.; Li, F. Y.; Lin, S. H.

    2003-05-01

    In a cell, proteins exist in crowded environments; these environments influence their stability and dynamics. Similarly, for an enzyme molecule encapsulated in an inorganic cavity as in biosensors or biocatalysts, confinement and even surface effects play important roles in its stability and dynamics. Using a minimalist model (two-dimensional HP lattice model), we have carried out Monte Carlo simulations to study confinement effects on protein stability. We have calculated heat capacity as a function of temperature using the histogram method and results obtained show that confinement tends to stabilize the folded conformations, consistent with experimental results (some reported here) and previous theoretical analyses. Furthermore, for a protein molecule tethered to a solid surface the stabilization effect can be even greater. We have also investigated the effects of confinement on the kinetics of the refolding and unfolding processes as functions of temperature and box size. As expected, unfolding time increases as box size decreases, however, confinement affects folding times in a more complicated way. Our theoretical results agree with our experimentally observed trends that thermal stability of horseradish peroxidase and acid phosphatase, encapsulated in mesoporous silica, increases as the pore size of the silica matrix decreases.

  19. How Quickly Can a β-Hairpin Fold from Its Transition State?

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the structural nature of the free energy bottleneck(s) encountered in protein folding is essential to elucidating the underlying dynamics and mechanism. For this reason, several techniques, including Φ-value analysis, have previously been developed to infer the structural characteristics of such high free-energy or transition states. Herein we propose that one (or few) appropriately placed backbone and/or side chain cross-linkers, such as disulfides, could be used to populate a thermodynamically accessible conformational state that mimics the folding transition state. Specifically, we test this hypothesis on a model β-hairpin, Trpzip4, as its folding mechanism has been extensively studied and is well understood. Our results show that cross-linking the two β-strands near the turn region increases the folding rate by an order of magnitude, to about (500 ns)−1, whereas cross-linking the termini results in a hyperstable β-hairpin that has essentially the same folding rate as the uncross-linked peptide. Taken together, these findings suggest that cross-linking is not only a useful strategy to manipulate folding free energy barriers, as shown in other studies, but also, in some cases, it can be used to stabilize a folding transition state analogue and allow for direct assessment of the folding process on the downhill side of the free energy barrier. The calculated free energy landscape of the cross-linked Trpzip4 also supports this picture. An empirical analysis further suggests, when folding of β-hairpins does not involve a significant free energy barrier, the folding time (τ) follows a power law dependence on the number of hydrogen bonds to be formed (nH), namely, τ = τ0nHα, with τ0 = 20 ns and α = 2.3. PMID:24611730

  20. Thermodynamics of folding and association of lattice-model proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cellmer, Troy; Bratko, Dusan; Prausnitz, John M.; Blanch, Harvey

    2005-05-01

    Closely related to the "protein folding problem" is the issue of protein misfolding and aggregation. Protein aggregation has been associated with the pathologies of nearly 20 human diseases and presents serious difficulties during the manufacture of pharmaceutical proteins. Computational studies of multiprotein systems have recently emerged as a powerful complement to experimental efforts aimed at understanding the mechanisms of protein aggregation. We describe the thermodynamics of systems containing two lattice-model 64-mers. A parallel tempering algorithm abates problems associated with glassy systems and the weighted histogram analysis method improves statistical quality. The presence of a second chain has a substantial effect on single-chain conformational preferences. The melting temperature is substantially reduced, and the increase in the population of unfolded states is correlated with an increase in interactions between chains. The transition from two native chains to a non-native aggregate is entropically favorable. Non-native aggregates receive ˜25% of their stabilizing energy from intraprotein contacts not found in the lowest-energy structure. Contact maps show that for non-native dimers, nearly 50% of the most probable interprotein contacts involve pairs of residues that form native contacts, suggesting that a domain-swapping mechanism is involved in self-association.

  1. Effects of confinement and crowding on folding of model proteins.

    PubMed

    Wojciechowski, M; Cieplak, Marek

    2008-12-01

    We perform molecular dynamics simulations for a simple coarse-grained model of crambin placed inside of a softly repulsive sphere of radius R. The confinement makes folding at the optimal temperature slower and affects the folding scenarios, but both effects are not dramatic. The influence of crowding on folding are studied by placing several identical proteins within the sphere, denaturing them, and then by monitoring refolding. If the interactions between the proteins are dominated by the excluded volume effects, the net folding times are essentially like for a single protein. An introduction of inter-proteinic attractive contacts hinders folding when the strength of the attraction exceeds about a half of the value of the strength of the single protein contacts. The bigger the strength of the attraction, the more likely is the occurrence of aggregation and misfolding. PMID:18832007

  2. Protein Elongation, Co-translational Folding and Targeting.

    PubMed

    Rodnina, Marina V; Wintermeyer, Wolfgang

    2016-05-22

    The elongation phase of protein synthesis defines the overall speed and fidelity of protein synthesis and affects protein folding and targeting. The mechanisms of reactions taking place during translation elongation remain important questions in understanding ribosome function. The ribosome-guided by signals in the mRNA-can recode the genetic information, resulting in alternative protein products. Co-translational protein folding and interaction of ribosomes and emerging polypeptides with associated protein biogenesis factors determine the quality and localization of proteins. In this review, we summarize recent findings on mechanisms of translation elongation in bacteria, including decoding and recoding, peptide bond formation, tRNA-mRNA translocation, co-translational protein folding, interaction with protein biogenesis factors and targeting of ribosomes synthesizing membrane proteins to the plasma membrane. The data provide insights into how the ribosome shapes composition and quality of the cellular proteome. PMID:27038507

  3. Protein folding: Turbo-charged crosslinking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craik, David J.

    2012-08-01

    The efficient production of stable bioactive proteins often requires the selective formation of several disulfide crosslinks. Two recent studies have now shown that replacing cysteine with selenocysteine in the unfolded protein can autocatalyse the formation of the desired crosslinks.

  4. Impact of structure space continuity on protein fold classification

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Jinrui; Zhang, Jianzhi

    2016-01-01

    Protein structure classification hierarchically clusters domain structures based on structure and/or sequence similarities and plays important roles in the study of protein structure-function relationship and protein evolution. Among many classifications, SCOP and CATH are widely viewed as the gold standards. Fold classification is of special interest because this is the lowest level of classification that does not depend on protein sequence similarity. The current fold classifications such as those in SCOP and CATH are controversial because they implicitly assume that folds are discrete islands in the structure space, whereas increasing evidence suggests significant similarities among folds and supports a continuous fold space. Although this problem is widely recognized, its impact on fold classification has not been quantitatively evaluated. Here we develop a likelihood method to classify a domain into the existing folds of CATH or SCOP using both query-fold structure similarities and within-fold structure heterogeneities. The new classification differs from the original classification for 3.4–12% of domains, depending on factors such as the structure similarity score and original classification scheme used. Because these factors differ for different biological purposes, our results indicate that the importance of considering structure space continuity in fold classification depends on the specific question asked. PMID:27006112

  5. Geometry-driven folding transitions in floating thin films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paulsen, Joseph D.; Démery, Vincent; Toga, K. Bugra; Qiu, Zhanlong; Davidovitch, Benny; Russell, Thomas P.; Menon, Narayanan

    When a thin elastic sheet is compressed, it forms wrinkles to gather excess material, while deforming the fluid or solid substrate by only a small amount. Upon further compression, the sheet may fold, in order to lower the mechanical energy of the system1. Here we demonstrate a folding transition that is independent of the mechanical properties of the sheet. We study the deformations of a thin polymer film that has an annular shape, floating on a planar air-water interface. By controlling the concentration of a surfactant outside the film, we vary the tension pulling on the outer boundary of the annulus. The sheet spontaneously folds at a threshold ratio of inner to outer surface tension that depends on the geometry of the sheet, but is independent of its bending rigidity. Our results are consistent with a simple geometric principle: the sheet adopts the unstretched shape that minimizes the interfacial energy of the exposed liquid2. Finally, we consider the application of this geometric principle to the folding of a floating indented film.1. Pocivavsek et al., Science 320, 912 (2008).2. Paulsen et al., Nature Materials, doi:10.1038/nmat4397 (2015).

  6. Protein folding, protein structure and the origin of life: Theoretical methods and solutions of dynamical problems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weaver, D. L.

    1982-01-01

    Theoretical methods and solutions of the dynamics of protein folding, protein aggregation, protein structure, and the origin of life are discussed. The elements of a dynamic model representing the initial stages of protein folding are presented. The calculation and experimental determination of the model parameters are discussed. The use of computer simulation for modeling protein folding is considered.

  7. Folding and Biogenesis of Mitochondrial Small Tim Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Ceh-Pavia, Efrain; Spiller, Michael P.; Lu, Hui

    2013-01-01

    Correct and timely folding is critical to the function of all proteins. The importance of this is illustrated in the biogenesis of the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS) “small Tim” proteins. Biogenesis of the small Tim proteins is regulated by dedicated systems or pathways, beginning with synthesis in the cytosol and ending with assembly of individually folded proteins into functional complexes in the mitochondrial IMS. The process is mostly centered on regulating the redox states of the conserved cysteine residues: oxidative folding is crucial for protein function in the IMS, but oxidized (disulfide bonded) proteins cannot be imported into mitochondria. How the redox-sensitive small Tim precursor proteins are maintained in a reduced, import-competent form in the cytosol is not well understood. Recent studies suggest that zinc and the cytosolic thioredoxin system play a role in the biogenesis of these proteins. In the IMS, the mitochondrial import and assembly (MIA) pathway catalyzes both import into the IMS and oxidative folding of the small Tim proteins. Finally, assembly of the small Tim complexes is a multistep process driven by electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions; however, the chaperone function of the complex might require destabilization of these interactions to accommodate the substrate. Here, we review how folding of the small Tim proteins is regulated during their biogenesis, from maintenance of the unfolded precursors in the cytosol, to their import, oxidative folding, complex assembly and function in the IMS. PMID:23945562

  8. Interplay between partner and ligand facilitates the folding and binding of an intrinsically disordered protein

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Joseph M.; Oleinikovas, Vladimiras; Shammas, Sarah L.; Wong, Chi T.; De Sancho, David; Baker, Christopher M.; Clarke, Jane

    2014-01-01

    Protein–protein interactions are at the heart of regulatory and signaling processes in the cell. In many interactions, one or both proteins are disordered before association. However, this disorder in the unbound state does not prevent many of these proteins folding to a well-defined, ordered structure in the bound state. Here we examine a typical system, where a small disordered protein (PUMA, p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis) folds to an α-helix when bound to a groove on the surface of a folded protein (MCL-1, induced myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein). We follow the association of these proteins using rapid-mixing stopped flow, and examine how the kinetic behavior is perturbed by denaturant and carefully chosen mutations. We demonstrate the utility of methods developed for the study of monomeric protein folding, including β-Tanford values, Leffler α, Φ-value analysis, and coarse-grained simulations, and propose a self-consistent mechanism for binding. Folding of the disordered protein before binding does not appear to be required and few, if any, specific interactions are required to commit to association. The majority of PUMA folding occurs after the transition state, in the presence of MCL-1. We also examine the role of the side chains of folded MCL-1 that make up the binding groove and find that many favor equilibrium binding but, surprisingly, inhibit the association process. PMID:25313042

  9. Reconstructing the Most Probable Folding Transition Path from Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamics Simulations.

    PubMed

    Jimenez-Cruz, Camilo Andres; Garcia, Angel E

    2013-08-13

    The characterization of transition pathways between long-lived states, and the identification of the corresponding transition state ensembles are useful tools in the study of rare events such as protein folding. In this work we demonstrate how the most probable transition path between metastable states can be recovered from replica exchange molecular dynamic simulation data by using the dynamic string method. The local drift vector in collective variables is determined via short continuous trajectories between replica exchanges at a given temperature, and points along the string are updated based on this drift vector to produce reaction pathways between the folded and unfolded state. The method is applied to a designed beta hairpin-forming peptide to obtain information on the folding mechanism and transition state using different sets of collective variables at various temperatures. Two main folding pathways differing in the order of events are found and discussed, and the relative free energy differences for each path estimated. Finally, the structures near the transition state are found and described. PMID:26584126

  10. Fluorescence of Alexa fluor dye tracks protein folding.

    PubMed

    Lindhoud, Simon; Westphal, Adrie H; Visser, Antonie J W G; Borst, Jan Willem; van Mierlo, Carlo P M

    2012-01-01

    Fluorescence spectroscopy is an important tool for the characterization of protein folding. Often, a protein is labeled with appropriate fluorescent donor and acceptor probes and folding-induced changes in Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) are monitored. However, conformational changes of the protein potentially affect fluorescence properties of both probes, thereby profoundly complicating interpretation of FRET data. In this study, we assess the effects protein folding has on fluorescence properties of Alexa Fluor 488 (A488), which is commonly used as FRET donor. Here, A488 is covalently attached to Cys69 of apoflavodoxin from Azotobacter vinelandii. Although coupling of A488 slightly destabilizes apoflavodoxin, the three-state folding of this protein, which involves a molten globule intermediate, is unaffected. Upon folding of apoflavodoxin, fluorescence emission intensity of A488 changes significantly. To illuminate the molecular sources of this alteration, we applied steady state and time-resolved fluorescence techniques. The results obtained show that tryptophans cause folding-induced changes in quenching of Alexa dye. Compared to unfolded protein, static quenching of A488 is increased in the molten globule. Upon populating the native state both static and dynamic quenching of A488 decrease considerably. We show that fluorescence quenching of Alexa Fluor dyes is a sensitive reporter of conformational changes during protein folding. PMID:23056480

  11. Protein Solubility and Folding Enhancement by Interaction with RNA

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Seong Il; Han, Kyoung Sim; Kim, Chul Woo; Ryu, Ki-Sun; Kim, Byung Hee; Kim, Kyun-Hwan; Kim, Seo-Il; Kang, Tae Hyun; Shin, Hang-Cheol; Lim, Keo-Heun; Kim, Hyo Kyung; Hyun, Jeong-Min; Seong, Baik L.

    2008-01-01

    While basic mechanisms of several major molecular chaperones are well understood, this machinery has been known to be involved in folding of only limited number of proteins inside the cells. Here, we report a chaperone type of protein folding facilitated by interaction with RNA. When an RNA-binding module is placed at the N-terminus of aggregation-prone target proteins, this module, upon binding with RNA, further promotes the solubility of passenger proteins, potentially leading to enhancement of proper protein folding. Studies on in vitro refolding in the presence of RNA, coexpression of RNA molecules in vivo and the mutants with impaired RNA binding ability suggests that RNA can exert chaperoning effect on their bound proteins. The results suggest that RNA binding could affect the overall kinetic network of protein folding pathway in favor of productive folding over off-pathway aggregation. In addition, the RNA binding-mediated solubility enhancement is extremely robust for increasing soluble yield of passenger proteins and could be usefully implemented for high-throughput protein expression for functional and structural genomic research initiatives. The RNA-mediated chaperone type presented here would give new insights into de novo folding in vivo. PMID:18628952

  12. Functionally Relevant Specific Packing Can Determine Protein Folding Routes.

    PubMed

    Yadahalli, Shilpa; Gosavi, Shachi

    2016-01-29

    Functional residues can modulate the folding mechanisms of proteins. In some proteins, mutations to such residues can radically change the primary folding route. Is it possible then to learn more about the functional regions of a protein by investigating just its choice of folding route? The folding and the function of the protein Escherichia coli ribonuclease H (ecoRNase-H) have been extensively studied and its folding route is known to near-residue resolution. Here, we computationally study the folding of ecoRNase-H using molecular dynamics simulations of structure-based models of increasing complexity. The differences between a model that correctly predicts the experimentally determined folding route and a simpler model that does not can be attributed to a set of six aromatic residues clustered together in a region of the protein called CORE. This clustering, which we term "specific" packing, drives CORE to fold early and determines the folding route. Both the residues involved in specific packing and their packing are largely conserved across E. coli-like RNase-Hs from diverse species. Residue conservation is usually implicated in function. Here, the identified residues either are known to bind substrate in ecoRNase-H or pack against the substrate in the homologous human RNase-H where a substrate-bound crystal structure exists. Thus, the folding mechanism of ecoRNase-H is a byproduct of functional demands upon its sequence. Using our observations on specific packing, we suggest mutations to an engineered HIV RNase-H to make its function better. Our results show that understanding folding route choice in proteins can provide unexpected insights into their function. PMID:26724535

  13. Mechanical Folding and Unfolding of Protein Barnase at the Single-Molecule Level.

    PubMed

    Alemany, Anna; Rey-Serra, Blanca; Frutos, Silvia; Cecconi, Ciro; Ritort, Felix

    2016-01-01

    The unfolding and folding of protein barnase has been extensively investigated in bulk conditions under the effect of denaturant and temperature. These experiments provided information about structural and kinetic features of both the native and the unfolded states of the protein, and debates about the possible existence of an intermediate state in the folding pathway have arisen. Here, we investigate the folding/unfolding reaction of protein barnase under the action of mechanical force at the single-molecule level using optical tweezers. We measure unfolding and folding force-dependent kinetic rates from pulling and passive experiments, respectively, and using Kramers-based theories (e.g., Bell-Evans and Dudko-Hummer-Szabo models), we extract the position of the transition state and the height of the kinetic barrier mediating unfolding and folding transitions, finding good agreement with previous bulk measurements. Measurements of the force-dependent kinetic barrier using the continuous effective barrier analysis show that protein barnase verifies the Leffler-Hammond postulate under applied force and allow us to extract its free energy of folding, ΔG0. The estimated value of ΔG0 is in agreement with our predictions obtained using fluctuation relations and previous bulk studies. To address the possible existence of an intermediate state on the folding pathway, we measure the power spectrum of force fluctuations at high temporal resolution (50 kHz) when the protein is either folded or unfolded and, additionally, we study the folding transition-path time at different forces. The finite bandwidth of our experimental setup sets the lifetime of potential intermediate states upon barnase folding/unfolding in the submillisecond timescale. PMID:26745410

  14. A strategy to select suitable physicochemical attributes of amino acids for protein fold recognition

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Assigning a protein into one of its folds is a transitional step for discovering three dimensional protein structure, which is a challenging task in bimolecular (biological) science. The present research focuses on: 1) the development of classifiers, and 2) the development of feature extraction techniques based on syntactic and/or physicochemical properties. Results Apart from the above two main categories of research, we have shown that the selection of physicochemical attributes of the amino acids is an important step in protein fold recognition and has not been explored adequately. We have presented a multi-dimensional successive feature selection (MD-SFS) approach to systematically select attributes. The proposed method is applied on protein sequence data and an improvement of around 24% in fold recognition has been noted when selecting attributes appropriately. Conclusion The MD-SFS has been applied successfully in selecting physicochemical attributes of the amino acids. The selected attributes show improved protein fold recognition performance. PMID:23879571

  15. Protein folding: the stepwise assembly of foldon units.

    PubMed

    Maity, Haripada; Maity, Mita; Krishna, Mallela M G; Mayne, Leland; Englander, S Walter

    2005-03-29

    Equilibrium and kinetic hydrogen exchange experiments show that cytochrome c is composed of five foldon units that continually unfold and refold even under native conditions. Folding proceeds by the stepwise assembly of the foldon units rather than one amino acid at a time. The folding pathway is determined by a sequential stabilization process; previously formed foldons guide and stabilize subsequent foldons to progressively build the native protein. Four other proteins have been found to show similar behavior. These results support stepwise protein folding pathways through discrete intermediates. PMID:15774579

  16. Water dynamics clue to key residues in protein folding

    SciTech Connect

    Gao, Meng; Zhu, Huaiqiu; Yao, Xin-Qiu; Department of Biophysics, Kyoto University, Sakyo Kyoto 606-8502 ; She, Zhen-Su

    2010-01-29

    A computational method independent of experimental protein structure information is proposed to recognize key residues in protein folding, from the study of hydration water dynamics. Based on all-atom molecular dynamics simulation, two key residues are recognized with distinct water dynamical behavior in a folding process of the Trp-cage protein. The identified key residues are shown to play an essential role in both 3D structure and hydrophobic-induced collapse. With observations on hydration water dynamics around key residues, a dynamical pathway of folding can be interpreted.

  17. Proteome folding kinetics is limited by protein halflife.

    PubMed

    Zou, Taisong; Williams, Nickolas; Ozkan, S Banu; Ghosh, Kingshuk

    2014-01-01

    How heterogeneous are proteome folding timescales and what physical principles, if any, dictate its limits? We answer this by predicting copy number weighted folding speed distribution - using the native topology - for E.coli and Yeast proteome. E.coli and Yeast proteomes yield very similar distributions with average folding times of 100 milliseconds and 170 milliseconds, respectively. The topology-based folding time distribution is well described by a diffusion-drift mutation model on a flat-fitness landscape in free energy barrier between two boundaries: i) the lowest barrier height determined by the upper limit of folding speed and ii) the highest barrier height governed by the lower speed limit of folding. While the fastest time scale of the distribution is near the experimentally measured speed limit of 1 microsecond (typical of barrier-less folders), we find the slowest folding time to be around seconds ([Formula: see text]8 seconds for Yeast distribution), approximately an order of magnitude less than the fastest halflife (approximately 2 minutes) in the Yeast proteome. This separation of timescale implies even the fastest degrading protein will have moderately high (96%) probability of folding before degradation. The overall agreement with the flat-fitness landscape model further hints that proteome folding times did not undergo additional major selection pressures - to make proteins fold faster - other than the primary requirement to "sufficiently beat the clock" against its lifetime. Direct comparison between the predicted folding time and experimentally measured halflife further shows 99% of the proteome have a folding time less than their corresponding lifetime. These two findings together suggest that proteome folding kinetics may be bounded by protein halflife. PMID:25393560

  18. Who solved the protein folding problem?

    PubMed

    Sippl, M J

    1999-04-15

    For the third time, techniques for the prediction of three-dimensional structures of proteins were critically assessed in a worldwide blind test. Steady progress is undeniable. How did this happen and what are the implications? PMID:10196132

  19. The folding-unfolding transition of equine lysozyme

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haezebrouck, P.; Van Dael, H.

    1993-03-01

    A detailed study of the chemical and thermal unfolding transition of equine lysozyme in the presence and in the absence of Ca 2+ gives evidence for a two-step unfolding process. The pretransition can be related to the transfer of exposed Trp groups to the protein interior.

  20. Revealing the global map of protein folding space by large-scale simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinner, Claude; Lutz, Benjamin; Verma, Abhinav; Schug, Alexander

    2015-12-01

    The full characterization of protein folding is a remarkable long-standing challenge both for experiment and simulation. Working towards a complete understanding of this process, one needs to cover the full diversity of existing folds and identify the general principles driving the process. Here, we want to understand and quantify the diversity in folding routes for a large and representative set of protein topologies covering the full range from all alpha helical topologies towards beta barrels guided by the key question: Does the majority of the observed routes contribute to the folding process or only a particular route? We identified a set of two-state folders among non-homologous proteins with a sequence length of 40-120 residues. For each of these proteins, we ran native-structure based simulations both with homogeneous and heterogeneous contact potentials. For each protein, we simulated dozens of folding transitions in continuous uninterrupted simulations and constructed a large database of kinetic parameters. We investigate folding routes by tracking the formation of tertiary structure interfaces and discuss whether a single specific route exists for a topology or if all routes are equiprobable. These results permit us to characterize the complete folding space for small proteins in terms of folding barrier ΔG‡, number of routes, and the route specificity RT.

  1. Navigating ligand protein binding free energy landscapes: universality and diversity of protein folding and molecular recognition mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Verkhivker, Gennady M.; Rejto, Paul A.; Bouzida, Djamal; Arthurs, Sandra; Colson, Anthony B.; Freer, Stephan T.; Gehlhaar, Daniel K.; Larson, Veda; Luty, Brock A.; Marrone, Tami; Rose, Peter W.

    2001-03-01

    Thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of ligand-protein binding are studied for the methotrexate-dihydrofolate reductase system from the binding free energy profile constructed as a function of the order parameter. Thermodynamic stability of the native complex and a cooperative transition to the unique native structure suggest the nucleation kinetic mechanism at the equilibrium transition temperature. Structural properties of the transition state ensemble and the ensemble of nucleation conformations are determined by kinetic simulations of the transmission coefficient and ligand-protein association pathways. Structural analysis of the transition states and the nucleation conformations reconciles different views on the nucleation mechanism in protein folding.

  2. Slow alpha helix formation during folding of a membrane protein.

    PubMed

    Riley, M L; Wallace, B A; Flitsch, S L; Booth, P J

    1997-01-01

    Very little is known about the folding of proteins within biological membranes. A "two-stage" model has been proposed on thermodynamic grounds for the folding of alpha helical, integral membrane proteins, the first stage of which involves formation of transmembrane alpha helices that are proposed to behave as autonomous folding domains. Here, we investigate alpha helix formation in bacteriorhodopsin and present a time-resolved circular dichroism study of the slow in vitro folding of this protein. We show that, although some of the protein's alpha helices form early, a significant part of the protein's secondary structure appears to form late in the folding process. Over 30 amino acids, equivalent to at least one of bacteriorhodopsin's seven transmembrane segments, slowly fold from disordered structures to alpha helices with an apparent rate constant of about 0.012 s-1 at pH 6 or 0.0077 s-1 at pH 8. This is a rate-limiting step in protein folding, which is dependent on the pH and the composition of the lipid bilayer. PMID:8993333

  3. Membranes Do Not Tell Proteins How To Fold.

    PubMed

    Popot, Jean-Luc; Engelman, Donald M

    2016-01-12

    Which properties of the membrane environment are essential for the folding and oligomerization of transmembrane proteins? Because the lipids that surround membrane proteins in situ spontaneously organize into bilayers, it may seem intuitive that interactions with the bilayer provide both hydrophobic and topological constraints that help the protein to achieve a stable and functional three-dimensional structure. However, one may wonder whether folding is actually driven by the membrane environment or whether the folded state just reflects an adaptation of integral proteins to the medium in which they function. Also, apart from the overall transmembrane orientation, might the asymmetry inherent in biosynthesis processes cause proteins to fold to out-of-equilibrium, metastable topologies? Which of the features of a bilayer are essential for membrane protein folding, and which are not? To which extent do translocons dictate transmembrane topologies? Recent data show that many membrane proteins fold and oligomerize very efficiently in media that bear little similarity to a membrane, casting doubt on the essentiality of many bilayer constraints. In the following discussion, we argue that some of the features of bilayers may contribute to protein folding, stability and regulation, but they are not required for the basic three-dimensional structure to be achieved. This idea, if correct, would imply that evolution has steered membrane proteins toward an accommodation to biosynthetic pathways and a good fit into their environment, but that their folding is not driven by the latter or dictated by insertion apparatuses. In other words, the three-dimensional structure of membrane proteins is essentially determined by intramolecular interactions and not by bilayer constraints and insertion pathways. Implications are discussed. PMID:26649989

  4. Signatures of the Protein Folding Pathway in Two-Dimensional Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    The function of protein relies on their folding to assume the proper structure. Probing the structural variations during the folding process is crucial for understanding the underlying mechanism. We present a combined quantum mechanics/molecular dynamics simulation study that demonstrates how coherent resonant nonlinear ultraviolet spectra can be used to follow the fast folding dynamics of a mini-protein, Trp-cage. Two dimensional ultraviolet signals of the backbone transitions carry rich information of both local (secondary) and global (tertiary) structures. The complexity of signals decreases as the conformational entropy decreases in the course of the folding process. We show that the approximate entropy of the signals provides a quantitative marker of protein folding status, accessible by both theoretical calculations and experiments. PMID:24803996

  5. Polymer Uncrossing and Knotting in Protein Folding, and Their Role in Minimal Folding Pathways

    PubMed Central

    Mohazab, Ali R.; Plotkin, Steven S.

    2013-01-01

    We introduce a method for calculating the extent to which chain non-crossing is important in the most efficient, optimal trajectories or pathways for a protein to fold. This involves recording all unphysical crossing events of a ghost chain, and calculating the minimal uncrossing cost that would have been required to avoid such events. A depth-first tree search algorithm is applied to find minimal transformations to fold , , , and knotted proteins. In all cases, the extra uncrossing/non-crossing distance is a small fraction of the total distance travelled by a ghost chain. Different structural classes may be distinguished by the amount of extra uncrossing distance, and the effectiveness of such discrimination is compared with other order parameters. It was seen that non-crossing distance over chain length provided the best discrimination between structural and kinetic classes. The scaling of non-crossing distance with chain length implies an inevitable crossover to entanglement-dominated folding mechanisms for sufficiently long chains. We further quantify the minimal folding pathways by collecting the sequence of uncrossing moves, which generally involve leg, loop, and elbow-like uncrossing moves, and rendering the collection of these moves over the unfolded ensemble as a multiple-transformation “alignment”. The consensus minimal pathway is constructed and shown schematically for representative cases of an , , and knotted protein. An overlap parameter is defined between pathways; we find that proteins have minimal overlap indicating diverse folding pathways, knotted proteins are highly constrained to follow a dominant pathway, and proteins are somewhere in between. Thus we have shown how topological chain constraints can induce dominant pathway mechanisms in protein folding. PMID:23365638

  6. In vivo aspects of protein folding and quality control.

    PubMed

    Balchin, David; Hayer-Hartl, Manajit; Hartl, F Ulrich

    2016-07-01

    Most proteins must fold into unique three-dimensional structures to perform their biological functions. In the crowded cellular environment, newly synthesized proteins are at risk of misfolding and forming toxic aggregate species. To ensure efficient folding, different classes of molecular chaperones receive the nascent protein chain emerging from the ribosome and guide it along a productive folding pathway. Because proteins are structurally dynamic, constant surveillance of the proteome by an integrated network of chaperones and protein degradation machineries is required to maintain protein homeostasis (proteostasis). The capacity of this proteostasis network declines during aging, facilitating neurodegeneration and other chronic diseases associated with protein aggregation. Understanding the proteostasis network holds the promise of identifying targets for pharmacological intervention in these pathologies. PMID:27365453

  7. The threads that tie protein-folding diseases

    PubMed Central

    Brodsky, Jeffrey L.

    2014-01-01

    From unicellular organisms to humans, cells have evolved elegant systems to facilitate careful folding of proteins and the maintenance of protein homeostasis. Key modulators of protein homeostasis include a large, conserved family of proteins known as molecular chaperones, which augment the folding of nascent polypeptides and temper adverse consequences of cellular stress. However, errors in protein folding can still occur, resulting in the accumulation of misfolded proteins that strain cellular quality-control systems. In some cases, misfolded proteins can be targeted for degradation by the proteasome or via autophagy. Nevertheless, protein misfolding is a feature of many complex, genetically and clinically pleiotropic diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. In recent years, substantial progress has been made in unraveling the complexity of protein folding using model systems, and we are now closer to being able to diagnose and treat the growing number of protein-folding diseases. To showcase some of these important recent advances, and also to inspire discussion on approaches to tackle unanswered questions, Disease Models & Mechanisms (DMM) presents a special collection of reviews from researchers at the cutting-edge of the field. PMID:24396147

  8. Investigation of the parallel tempering method for protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schug, Alexander; Herges, Thomas; Verma, Abhinav; Wenzel, Wolfgang

    2005-05-01

    We investigate the suitability and efficiency of an adapted version of the parallel tempering method for all-atom protein folding. We have recently developed an all-atom free energy force field (PFF01) for protein structure prediction with stochastic optimization methods. Here we report reproducible folding of the 20-amino-acid trp-cage protein and the conserved 40-amino-acid three-helix HIV accessory protein with an adapted parallel tempering method. We find that the native state, for both proteins, is correctly predicted to 2 Å backbone root mean square deviation and analyse the efficiency of the simulation approach.

  9. The influence of protein coding sequences on protein folding rates of all-β proteins.

    PubMed

    Li, Rui Fang; Li, Hong

    2011-06-01

    It is currently believed that the protein folding rate is related to the protein structures and its amino acid sequence. However, few studies have been done on the problem that whether the protein folding rate is influenced by its corresponding mRNA sequence. In this paper, we analyzed the possible relationship between the protein folding rates and the corresponding mRNA sequences. The content of guanine and cytosine (GC content) of palindromes in protein coding sequence was introduced as a new parameter and added in the Gromiha's model of predicting protein folding rates to inspect its effect in protein folding process. The multiple linear regression analysis and jack-knife test show that the new parameter is significant. The linear correlation coefficient between the experimental and the predicted values of the protein folding rates increased significantly from 0.96 to 0.99, and the population variance decreased from 0.50 to 0.24 compared with Gromiha's results. The results show that the GC content of palindromes in the corresponding protein coding sequence really influences the protein folding rate. Further analysis indicates that this kind of effect mostly comes from the synonymous codon usage and from the information of palindrome structure itself, but not from the translation information from codons to amino acids. PMID:21613670

  10. Protein folding pathology in domestic animals*

    PubMed Central

    Gruys, Erik

    2004-01-01

    Fibrillar proteins form structural elements of cells and the extracellular matrix. Pathological lesions of fibrillar microanatomical structures, or secondary fibrillar changes in globular proteins are well known. A special group concerns histologically amorphous deposits, amyloid. The major characteristics of amyloid are: apple green birefringence after Congo red staining of histological sections, and non-branching 7–10 nm thick fibrils on electron microscopy revealing a high content of cross beta pleated sheets. About 25 different types of amyloid have been characterised. In animals, AA-amyloid is the most frequent type. Other types of amyloid in animals represent: AIAPP (in cats), AApoAI, AApoAII, localised AL-amyloid, amyloid in odontogenic or mammary tumors and amyloid in the brain. In old dogs Aβ and in sheep APrPsc-amyloid can be encountered. AA-amyloidosis is a systemic disorder with a precursor in blood, acute phase serum amyloid A (SAA). In chronic inflammatory processes AA-amyloid can be deposited. A rapid crystallization of SAA to amyloid fibrils on small beta-sheeted fragments, the ‘amyloid enhancing factor’ (AEF), is known and the AEF has been shown to penetrate the enteric barrier. Amyloid fibrils can aggregate from various precursor proteins in vitro in particular at acidic pH and when proteolytic fragments are formed. Molecular chaperones influence this process. Tissue data point to amyloid fibrillogenesis in lysosomes and near cell surfaces. A comparison can be made of the fibrillogenesis in prion diseases and in enhanced AA-amyloidosis. In the reactive form, acute phase SAA is the supply of the precursor protein, whereas in the prion diseases, cell membrane proteins form a structural source. Aβ-amyloid in brain tissue of aged dogs showing signs of dementia forms a canine counterpart of senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (ccSDAT) in man. Misfolded proteins remain potential food hazards. Developments concerning prevention of

  11. Hierarchical classification of protein folds using a novel ensemble classifier.

    PubMed

    Lin, Chen; Zou, Ying; Qin, Ji; Liu, Xiangrong; Jiang, Yi; Ke, Caihuan; Zou, Quan

    2013-01-01

    The analysis of biological information from protein sequences is important for the study of cellular functions and interactions, and protein fold recognition plays a key role in the prediction of protein structures. Unfortunately, the prediction of protein fold patterns is challenging due to the existence of compound protein structures. Here, we processed the latest release of the Structural Classification of Proteins (SCOP, version 1.75) database and exploited novel techniques to impressively increase the accuracy of protein fold classification. The techniques proposed in this paper include ensemble classifying and a hierarchical framework, in the first layer of which similar or redundant sequences were deleted in two manners; a set of base classifiers, fused by various selection strategies, divides the input into seven classes; in the second layer of which, an analogous ensemble method is adopted to predict all protein folds. To our knowledge, it is the first time all protein folds can be intelligently detected hierarchically. Compared with prior studies, our experimental results demonstrated the efficiency and effectiveness of our proposed method, which achieved a success rate of 74.21%, which is much higher than results obtained with previous methods (ranging from 45.6% to 70.5%). When applied to the second layer of classification, the prediction accuracy was in the range between 23.13% and 46.05%. This value, which may not be remarkably high, is scientifically admirable and encouraging as compared to the relatively low counts of proteins from most fold recognition programs. The web server Hierarchical Protein Fold Prediction (HPFP) is available at http://datamining.xmu.edu.cn/software/hpfp. PMID:23437146

  12. Hierarchical Classification of Protein Folds Using a Novel Ensemble Classifier

    PubMed Central

    Qin, Ji; Liu, Xiangrong; Jiang, Yi; Ke, Caihuan; Zou, Quan

    2013-01-01

    The analysis of biological information from protein sequences is important for the study of cellular functions and interactions, and protein fold recognition plays a key role in the prediction of protein structures. Unfortunately, the prediction of protein fold patterns is challenging due to the existence of compound protein structures. Here, we processed the latest release of the Structural Classification of Proteins (SCOP, version 1.75) database and exploited novel techniques to impressively increase the accuracy of protein fold classification. The techniques proposed in this paper include ensemble classifying and a hierarchical framework, in the first layer of which similar or redundant sequences were deleted in two manners; a set of base classifiers, fused by various selection strategies, divides the input into seven classes; in the second layer of which, an analogous ensemble method is adopted to predict all protein folds. To our knowledge, it is the first time all protein folds can be intelligently detected hierarchically. Compared with prior studies, our experimental results demonstrated the efficiency and effectiveness of our proposed method, which achieved a success rate of 74.21%, which is much higher than results obtained with previous methods (ranging from 45.6% to 70.5%). When applied to the second layer of classification, the prediction accuracy was in the range between 23.13% and 46.05%. This value, which may not be remarkably high, is scientifically admirable and encouraging as compared to the relatively low counts of proteins from most fold recognition programs. The web server Hierarchical Protein Fold Prediction (HPFP) is available at http://datamining.xmu.edu.cn/software/hpfp. PMID:23437146

  13. Solitons and protein folding: An In Silico experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ilieva, N.; Dai, J.; Sieradzan, A.; Niemi, A.

    2015-10-01

    Protein folding [1] is the process of formation of a functional 3D structure from a random coil — the shape in which amino-acid chains leave the ribosome. Anfinsen's dogma states that the native 3D shape of a protein is completely determined by protein's amino acid sequence. Despite the progress in understanding the process rate and the success in folding prediction for some small proteins, with presently available physics-based methods it is not yet possible to reliably deduce the shape of a biologically active protein from its amino acid sequence. The protein-folding problem endures as one of the most important unresolved problems in science; it addresses the origin of life itself. Furthermore, a wrong fold is a common cause for a protein to lose its function or even endanger the living organism. Soliton solutions of a generalized discrete non-linear Schrödinger equation (GDNLSE) obtained from the energy function in terms of bond and torsion angles κ and τ provide a constructive theoretical framework for describing protein folds and folding patterns [2]. Here we study the dynamics of this process by means of molecular-dynamics simulations. The soliton manifestation is the pattern helix-loop-helix in the secondary structure of the protein, which explains the importance of understanding loop formation in helical proteins. We performed in silico experiments for unfolding one subunit of the core structure of gp41 from the HIV envelope glycoprotein (PDB ID: 1AIK [3]) by molecular-dynamics simulations with the MD package GROMACS. We analyzed 80 ns trajectories, obtained with one united-atom and two different all-atom force fields, to justify the side-chain orientation quantification scheme adopted in the studies and to eliminate force-field based artifacts. Our results are compatible with the soliton model of protein folding and provide first insight into soliton-formation dynamics.

  14. Metal ion coupled protein folding and allosteric motions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Wei

    2014-03-01

    Many proteins need the help of cofactors for their successful folding and functioning. Metal ions, i.e., Zn2+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ etc., are typical biological cofactors. Binding of metal ions can reshape the energy landscapes of proteins, thereby modifying the folding and allosteric motions. For example, such binding may make the intrinsically disordered proteins have funneled energy landscapes, consequently, ensures their spontaneous folding. In addition, the binding may activate certain biological processes by inducing related conformational changes of regulation proteins. However, how the local interactions involving the metal ion binding can induce the global conformational motions of proteins remains elusive. Investigating such question requires multiple models with different details, including quantum mechanics, atomistic models, and coarse grained models. In our recent work, we have been developing such multiscale methods which can reasonably model the metal ion binding induced charge transfer, protonation/deprotonation, and large conformational motions of proteins. With such multiscale model, we elucidated the zinc-binding induced folding mechanism of classical zinc finger and the calcium-binding induced dynamic symmetry breaking in the allosteric motions of calmodulin. In addition, we studied the coupling of folding, calcium binding and allosteric motions of calmodulin domains. In this talk, I will introduce the above progresses on the metal ion coupled protein folding and allosteric motions. We thank the finacial support from NSFC and the 973 project.

  15. Mechanical Modeling and Computer Simulation of Protein Folding

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Prigozhin, Maxim B.; Scott, Gregory E.; Denos, Sharlene

    2014-01-01

    In this activity, science education and modern technology are bridged to teach students at the high school and undergraduate levels about protein folding and to strengthen their model building skills. Students are guided from a textbook picture of a protein as a rigid crystal structure to a more realistic view: proteins are highly dynamic…

  16. Molecular Origins of Internal Friction Effects on Protein Folding Rates

    PubMed Central

    Sirur, Anshul

    2014-01-01

    Recent experiments on protein folding dynamics have revealed strong evidence for internal friction effects. That is, observed relaxation times are not simply proportional to the solvent viscosity as might be expected if the solvent were the only source of friction. However, a molecular interpretation of this remarkable phenomenon is currently lacking. Here, we use all-atom simulations of peptide and protein folding in explicit solvent, to probe the origin of the unusual viscosity dependence. We find that an important contribution to this effect, explaining the viscosity dependence of helix formation and the folding of a helix-containing protein, is the insensitivity of torsion angle isomerization to solvent friction. The influence of this landscape roughness can, in turn, be quantitatively explained by a rate theory including memory friction. This insensitivity of local barrier crossing to solvent friction is expected to contribute to the viscosity dependence of folding rates in larger proteins. PMID:24986114

  17. Toward an Outline of the Topography of a Realistic Protein-Folding Funnel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Onuchic, J. N.; Wolynes, P. G.; Luthey-Schulten, Z.; Socci, N. D.

    1995-04-01

    Experimental information on the structure and dynamics of molten globules gives estimates for the energy landscape's characteristics for folding highly helical proteins, when supplemented by a theory of the helix-coil transition in collapsed heteropolymers. A law of corresponding states relating simulations on small lattice models to real proteins possessing many more degrees of freedom results. This correspondence reveals parallels between "minimalist" lattice results and recent experimental results for the degree of native character of the folding transition state and molten globule and also pinpoints the needs of further experiments.

  18. Optimal protein-folding codes from spin-glass theory.

    PubMed Central

    Goldstein, R A; Luthey-Schulten, Z A; Wolynes, P G

    1992-01-01

    Protein-folding codes embodied in sequence-dependent energy functions can be optimized using spin-glass theory. Optimal folding codes for associative-memory Hamiltonians based on aligned sequences are deduced. A screening method based on these codes correctly recognizes protein structures in the "twilight zone" of sequence identity in the overwhelming majority of cases. Simulated annealing for the optimally encoded Hamiltonian generally leads to qualitatively correct structures. Images PMID:1594594

  19. Solitons and protein folding: An In Silico experiment

    SciTech Connect

    Ilieva, N.; Dai, J.; Sieradzan, A.; Niemi, A.

    2015-10-28

    Protein folding [1] is the process of formation of a functional 3D structure from a random coil — the shape in which amino-acid chains leave the ribosome. Anfinsen’s dogma states that the native 3D shape of a protein is completely determined by protein’s amino acid sequence. Despite the progress in understanding the process rate and the success in folding prediction for some small proteins, with presently available physics-based methods it is not yet possible to reliably deduce the shape of a biologically active protein from its amino acid sequence. The protein-folding problem endures as one of the most important unresolved problems in science; it addresses the origin of life itself. Furthermore, a wrong fold is a common cause for a protein to lose its function or even endanger the living organism. Soliton solutions of a generalized discrete non-linear Schrödinger equation (GDNLSE) obtained from the energy function in terms of bond and torsion angles κ and τ provide a constructive theoretical framework for describing protein folds and folding patterns [2]. Here we study the dynamics of this process by means of molecular-dynamics simulations. The soliton manifestation is the pattern helix–loop–helix in the secondary structure of the protein, which explains the importance of understanding loop formation in helical proteins. We performed in silico experiments for unfolding one subunit of the core structure of gp41 from the HIV envelope glycoprotein (PDB ID: 1AIK [3]) by molecular-dynamics simulations with the MD package GROMACS. We analyzed 80 ns trajectories, obtained with one united-atom and two different all-atom force fields, to justify the side-chain orientation quantification scheme adopted in the studies and to eliminate force-field based artifacts. Our results are compatible with the soliton model of protein folding and provide first insight into soliton-formation dynamics.

  20. Transient misfolding dominates multidomain protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borgia, Alessandro; Kemplen, Katherine R.; Borgia, Madeleine B.; Soranno, Andrea; Shammas, Sarah; Wunderlich, Bengt; Nettels, Daniel; Best, Robert B.; Clarke, Jane; Schuler, Benjamin

    2015-11-01

    Neighbouring domains of multidomain proteins with homologous tandem repeats have divergent sequences, probably as a result of evolutionary pressure to avoid misfolding and aggregation, particularly at the high cellular protein concentrations. Here we combine microfluidic-mixing single-molecule kinetics, ensemble experiments and molecular simulations to investigate how misfolding between the immunoglobulin-like domains of titin is prevented. Surprisingly, we find that during refolding of tandem repeats, independent of sequence identity, more than half of all molecules transiently form a wide range of misfolded conformations. Simulations suggest that a large fraction of these misfolds resemble an intramolecular amyloid-like state reported in computational studies. However, for naturally occurring neighbours with low sequence identity, these transient misfolds disappear much more rapidly than for identical neighbours. We thus propose that evolutionary sequence divergence between domains is required to suppress the population of long-lived, potentially harmful misfolded states, whereas large populations of transient misfolded states appear to be tolerated.

  1. Transient misfolding dominates multidomain protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Borgia, Alessandro; Kemplen, Katherine R.; Borgia, Madeleine B.; Soranno, Andrea; Shammas, Sarah; Wunderlich, Bengt; Nettels, Daniel; Best, Robert B.; Clarke, Jane; Schuler, Benjamin

    2015-01-01

    Neighbouring domains of multidomain proteins with homologous tandem repeats have divergent sequences, probably as a result of evolutionary pressure to avoid misfolding and aggregation, particularly at the high cellular protein concentrations. Here we combine microfluidic-mixing single-molecule kinetics, ensemble experiments and molecular simulations to investigate how misfolding between the immunoglobulin-like domains of titin is prevented. Surprisingly, we find that during refolding of tandem repeats, independent of sequence identity, more than half of all molecules transiently form a wide range of misfolded conformations. Simulations suggest that a large fraction of these misfolds resemble an intramolecular amyloid-like state reported in computational studies. However, for naturally occurring neighbours with low sequence identity, these transient misfolds disappear much more rapidly than for identical neighbours. We thus propose that evolutionary sequence divergence between domains is required to suppress the population of long-lived, potentially harmful misfolded states, whereas large populations of transient misfolded states appear to be tolerated. PMID:26572969

  2. Cooperativity in protein-folding kinetics.

    PubMed Central

    Dill, K A; Fiebig, K M; Chan, H S

    1993-01-01

    How does a protein find its native state without a globally exhaustive search? We propose the "HZ" (hydrophobic zipper) hypothesis: hydrophobic contacts act as constraints that bring other contacts into spatial proximity, which then further constrain and zip up the next contacts, etc. In contrast to helix-coil cooperativity, HZ-heteropolymer collapse cooperativity is driven by nonlocal interactions, causes sheet and irregular conformations in addition to helices, leads to secondary structures concurrently with early hydrophobic core formation, is much more sequence dependent than helix-coil processes, and involves compact intermediate states that have much secondary--but little tertiary--structure. Hydrophobic contacts in the 1992 Protein Data Bank have the type of "topological localness" predicted by the hypothesis. The HZ paths for amino acid sequences that mimic crambin and bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor are quickly found by computer; the best configurations thus reached have single hydrophobic cores that are within about 3 kcal/mol of the global minimum. This hypothesis shows how proteins could find globally optimal states without exhaustive search. Images Fig. 3 PMID:7680482

  3. Co- and Post-Translational Protein Folding in the ER.

    PubMed

    Ellgaard, Lars; McCaul, Nicholas; Chatsisvili, Anna; Braakman, Ineke

    2016-06-01

    The biophysical rules that govern folding of small, single-domain proteins in dilute solutions are now quite well understood. The mechanisms underlying co-translational folding of multidomain and membrane-spanning proteins in complex cellular environments are often less clear. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) produces a plethora of membrane and secretory proteins, which must fold and assemble correctly before ER exit - if these processes fail, misfolded species accumulate in the ER or are degraded. The ER differs from other cellular organelles in terms of the physicochemical environment and the variety of ER-specific protein modifications. Here, we review chaperone-assisted co- and post-translational folding and assembly in the ER and underline the influence of protein modifications on these processes. We emphasize how method development has helped advance the field by allowing researchers to monitor the progression of folding as it occurs inside living cells, while at the same time probing the intricate relationship between protein modifications during folding. PMID:26947578

  4. An overview of protein-folding techniques: issues and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Sikder, Abdur Rahman; Zomaya, Albert Y

    2005-01-01

    The importance of protein folding has been recognised for many years. Almost a half century ago, Linus Pauling discovered two quite simple, regular arrangements of amino acids--the alpha-helix and the beta-sheet that are found in almost every protein. In the early 1960s, Christian Anfinsen showed that the proteins actually "tie" themselves: If proteins become unfolded, they fold back into proper shape of their own accord; no shaper or folder is needed. The nature of the unfolded state plays a great role in understanding proteins. Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, mad cow disease, and many cancers are inherited emphysema. Recent discoveries show that all these apparently unrelated diseases result from protein folding gone wrong. Theoretical and computational studies have recently achieved noticeable success in reproducing various features of the folding mechanism of several small to medium-sized fast-folding proteins. This survey presents the state-of-the-art in protein structure prediction methods from a computer scientist perspective. PMID:18048125

  5. Folding and Stabilization of Native-Sequence-Reversed Proteins.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yuanzhao; Weber, Jeffrey K; Zhou, Ruhong

    2016-01-01

    Though the problem of sequence-reversed protein folding is largely unexplored, one might speculate that reversed native protein sequences should be significantly more foldable than purely random heteropolymer sequences. In this article, we investigate how the reverse-sequences of native proteins might fold by examining a series of small proteins of increasing structural complexity (α-helix, β-hairpin, α-helix bundle, and α/β-protein). Employing a tandem protein structure prediction algorithmic and molecular dynamics simulation approach, we find that the ability of reverse sequences to adopt native-like folds is strongly influenced by protein size and the flexibility of the native hydrophobic core. For β-hairpins with reverse-sequences that fail to fold, we employ a simple mutational strategy for guiding stable hairpin formation that involves the insertion of amino acids into the β-turn region. This systematic look at reverse sequence duality sheds new light on the problem of protein sequence-structure mapping and may serve to inspire new protein design and protein structure prediction protocols. PMID:27113844

  6. Folding and Stabilization of Native-Sequence-Reversed Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yuanzhao; Weber, Jeffrey K; Zhou, Ruhong

    2016-01-01

    Though the problem of sequence-reversed protein folding is largely unexplored, one might speculate that reversed native protein sequences should be significantly more foldable than purely random heteropolymer sequences. In this article, we investigate how the reverse-sequences of native proteins might fold by examining a series of small proteins of increasing structural complexity (α-helix, β-hairpin, α-helix bundle, and α/β-protein). Employing a tandem protein structure prediction algorithmic and molecular dynamics simulation approach, we find that the ability of reverse sequences to adopt native-like folds is strongly influenced by protein size and the flexibility of the native hydrophobic core. For β-hairpins with reverse-sequences that fail to fold, we employ a simple mutational strategy for guiding stable hairpin formation that involves the insertion of amino acids into the β-turn region. This systematic look at reverse sequence duality sheds new light on the problem of protein sequence-structure mapping and may serve to inspire new protein design and protein structure prediction protocols. PMID:27113844

  7. Wrinkle to fold transitions: Stress relaxation in lipid monolayers and other elastic thin films

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Ka Yee C.

    2009-03-01

    Surfactants at air/water interfaces are often subjected to mechanical stresses as the interfaces they occupy are reduced in area. The most well characterized forms of stress relaxation in these systems are first order phase transitions. However, once chemical phase transitions have been exhausted, the monolayer undergoes global mechanical relaxations termed collapse. We have previously demonstrated that for lung surfactants, a mixture of lipids and proteins that coats the alveoli to reduce the work of breathing, collapse manifests itself as protrusions of folds into the subphase. These folds remain attached to the monolayer and reversibly reincorporated upon expansion. By studying different types of monolayers, we have shown that this folding transition in monolayers is not limited to lung surfactant films, but rather represents a much more general type of stress relaxation mechanism. Our study indicates that collapse modes are found most closely linked to in-plane rigidity. We characterize the rigidity of the monolayer by analyzing in-plane morphology on numerous length scales. More rigid monolayers collapse out-of-plane via a hard elastic mode similar to an elastic membrane, with the folded state being the final collapse state, while softer monolayers relax in-plane by shearing. For the hard elastic mode of collapse, we have further demonstrated experimentally and theoretically that the folded state is preceded by a wrinkled state, and similar wrinkle to fold transitions has been observed in elastic thin films ranging from 2 nm to 10 μm in thickness of completely different chemical nature (lung surfactant lipid monolayers, gold nanoparticle trilayers, and polyester sheets).

  8. Assessment of optimized Markov models in protein fold classification.

    PubMed

    Lampros, Christos; Simos, Thomas; Exarchos, Themis P; Exarchos, Konstantinos P; Papaloukas, Costas; Fotiadis, Dimitrios I

    2014-08-01

    Protein fold classification is a challenging task strongly associated with the determination of proteins' structure. In this work, we tested an optimization strategy on a Markov chain and a recently introduced Hidden Markov Model (HMM) with reduced state-space topology. The proteins with unknown structure were scored against both these models. Then the derived scores were optimized following a local optimization method. The Protein Data Bank (PDB) and the annotation of the Structural Classification of Proteins (SCOP) database were used for the evaluation of the proposed methodology. The results demonstrated that the fold classification accuracy of the optimized HMM was substantially higher compared to that of the Markov chain or the reduced state-space HMM approaches. The proposed methodology achieved an accuracy of 41.4% on fold classification, while Sequence Alignment and Modeling (SAM), which was used for comparison, reached an accuracy of 38%. PMID:25152041

  9. [Protein Folding and Stability in the Presence of Osmolytes].

    PubMed

    Fonin, A V; Uversky, V N; Kuznetsova, I M; Turoverov, K K

    2016-01-01

    Osmolytes are molecules with the function among others to align hydrostatic pressure between intracellular and extracellular spaces. Accumulation of osmolytes occurs in the cell in response to stress caused by pressure change, change in temperature, pH, and concentration of inorganic salts. Osmolytes can prevent native proteins denaturation and promote folding of unfolding proteins. Investigation of the osmolytes effect on these processes is essential for understanding the mechanisms of folding and functioning of proteins in vivo. A score of works, devoted to the effect of osmolytes on proteins, are not always consistent with each other. In this review an attempt was made to systemize available array of data on the subject and consider the problem of folding and stability of proteins in solutions in the presence of osmolytes from the single viewpoint. PMID:27192822

  10. Topology and structural self-organization in folded proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lundgren, M.; Krokhotin, Andrey; Niemi, Antti J.

    2013-10-01

    Topological methods are indispensable in theoretical studies of particle physics, condensed matter physics, and gravity. These powerful techniques have also been applied to biological physics. For example, knowledge of DNA topology is pivotal to the understanding as to how living cells function. Here, the biophysical repertoire of topological methods is extended, with the aim to understand and characterize the global structure of a folded protein. For this, the elementary concept of winding number of a vector field on a plane is utilized to introduce a topological quantity called the folding index of a crystallographic protein. It is observed that in the case of high resolution protein crystals, the folding index, when evaluated over the entire length of the crystallized protein backbone, has a very clear and strong propensity towards integer values. The observation proposes that the way how a protein folds into its biologically active conformation is a structural self-organization process with a topological facet that relates to the concept of solitons. It is proposed that the folding index has a potential to become a useful tool for the global, topological characterization of the folding pathways.

  11. Improving protein fold recognition using the amalgamation of evolutionary-based and structural based information

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Deciphering three dimensional structure of a protein sequence is a challenging task in biological science. Protein fold recognition and protein secondary structure prediction are transitional steps in identifying the three dimensional structure of a protein. For protein fold recognition, evolutionary-based information of amino acid sequences from the position specific scoring matrix (PSSM) has been recently applied with improved results. On the other hand, the SPINE-X predictor has been developed and applied for protein secondary structure prediction. Several reported methods for protein fold recognition have only limited accuracy. In this paper, we have developed a strategy of combining evolutionary-based information (from PSSM) and predicted secondary structure using SPINE-X to improve protein fold recognition. The strategy is based on finding the probabilities of amino acid pairs (AAP). The proposed method has been tested on several protein benchmark datasets and an improvement of 8.9% recognition accuracy has been achieved. We have achieved, for the first time over 90% and 75% prediction accuracies for sequence similarity values below 40% and 25%, respectively. We also obtain 90.6% and 77.0% prediction accuracies, respectively, for the Extended Ding and Dubchak and Taguchi and Gromiha benchmark protein fold recognition datasets widely used for in the literature. PMID:25521502

  12. Reversible Folding of Lysozyme by a Quasi-static Process: A First-Order-Like State Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu-Cheng, Yeh; Po-Yen, Lin; Chia-Ching, Chang; Lou-Sing, Kan

    2004-03-01

    First-order-like state transition is a novel global reaction model of protein folding. In order to elucidate the general applicability of this mechanism, a stepwise thermal equilibrate dialysis process is used, and a model protein, lysozyme is selected. Within this study, four stable intermediates and renature lysozyme were obtained and their secondary structure, particle size distribution, thermal stability, and oxidation state of disulfide bonds were analyzed by circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, and Raman spectra, respectively. According to the experimental evidences in this study, not only first-order-like state transition model has been verified, both collapse and sequential models were observed and verified by an overcritical reaction folding process. We also found that the glassy state which obtained from directly folding process can convert into the molten globule state and this indicated the protein folding under difference reaction path may follow the same folding mechanism. Namely, the mechanism that is revealed by overcritical folding intermediates may represent the real mechanism of protein folding. The helix formed prior to the beta-sheet might indicate that the protein folding was initiated by local interactions.

  13. Cooperative folding kinetics of BBL protein and peripheral subunit-binding domain homologues

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Wookyung; Chung, Kwanghoon; Cheon, Mookyung; Heo, Muyoung; Han, Kyou-Hoon; Ham, Sihyun; Chang, Iksoo

    2008-01-01

    Recent experiments claiming that Naf-BBL protein follows a global downhill folding raised an important controversy as to the folding mechanism of fast-folding proteins. Under the global downhill folding scenario, not only do proteins undergo a gradual folding, but folding events along the continuous folding pathway also could be mapped out from the equilibrium denaturation experiment. Based on the exact calculation using a free energy landscape, relaxation eigenmodes from a master equation, and Monte Carlo simulation of an extended Muñoz–Eaton model that incorporates multiscale-heterogeneous pairwise interactions between amino acids, here we show that the very nature of a two-state cooperative transition such as a bimodal distribution from an exact free energy landscape and biphasic relaxation kinetics manifest in the thermodynamics and folding–unfolding kinetics of BBL and peripheral subunit-binding domain homologues. Our results provide an unequivocal resolution to the fundamental controversy related to the global downhill folding scheme, whose applicability to other proteins should be critically reexamined. PMID:18272497

  14. Novel protein folds and their nonsequential structural analogs

    PubMed Central

    Guerler, Aysam; Knapp, Ernst-Walter

    2008-01-01

    Newly determined protein structures are classified to belong to a new fold, if the structures are sufficiently dissimilar from all other so far known protein structures. To analyze structural similarities of proteins, structure alignment tools are used. We demonstrate that the usage of nonsequential structure alignment tools, which neglect the polypeptide chain connectivity, can yield structure alignments with significant similarities between proteins of known three-dimensional structure and newly determined protein structures that possess a new fold. The recently introduced protein structure alignment tool, GANGSTA, is specialized to perform nonsequential alignments with proper assignment of the secondary structure types by focusing on helices and strands only. In the new version, GANGSTA+, the underlying algorithms were completely redesigned, yielding enhanced quality of structure alignments, offering alignment against a larger database of protein structures, and being more efficient. We applied DaliLite, TM-align, and GANGSTA+ on three protein crystal structures considered to be novel folds. Applying GANGSTA+ to these novel folds, we find proteins in the ASTRAL40 database, which possess significant structural similarities, albeit the alignments are nonsequential and in some cases involve secondary structure elements aligned in reverse orientation. A web server is available at http://agknapp.chemie.fu-berlin.de/gplus for pairwise alignment, visualization, and database comparison. PMID:18583523

  15. Simple Model Study of Phase Transition Properties of Isolated and Aggregated Protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ji, Yong-Yun; Yi, Wei-Qi; Zhang, Lin-Xi

    2011-03-01

    We investigate the phase transition properties of isolated and aggregated protein by exhaustive numerical study in the confined conformation space with maximally compact lattice model. The study within the confined conformation space shows some general folding properties. Various sequences show different folding properties: two-state folding, three-state folding and prion-like folding behavior. We find that the aggregated protein holds a more evident transition than isolated one and the transition temperature is generally lower than that in isolated case.

  16. Learning To Fold Proteins Using Energy Landscape Theory

    PubMed Central

    Schafer, N.P.; Kim, B.L.; Zheng, W.; Wolynes, P.G.

    2014-01-01

    This review is a tutorial for scientists interested in the problem of protein structure prediction, particularly those interested in using coarse-grained molecular dynamics models that are optimized using lessons learned from the energy landscape theory of protein folding. We also present a review of the results of the AMH/AMC/AMW/AWSEM family of coarse-grained molecular dynamics protein folding models to illustrate the points covered in the first part of the article. Accurate coarse-grained structure prediction models can be used to investigate a wide range of conceptual and mechanistic issues outside of protein structure prediction; specifically, the paper concludes by reviewing how AWSEM has in recent years been able to elucidate questions related to the unusual kinetic behavior of artificially designed proteins, multidomain protein misfolding, and the initial stages of protein aggregation. PMID:25308991

  17. Enhanced protein fold recognition using a structural alphabet.

    PubMed

    Deschavanne, Patrick; Tufféry, Pierre

    2009-07-01

    Fold recognition from sequence can be an important step in protein structure and function prediction. Many methods have tackled this goal. Most of them, based on sequence alignment, fail for sequences of low similarity. Alignment-free approaches can provide an efficient alternative. For such approaches, the identification of efficient fold discriminatory features is critical. We propose a new fold recognition approach that relies on the encoding of the local structure of proteins using a Hidden Markov Model Structural Alphabet. This encoding provides a 1D description of the conformation of complete proteins structures, including loops. At the fold level, compared with the classical secondary structure helix, strand, and coil states, such encoding is expected to provide the means of a better discrimination between loop conformations, hence providing better fold identification. Compared with previous related approaches, this supplement of information results in significant improvement. When combining this information with supplementary information of secondary structure and residue burial, we obtain a fold recognition accuracy of 78% for 27 protein families, that is, 8% higher than the best available method so far, and of 68% for 60 families. Corresponding scores at the class level are of 92% and 90% indicating that mispredictions are mostly within structural classes. PMID:19089985

  18. Probing the protein-folding mechanism using denaturant and temperature effects on rate constants

    PubMed Central

    Guinn, Emily J.; Kontur, Wayne S.; Tsodikov, Oleg V.; Shkel, Irina; Record, M. Thomas

    2013-01-01

    Protein folding has been extensively studied, but many questions remain regarding the mechanism. Characterizing early unstable intermediates and the high–free-energy transition state (TS) will help answer some of these. Here, we use effects of denaturants (urea, guanidinium chloride) and temperature on folding and unfolding rate constants and the overall equilibrium constant as probes of surface area changes in protein folding. We interpret denaturant kinetic m-values and activation heat capacity changes for 13 proteins to determine amounts of hydrocarbon and amide surface buried in folding to and from TS, and for complete folding. Predicted accessible surface area changes for complete folding agree in most cases with structurally determined values. We find that TS is advanced (50–90% of overall surface burial) and that the surface buried is disproportionately amide, demonstrating extensive formation of secondary structure in early intermediates. Models of possible pre-TS intermediates with all elements of the native secondary structure, created for several of these proteins, bury less amide and hydrocarbon surface than predicted for TS. Therefore, we propose that TS generally has both the native secondary structure and sufficient organization of other regions of the backbone to nucleate subsequent (post-TS) formation of tertiary interactions. The approach developed here provides proof of concept for the use of denaturants and other solutes as probes of amount and composition of the surface buried in coupled folding and other large conformational changes in TS and intermediates in protein processes. PMID:24043778

  19. Protein Folding in the Cytoplasm and the Heat Shock Response

    PubMed Central

    Vabulas, R. Martin; Raychaudhuri, Swasti; Hayer-Hartl, Manajit; Hartl, F. Ulrich

    2010-01-01

    Proteins generally must fold into precise three-dimensional conformations to fulfill their biological functions. In the cell, this fundamental process is aided by molecular chaperones, which act in preventing protein misfolding and aggregation. How this machinery assists newly synthesized polypeptide chains in navigating the complex folding energy landscape is now being understood in considerable detail. The mechanisms that ensure the maintenance of a functional proteome under normal and stress conditions are also of great medical relevance, as the aggregation of proteins that escape the cellular quality control underlies a range of debilitating diseases, including many age-of-onset neurodegenerative disorders. PMID:21123396

  20. Accurate prediction of cellular co-translational folding indicates proteins can switch from post- to co-translational folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nissley, Daniel A.; Sharma, Ajeet K.; Ahmed, Nabeel; Friedrich, Ulrike A.; Kramer, Günter; Bukau, Bernd; O'Brien, Edward P.

    2016-02-01

    The rates at which domains fold and codons are translated are important factors in determining whether a nascent protein will co-translationally fold and function or misfold and malfunction. Here we develop a chemical kinetic model that calculates a protein domain's co-translational folding curve during synthesis using only the domain's bulk folding and unfolding rates and codon translation rates. We show that this model accurately predicts the course of co-translational folding measured in vivo for four different protein molecules. We then make predictions for a number of different proteins in yeast and find that synonymous codon substitutions, which change translation-elongation rates, can switch some protein domains from folding post-translationally to folding co-translationally--a result consistent with previous experimental studies. Our approach explains essential features of co-translational folding curves and predicts how varying the translation rate at different codon positions along a transcript's coding sequence affects this self-assembly process.

  1. The earliest events in protein folding: Helix dynamics in proteins and model peptides

    SciTech Connect

    Dyer, R.B.; Williams, S.; Woodruff, W.H.

    1996-12-31

    The earliest events in protein folding are critically important in determining the folding pathway, but have proved difficult to study by conventional approaches. We have developed new rapid initiation methods and structure-specific probes to interrogate the earliest events of protein folding. Our focus is the pathways. Folding or unfolding reactions are initiated on a fast timescale (10 ns) using a laser induced temperature jump (15 C) and probed with time-resolved infrared spectroscopy. We obtained the kinetics of the helix-coil transition for a model 21-residue peptide. The observed rate constant k{sub obs} = k{sub f} + k{sub u} for reversible kinetics; from the observed rate (6 x 10{sup 6} s{sup -1}) and the equilibrium constant favoring folding of 7.5 at 27 C, we calculate a folding lifetime of 180 ns and an unfolding lifetime of 1.4 {mu}s. The {open_quotes}molten globule{close_quotes} form of apomyoglobin (horse, pH*3, 0.15M NaCl) shows similar kinetics for helix that is unconstrained by tertiary structure (helix with an unusually low Amide I frequency, near 1633 cm{sup -1}). In {open_quotes}native{close_quotes} apomyoglobin (horse, pH*5.3, 10 mM NaCl) two very different rates (45 ns and 70 {mu}s) are observed and we infer that a third occurs on a timescales inaccessible to our experiment (> 1 ms). We suggest that the slower processes are due to helix formation that is rate-limited by the formation of tertiary structure.

  2. Translational diffusion of hydration water correlates with functional motions in folded and intrinsically disordered proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schirò, Giorgio; Fichou, Yann; Gallat, Francois-Xavier; Wood, Kathleen; Gabel, Frank; Moulin, Martine; Härtlein, Michael; Heyden, Matthias; Colletier, Jacques-Philippe; Orecchini, Andrea; Paciaroni, Alessandro; Wuttke, Joachim; Tobias, Douglas J.; Weik, Martin

    2015-03-01

    Hydration water is the natural matrix of biological macromolecules and is essential for their activity in cells. The coupling between water and protein dynamics has been intensively studied, yet it remains controversial. Here we combine protein perdeuteration, neutron scattering and molecular dynamics simulations to explore the nature of hydration water motions at temperatures between 200 and 300 K, across the so-called protein dynamical transition, in the intrinsically disordered human protein tau and the globular maltose binding protein. Quasi-elastic broadening is fitted with a model of translating, rotating and immobile water molecules. In both experiment and simulation, the translational component markedly increases at the protein dynamical transition (around 240 K), regardless of whether the protein is intrinsically disordered or folded. Thus, we generalize the notion that the translational diffusion of water molecules on a protein surface promotes the large-amplitude motions of proteins that are required for their biological activity.

  3. Translational diffusion of hydration water correlates with functional motions in folded and intrinsically disordered proteins

    PubMed Central

    Schirò, Giorgio; Fichou, Yann; Gallat, Francois-Xavier; Wood, Kathleen; Gabel, Frank; Moulin, Martine; Härtlein, Michael; Heyden, Matthias; Colletier, Jacques-Philippe; Orecchini, Andrea; Paciaroni, Alessandro; Wuttke, Joachim; Tobias, Douglas J.; Weik, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Hydration water is the natural matrix of biological macromolecules and is essential for their activity in cells. The coupling between water and protein dynamics has been intensively studied, yet it remains controversial. Here we combine protein perdeuteration, neutron scattering and molecular dynamics simulations to explore the nature of hydration water motions at temperatures between 200 and 300 K, across the so-called protein dynamical transition, in the intrinsically disordered human protein tau and the globular maltose binding protein. Quasi-elastic broadening is fitted with a model of translating, rotating and immobile water molecules. In both experiment and simulation, the translational component markedly increases at the protein dynamical transition (around 240 K), regardless of whether the protein is intrinsically disordered or folded. Thus, we generalize the notion that the translational diffusion of water molecules on a protein surface promotes the large-amplitude motions of proteins that are required for their biological activity. PMID:25774711

  4. Folding of a large protein at high structural resolution.

    PubMed

    Walters, Benjamin T; Mayne, Leland; Hinshaw, James R; Sosnick, Tobin R; Englander, S Walter

    2013-11-19

    Kinetic folding of the large two-domain maltose binding protein (MBP; 370 residues) was studied at high structural resolution by an advanced hydrogen-exchange pulse-labeling mass-spectrometry method (HX MS). Dilution into folding conditions initiates a fast molecular collapse into a polyglobular conformation (<20 ms), determined by various methods including small angle X-ray scattering. The compaction produces a structurally heterogeneous state with widespread low-level HX protection and spectroscopic signals that match the equilibrium melting posttransition-state baseline. In a much slower step (7-s time constant), all of the MBP molecules, although initially heterogeneously structured, form the same distinct helix plus sheet folding intermediate with the same time constant. The intermediate is composed of segments that are distant in the MBP sequence but adjacent in the native protein where they close the longest residue-to-residue contact. Segments that are most HX protected in the early molecular collapse do not contribute to the initial intermediate, whereas the segments that do participate are among the less protected. The 7-s intermediate persists through the rest of the folding process. It contains the sites of three previously reported destabilizing mutations that greatly slow folding. These results indicate that the intermediate is an obligatory step on the MBP folding pathway. MBP then folds to the native state on a longer time scale (~100 s), suggestively in more than one step, the first of which forms structure adjacent to the 7-s intermediate. These results add a large protein to the list of proteins known to fold through distinct native-like intermediates in distinct pathways. PMID:24191053

  5. Folding of a large protein at high structural resolution

    PubMed Central

    Walters, Benjamin T.; Mayne, Leland; Hinshaw, James R.; Sosnick, Tobin R.; Englander, S. Walter

    2013-01-01

    Kinetic folding of the large two-domain maltose binding protein (MBP; 370 residues) was studied at high structural resolution by an advanced hydrogen-exchange pulse-labeling mass-spectrometry method (HX MS). Dilution into folding conditions initiates a fast molecular collapse into a polyglobular conformation (<20 ms), determined by various methods including small angle X-ray scattering. The compaction produces a structurally heterogeneous state with widespread low-level HX protection and spectroscopic signals that match the equilibrium melting posttransition-state baseline. In a much slower step (7-s time constant), all of the MBP molecules, although initially heterogeneously structured, form the same distinct helix plus sheet folding intermediate with the same time constant. The intermediate is composed of segments that are distant in the MBP sequence but adjacent in the native protein where they close the longest residue-to-residue contact. Segments that are most HX protected in the early molecular collapse do not contribute to the initial intermediate, whereas the segments that do participate are among the less protected. The 7-s intermediate persists through the rest of the folding process. It contains the sites of three previously reported destabilizing mutations that greatly slow folding. These results indicate that the intermediate is an obligatory step on the MBP folding pathway. MBP then folds to the native state on a longer time scale (∼100 s), suggestively in more than one step, the first of which forms structure adjacent to the 7-s intermediate. These results add a large protein to the list of proteins known to fold through distinct native-like intermediates in distinct pathways. PMID:24191053

  6. Constructing a folding model for protein S6 guided by native fluctuations deduced from NMR structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lammert, Heiko; Noel, Jeffrey K.; Haglund, Ellinor; Schug, Alexander; Onuchic, José N.

    2015-12-01

    The diversity in a set of protein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structures provides an estimate of native state fluctuations that can be used to refine and enrich structure-based protein models (SBMs). Dynamics are an essential part of a protein's functional native state. The dynamics in the native state are controlled by the same funneled energy landscape that guides the entire folding process. SBMs apply the principle of minimal frustration, drawn from energy landscape theory, to construct a funneled folding landscape for a given protein using only information from the native structure. On an energy landscape smoothed by evolution towards minimal frustration, geometrical constraints, imposed by the native structure, control the folding mechanism and shape the native dynamics revealed by the model. Native-state fluctuations can alternatively be estimated directly from the diversity in the set of NMR structures for a protein. Based on this information, we identify a highly flexible loop in the ribosomal protein S6 and modify the contact map in a SBM to accommodate the inferred dynamics. By taking into account the probable native state dynamics, the experimental transition state is recovered in the model, and the correct order of folding events is restored. Our study highlights how the shared energy landscape connects folding and function by showing that a better description of the native basin improves the prediction of the folding mechanism.

  7. Constructing a folding model for protein S6 guided by native fluctuations deduced from NMR structures.

    PubMed

    Lammert, Heiko; Noel, Jeffrey K; Haglund, Ellinor; Schug, Alexander; Onuchic, José N

    2015-12-28

    The diversity in a set of protein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structures provides an estimate of native state fluctuations that can be used to refine and enrich structure-based protein models (SBMs). Dynamics are an essential part of a protein's functional native state. The dynamics in the native state are controlled by the same funneled energy landscape that guides the entire folding process. SBMs apply the principle of minimal frustration, drawn from energy landscape theory, to construct a funneled folding landscape for a given protein using only information from the native structure. On an energy landscape smoothed by evolution towards minimal frustration, geometrical constraints, imposed by the native structure, control the folding mechanism and shape the native dynamics revealed by the model. Native-state fluctuations can alternatively be estimated directly from the diversity in the set of NMR structures for a protein. Based on this information, we identify a highly flexible loop in the ribosomal protein S6 and modify the contact map in a SBM to accommodate the inferred dynamics. By taking into account the probable native state dynamics, the experimental transition state is recovered in the model, and the correct order of folding events is restored. Our study highlights how the shared energy landscape connects folding and function by showing that a better description of the native basin improves the prediction of the folding mechanism. PMID:26723626

  8. A deterministic algorithm for constrained enumeration of transmembrane protein folds.

    SciTech Connect

    Brown, William Michael; Young, Malin M.; Sale, Kenneth L.; Faulon, Jean-Loup Michel; Schoeniger, Joseph S.

    2004-07-01

    A deterministic algorithm for enumeration of transmembrane protein folds is presented. Using a set of sparse pairwise atomic distance constraints (such as those obtained from chemical cross-linking, FRET, or dipolar EPR experiments), the algorithm performs an exhaustive search of secondary structure element packing conformations distributed throughout the entire conformational space. The end result is a set of distinct protein conformations, which can be scored and refined as part of a process designed for computational elucidation of transmembrane protein structures.

  9. Probing the physical determinants of thermal expansion of folded proteins.

    PubMed

    Dellarole, Mariano; Kobayashi, Kei; Rouget, Jean-Baptiste; Caro, José Alfredo; Roche, Julien; Islam, Mohammad M; Garcia-Moreno E, Bertrand; Kuroda, Yutaka; Royer, Catherine A

    2013-10-24

    The magnitude and sign of the volume change upon protein unfolding are strongly dependent on temperature. This temperature dependence reflects differences in the thermal expansivity of the folded and unfolded states. The factors that determine protein molar expansivities and the large differences in thermal expansivity for proteins of similar molar volume are not well understood. Model compound studies have suggested that a major contribution is made by differences in the molar volume of water molecules as they transfer from the protein surface to the bulk upon heating. The expansion of internal solvent-excluded voids upon heating is another possible contributing factor. Here, the contribution from hydration density to the molar thermal expansivity of a protein was examined by comparing bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and variants with alanine substitutions at or near the protein-water interface. Variants of two of these proteins with an additional mutation that unfolded them under native conditions were also examined. A modest decrease in thermal expansivity was observed in both the folded and unfolded states for the alanine variants compared with the parent protein, revealing that large changes can be made to the external polarity of a protein without causing large ensuing changes in thermal expansivity. This modest effect is not surprising, given the small molar volume of the alanine residue. Contributions of the expansion of the internal void volume were probed by measuring the thermal expansion for cavity-containing variants of a highly stable form of staphylococcal nuclease. Significantly larger (2-3-fold) molar expansivities were found for these cavity-containing proteins relative to the reference protein. Taken together, these results suggest that a key determinant of the thermal expansivities of folded proteins lies in the expansion of internal solvent-excluded voids. PMID:23646824

  10. Protein Folding Mechanism of the Dimeric AmphiphysinII/Bin1 N-BAR Domain

    PubMed Central

    Gruber, Tobias; Balbach, Jochen

    2015-01-01

    The human AmphyphisinII/Bin1 N-BAR domain belongs to the BAR domain superfamily, whose members sense and generate membrane curvatures. The N-BAR domain is a 57 kDa homodimeric protein comprising a six helix bundle. Here we report the protein folding mechanism of this protein as a representative of this protein superfamily. The concentration dependent thermodynamic stability was studied by urea equilibrium transition curves followed by fluorescence and far-UV CD spectroscopy. Kinetic unfolding and refolding experiments, including rapid double and triple mixing techniques, allowed to unravel the complex folding behavior of N-BAR. The equilibrium unfolding transition curve can be described by a two-state process, while the folding kinetics show four refolding phases, an additional burst reaction and two unfolding phases. All fast refolding phases show a rollover in the chevron plot but only one of these phases depends on the protein concentration reporting the dimerization step. Secondary structure formation occurs during the three fast refolding phases. The slowest phase can be assigned to a proline isomerization. All kinetic experiments were also followed by fluorescence anisotropy detection to verify the assignment of the dimerization step to the respective folding phase. Based on these experiments we propose for N-BAR two parallel folding pathways towards the homodimeric native state depending on the proline conformation in the unfolded state. PMID:26368922

  11. Peptide folding in the presence of interacting protein crowders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bille, Anna; Mohanty, Sandipan; Irbäck, Anders

    2016-05-01

    Using Monte Carlo methods, we explore and compare the effects of two protein crowders, BPTI and GB1, on the folding thermodynamics of two peptides, the compact helical trp-cage and the β-hairpin-forming GB1m3. The thermally highly stable crowder proteins are modeled using a fixed backbone and rotatable side-chains, whereas the peptides are free to fold and unfold. In the simulations, the crowder proteins tend to distort the trp-cage fold, while having a stabilizing effect on GB1m3. The extent of the effects on a given peptide depends on the crowder type. Due to a sticky patch on its surface, BPTI causes larger changes than GB1 in the melting properties of the peptides. The observed effects on the peptides stem largely from attractive and specific interactions with the crowder surfaces, and differ from those seen in reference simulations with purely steric crowder particles.

  12. Peptide folding in the presence of interacting protein crowders.

    PubMed

    Bille, Anna; Mohanty, Sandipan; Irbäck, Anders

    2016-05-01

    Using Monte Carlo methods, we explore and compare the effects of two protein crowders, BPTI and GB1, on the folding thermodynamics of two peptides, the compact helical trp-cage and the β-hairpin-forming GB1m3. The thermally highly stable crowder proteins are modeled using a fixed backbone and rotatable side-chains, whereas the peptides are free to fold and unfold. In the simulations, the crowder proteins tend to distort the trp-cage fold, while having a stabilizing effect on GB1m3. The extent of the effects on a given peptide depends on the crowder type. Due to a sticky patch on its surface, BPTI causes larger changes than GB1 in the melting properties of the peptides. The observed effects on the peptides stem largely from attractive and specific interactions with the crowder surfaces, and differ from those seen in reference simulations with purely steric crowder particles. PMID:27155657

  13. Robustness of downhill folding: guidelines for the analysis of equilibrium folding experiments on small proteins.

    PubMed

    Naganathan, Athi N; Perez-Jimenez, Raúl; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose M; Muñoz, Victor

    2005-05-24

    Previously, we identified the protein BBL as a downhill folder. This conclusion was based on the statistical mechanical analysis of equilibrium experiments performed in two variants of BBL, one with a fluorescent label at the N-terminus, and another one labeled at both ends. A recent report has claimed that our results are an artifact of label-induced aggregation and that BBL with no fluorescent labels and a longer N-terminal tail folds in a two-state fashion. Here, we show that singly and doubly labeled BBL do not aggregate, unfold reversibly, and have the same thermodynamic properties when studied under appropriate experimental conditions (e.g., our original conditions (1)). With an elementary analysis of the available data on the nonlabeled BBL (2), we also show that this slightly more stable BBL variant is not a two-state folder. We discuss the problems that led to its previous misclassification and how they can be avoided. Finally, we investigate the equilibrium unfolding of the singly labeled BBL with both ends protected by acetylation and amidation. This variant has the same thermodynamic stability of the nonlabeled BBL and displays all the equilibrium signatures of downhill folding. From all these observations, we conclude that fluorescent labels do not perturb the thermodynamic properties of BBL, which consistently folds downhill regardless of its stability and specific protein tails. The work on BBL illustrates the shortcomings of applying conventional procedures intended to distinguish between two-state and three-state folding models to small fast-folding proteins. PMID:15895987

  14. Mechanisms of integral membrane protein insertion and folding

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    The biogenesis, folding, and structure of α-helical membrane proteins (MPs) are important to understand because they underlie virtually all physiological processes in cells including key metabolic pathways, such as the respiratory chain and the photosystems, and the transport of solutes and signals across membranes. Nearly all MPs require translocons—often referred to as protein-conducting channels—for proper insertion into their target membrane. Remarkable progress toward understanding the structure and functioning of translocons has been made during the past decade. Here we review and assess this progress critically. All available evidence indicates that MPs are equilibrium structures that achieve their final structural states by folding along thermodynamically controlled pathways. The main challenge for cells is the targeting and membrane insertion of highly hydrophobic amino acid sequences. Targeting and insertion are managed in cells principally by interactions between ribosomes and membrane-embedded translocons. Our review examines the biophysical and biological boundaries of membrane protein insertion and the folding of polytopic membrane proteins in vivo. A theme of the review is the under-appreciated role of basic thermodynamic principles in MP folding and assembly. Thermodynamics not only dictates the final folded structure, it is the driving force for the evolution of the ribosome-translocon system of assembly. We conclude the review with a perspective suggesting a new view of translocon-guided MP insertion. PMID:25277655

  15. The primary dynamics in protein folding: the earliest kinetic steps.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callender, Robert

    1996-03-01

    A novel laser-induced temperature jump (T-jump) of 20 C or more is used to initiate the unfolding process of peptides and proteins on the picosecond time scale, and amide I time-resolved infrared absorbance transients are used to characterize the resulting kinetics. We have used this method to study the kinetics of folding and unfolding of a small 21 residue alanine based peptide and molten globule and native states of apomyoglobin, models for the helix which is an basic motif found in proteins. An essential result of our study is that the folding kinetics of a short length of peptide can occur within a few tens of nanoseconds which is much shorter than the time scale of the formation of intramolecular tertiary contacts from one point of a polypeptide chain to another. Furthermore, we observed that helices stabilized by tertiary contact formation unfold slower than helices surrounded by solvent by three orders of magnitude. These results bear directly on the protein folding problem, that is how do proteins fold from a large number of heterogeneous unfolded states to find the specific biologically active folded state on biologically relevent time scales, by suggesting that secondary structure forms first followed by tertiary structure. This work is a collaborative effort with R. GILMANSHIN at City College and S. WILLIAMS, R. B. DYER, and W. H. WOODRUFF at CST-4, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545.

  16. Globular Protein Folding In Vitro and In Vivo.

    PubMed

    Gruebele, Martin; Dave, Kapil; Sukenik, Shahar

    2016-07-01

    In vitro, computational, and theoretical studies of protein folding have converged to paint a rich and complex energy landscape. This landscape is sensitively modulated by environmental conditions and subject to evolutionary pressure on protein function. Of these environments, none is more complex than the cell itself, where proteins function in the cytosol, in membranes, and in different compartments. A wide variety of kinetic and thermodynamics experiments, ranging from single-molecule studies to jump kinetics and from nuclear magnetic resonance to imaging on the microscope, have elucidated how protein energy landscapes facilitate folding and how they are subject to evolutionary constraints and environmental perturbation. Here we review some recent developments in the field and refer the reader to some original work and additional reviews that cover this broad topic in protein science. PMID:27391927

  17. Electrostatic Interactions in the Denatured State Ensemble: Their Effect Upon Protein Folding and Protein Stability

    PubMed Central

    Sato, Satoshi; Horng, Jia-Cherng; Anil, Burcu

    2009-01-01

    It is now recognized that the denatured state ensemble (DSE) of proteins can contain significant amounts of structure, particularly under native conditions. Well-studied examples include small units of hydrogen bonded secondary structure, particularly helices or turns as well hydrophobic clusters. Other types of interactions are less well characterized and it has often been assumed that electrostatic interactions play at most a minor role in the DSE. However, recent studies have shown that both favorable and unfavorable electrostatic interactions can be formed in the DSE. These can include surprisingly specific non-native interactions that can even persist in the transition state for protein folding. DSE electrostatic interactions can be energetically significant and their modulation either by mutation or by varying solution conditions can have a major impact upon protein stability. pH dependent stability studies have shown that electrostatic interactions can contribute up to 4 kcal mol−1 to the stability of the DSE. PMID:17900519

  18. Interferences of Silica Nanoparticles in Green Fluorescent Protein Folding Processes.

    PubMed

    Klein, Géraldine; Devineau, Stéphanie; Aude, Jean Christophe; Boulard, Yves; Pasquier, Hélène; Labarre, Jean; Pin, Serge; Renault, Jean Philippe

    2016-01-12

    We investigated the relationship between unfolded proteins, silica nanoparticles and chaperonin to determine whether unfolded proteins could stick to silica surfaces and how this process could impair heat shock protein activity. The HSP60 catalyzed green fluorescent protein (GFP) folding was used as a model system. The adsorption isotherms and adsorption kinetics of denatured GFP were measured, showing that denaturation increases GFP affinity for silica surfaces. This affinity is maintained even if the surfaces are covered by a protein corona and allows silica NPs to interfere directly with GFP folding by trapping it in its unstructured state. We determined also the adsorption isotherms of HSP60 and its chaperonin activity once adsorbed, showing that SiO2 NP can interfere also indirectly with protein folding through chaperonin trapping and inhibition. This inhibition is specifically efficient when NPs are covered first with a layer of unfolded proteins. These results highlight for the first time the antichaperonin activity of silica NPs and ask new questions about the toxicity of such misfolded proteins/nanoparticles assembly toward cells. PMID:26649773

  19. Statistical mechanics of a correlated energy landscape model for protein folding funnels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Plotkin, Steven S.; Wang, Jin; Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-02-01

    In heteropolymers, energetic correlations exist due to polymeric constraints and the locality of interactions. Pair correlations in conjunction with the a priori specification of the existence of a particularly low energy state provide a method of introducing the aspect of minimal frustration to the energy landscapes of random heteropolymers. The resulting funneled landscape exhibits both a phase transition from a molten globule to a folded state, and the heteropolymeric glass transition in the globular state. We model the folding transition in the self-averaging regime, which together with a simple theory of collapse allows us to depict folding as a double-well free energy surface in terms of suitable reaction coordinates. Observed trends in barrier positions and heights with protein sequence length and thermodynamic conditions are discussed within the context of the model. We also discuss the new physics which arises from the introduction of explicitly cooperative many-body interactions, as might arise from sidechain packing and nonadditive hydrophobic forces.

  20. Relationship between chain collapse and secondary structure formation in a partially folded protein.

    PubMed

    Nakagawa, Kanako; Yamada, Yoshiteru; Matsumura, Yoshitaka; Tsukamoto, Seiichi; Yamamoto-Ohtomo, Mio; Ohtomo, Hideaki; Okabe, Takahiro; Fujiwara, Kazuo; Ikeguchi, Masamichi

    2014-06-01

    Chain collapse and secondary structure formation are frequently observed during the early stages of protein folding. Is the chain collapse brought about by interactions between secondary structure units or is it due to polymer behavior in a poor solvent (coil-globule transition)? To answer this question, we measured small-angle X-ray scattering for a series of β-lactoglobulin mutants under conditions in which they assume a partially folded state analogous to the folding intermediates. Mutants that were designed to disrupt the secondary structure units showed the gyration radii similar to that of the wild type protein, indicating that chain collapse is due to coil-globule transitions. PMID:25100622

  1. Constructing a folding model for protein S6 guided by native fluctuations deduced from NMR structures

    SciTech Connect

    Lammert, Heiko; Noel, Jeffrey K.; Haglund, Ellinor; Onuchic, José N.; Schug, Alexander

    2015-12-28

    The diversity in a set of protein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structures provides an estimate of native state fluctuations that can be used to refine and enrich structure-based protein models (SBMs). Dynamics are an essential part of a protein’s functional native state. The dynamics in the native state are controlled by the same funneled energy landscape that guides the entire folding process. SBMs apply the principle of minimal frustration, drawn from energy landscape theory, to construct a funneled folding landscape for a given protein using only information from the native structure. On an energy landscape smoothed by evolution towards minimal frustration, geometrical constraints, imposed by the native structure, control the folding mechanism and shape the native dynamics revealed by the model. Native-state fluctuations can alternatively be estimated directly from the diversity in the set of NMR structures for a protein. Based on this information, we identify a highly flexible loop in the ribosomal protein S6 and modify the contact map in a SBM to accommodate the inferred dynamics. By taking into account the probable native state dynamics, the experimental transition state is recovered in the model, and the correct order of folding events is restored. Our study highlights how the shared energy landscape connects folding and function by showing that a better description of the native basin improves the prediction of the folding mechanism.

  2. Periodic and stochastic thermal modulation of protein folding kinetics.

    PubMed

    Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-07-21

    Chemical reactions are usually observed either by relaxation of a bulk sample after applying a sudden external perturbation, or by intrinsic fluctuations of a few molecules. Here we show that the two ideas can be combined to measure protein folding kinetics, either by periodic thermal modulation, or by creating artificial thermal noise that greatly exceeds natural thermal fluctuations. We study the folding reaction of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase driven by periodic temperature waveforms. As the temperature waveform unfolds and refolds the protein, its fluorescence color changes due to FRET (Förster resonant Energy Transfer) of two donor/acceptor fluorophores labeling the protein. We adapt a simple model of periodically driven kinetics that nicely fits the data at all temperatures and driving frequencies: The phase shifts of the periodic donor and acceptor fluorescence signals as a function of driving frequency reveal reaction rates. We also drive the reaction with stochastic temperature waveforms that produce thermal fluctuations much greater than natural fluctuations in the bulk. Such artificial thermal noise allows the recovery of weak underlying signals due to protein folding kinetics. This opens up the possibility for future detection of a stochastic resonance for protein folding subject to noise with controllable amplitude. PMID:25053342

  3. Periodic and stochastic thermal modulation of protein folding kinetics

    PubMed Central

    Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-01-01

    Chemical reactions are usually observed either by relaxation of a bulk sample after applying a sudden external perturbation, or by intrinsic fluctuations of a few molecules. Here we show that the two ideas can be combined to measure protein folding kinetics, either by periodic thermal modulation, or by creating artificial thermal noise that greatly exceeds natural thermal fluctuations. We study the folding reaction of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase driven by periodic temperature waveforms. As the temperature waveform unfolds and refolds the protein, its fluorescence color changes due to FRET (Förster resonant Energy Transfer) of two donor/acceptor fluorophores labeling the protein. We adapt a simple model of periodically driven kinetics that nicely fits the data at all temperatures and driving frequencies: The phase shifts of the periodic donor and acceptor fluorescence signals as a function of driving frequency reveal reaction rates. We also drive the reaction with stochastic temperature waveforms that produce thermal fluctuations much greater than natural fluctuations in the bulk. Such artificial thermal noise allows the recovery of weak underlying signals due to protein folding kinetics. This opens up the possibility for future detection of a stochastic resonance for protein folding subject to noise with controllable amplitude. PMID:25053342

  4. Periodic and stochastic thermal modulation of protein folding kinetics

    SciTech Connect

    Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-07-21

    Chemical reactions are usually observed either by relaxation of a bulk sample after applying a sudden external perturbation, or by intrinsic fluctuations of a few molecules. Here we show that the two ideas can be combined to measure protein folding kinetics, either by periodic thermal modulation, or by creating artificial thermal noise that greatly exceeds natural thermal fluctuations. We study the folding reaction of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase driven by periodic temperature waveforms. As the temperature waveform unfolds and refolds the protein, its fluorescence color changes due to FRET (Förster resonant Energy Transfer) of two donor/acceptor fluorophores labeling the protein. We adapt a simple model of periodically driven kinetics that nicely fits the data at all temperatures and driving frequencies: The phase shifts of the periodic donor and acceptor fluorescence signals as a function of driving frequency reveal reaction rates. We also drive the reaction with stochastic temperature waveforms that produce thermal fluctuations much greater than natural fluctuations in the bulk. Such artificial thermal noise allows the recovery of weak underlying signals due to protein folding kinetics. This opens up the possibility for future detection of a stochastic resonance for protein folding subject to noise with controllable amplitude.

  5. Periodic and stochastic thermal modulation of protein folding kinetics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-07-01

    Chemical reactions are usually observed either by relaxation of a bulk sample after applying a sudden external perturbation, or by intrinsic fluctuations of a few molecules. Here we show that the two ideas can be combined to measure protein folding kinetics, either by periodic thermal modulation, or by creating artificial thermal noise that greatly exceeds natural thermal fluctuations. We study the folding reaction of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase driven by periodic temperature waveforms. As the temperature waveform unfolds and refolds the protein, its fluorescence color changes due to FRET (Förster resonant Energy Transfer) of two donor/acceptor fluorophores labeling the protein. We adapt a simple model of periodically driven kinetics that nicely fits the data at all temperatures and driving frequencies: The phase shifts of the periodic donor and acceptor fluorescence signals as a function of driving frequency reveal reaction rates. We also drive the reaction with stochastic temperature waveforms that produce thermal fluctuations much greater than natural fluctuations in the bulk. Such artificial thermal noise allows the recovery of weak underlying signals due to protein folding kinetics. This opens up the possibility for future detection of a stochastic resonance for protein folding subject to noise with controllable amplitude.

  6. Persistent homology analysis of protein structure, flexibility and folding

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Kelin; Wei, Guo-Wei

    2014-01-01

    Proteins are the most important biomolecules for living organisms. The understanding of protein structure, function, dynamics and transport is one of most challenging tasks in biological science. In the present work, persistent homology is, for the first time, introduced for extracting molecular topological fingerprints (MTFs) based on the persistence of molecular topological invariants. MTFs are utilized for protein characterization, identification and classification. The method of slicing is proposed to track the geometric origin of protein topological invariants. Both all-atom and coarse-grained representations of MTFs are constructed. A new cutoff-like filtration is proposed to shed light on the optimal cutoff distance in elastic network models. Based on the correlation between protein compactness, rigidity and connectivity, we propose an accumulated bar length generated from persistent topological invariants for the quantitative modeling of protein flexibility. To this end, a correlation matrix based filtration is developed. This approach gives rise to an accurate prediction of the optimal characteristic distance used in protein B-factor analysis. Finally, MTFs are employed to characterize protein topological evolution during protein folding and quantitatively predict the protein folding stability. An excellent consistence between our persistent homology prediction and molecular dynamics simulation is found. This work reveals the topology-function relationship of proteins. PMID:24902720

  7. Criteria for folding in structure-based models of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wołek, Karol; Cieplak, Marek

    2016-05-01

    In structure-based models of proteins, one often assumes that folding is accomplished when all contacts are established. This assumption may frequently lead to a conceptual problem that folding takes place in a temperature region of very low thermodynamic stability, especially when the contact map used is too sparse. We consider six different structure-based models and show that allowing for a small, but model-dependent, percentage of the native contacts not being established boosts the folding temperature substantially while affecting the time scales of folding only in a minor way. We also compare other properties of the six models. We show that the choice of the description of the backbone stiffness has a substantial effect on the values of characteristic temperatures that relate both to equilibrium and kinetic properties. Models without any backbone stiffness (like the self-organized polymer) are found to perform similar to those with the stiffness, including in the studies of stretching.

  8. Criteria for folding in structure-based models of proteins.

    PubMed

    Wołek, Karol; Cieplak, Marek

    2016-05-14

    In structure-based models of proteins, one often assumes that folding is accomplished when all contacts are established. This assumption may frequently lead to a conceptual problem that folding takes place in a temperature region of very low thermodynamic stability, especially when the contact map used is too sparse. We consider six different structure-based models and show that allowing for a small, but model-dependent, percentage of the native contacts not being established boosts the folding temperature substantially while affecting the time scales of folding only in a minor way. We also compare other properties of the six models. We show that the choice of the description of the backbone stiffness has a substantial effect on the values of characteristic temperatures that relate both to equilibrium and kinetic properties. Models without any backbone stiffness (like the self-organized polymer) are found to perform similar to those with the stiffness, including in the studies of stretching. PMID:27179507

  9. Spectroscopic Monitoring of Mechanical Forces during Protein Folding by using Molecular Force Probes.

    PubMed

    Stauch, Tim; Hoffmann, Marvin T; Dreuw, Andreas

    2016-05-18

    Detailed folding pathways of proteins are still largely unknown. Real-time monitoring of mechanical forces acting in proteins during structural transitions would provide deep insights into these highly complex processes. Here, we propose two molecular force probes that can be incorporated into the protein backbone to gain insight into the magnitude and direction of mechanical forces acting in proteins during natural folding and unfolding through their optical spectroscopic response. In fact, changes in the infrared and Raman spectra are proportional to the mechanical force deforming the force probes, and the relevant bands can be intensified and shifted to a transparent window in the protein spectrum by isotopic substitution. As a result, the proposed molecular force probes can act as "force rulers", allowing the spectroscopic observation and measurement of mechanical forces acting within the proteins under natural conditions without external perturbation. PMID:26928925

  10. NMR and protein folding: equilibrium and stopped-flow studies.

    PubMed Central

    Frieden, C.; Hoeltzli, S. D.; Ropson, I. J.

    1993-01-01

    NMR studies are now unraveling the structure of intermediates of protein folding using hydrogen-deuterium exchange methodologies. These studies provide information about the time dependence of formation of secondary structure. They require the ability to assign specific resonances in the NMR spectra to specific amide protons of a protein followed by experiments involving competition between folding and exchange reactions. Another approach is to use 19F-substituted amino acids to follow changes in side-chain environment upon folding. Current techniques of molecular biology allow assignments of 19F resonances to specific amino acids by site-directed mutagenesis. It is possible to follow changes and to analyze results from 19F spectra in real time using a stopped-flow device incorporated into the NMR spectrometer. PMID:8298453

  11. Folding proteins by first-passage-times-optimized replica exchange.

    PubMed

    Nadler, Walter; Meinke, Jan H; Hansmann, Ulrich H E

    2008-12-01

    Replica exchange simulations have become the method of choice in computational protein science, but they still often do not allow an efficient sampling of low-energy protein configurations. Here, we reconstruct replica flow in the temperature ladder from first passage times and use it for temperature optimization, thereby maximizing sampling. The method is applied in simulations of folding thermodynamics for a number of proteins starting from the pentapeptide Met-enkephalin, through the 36-residue HP-36, up to the 67-residue protein GS-alpha3W. PMID:19256866

  12. Hands-on force spectroscopy: weird springs and protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Euler, Manfred

    2008-05-01

    A force spectroscopy model experiment is presented using a low-cost tensile apparatus described earlier. Force-extension measurements of twisted rubber bands are obtained. They exhibit a complex nonlinear elastic behaviour that resembles atomic force spectroscopy investigations of molecules of titin, a muscle protein. The model experiments open up intriguing possibilities to stimulate insight into entropy-driven self-organization of soft biological matter at the nanometre scale and into protein folding by hands-on experience and analogical transfer.

  13. Enhanced protein fold recognition through a novel data integration approach

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Protein fold recognition is a key step in protein three-dimensional (3D) structure discovery. There are multiple fold discriminatory data sources which use physicochemical and structural properties as well as further data sources derived from local sequence alignments. This raises the issue of finding the most efficient method for combining these different informative data sources and exploring their relative significance for protein fold classification. Kernel methods have been extensively used for biological data analysis. They can incorporate separate fold discriminatory features into kernel matrices which encode the similarity between samples in their respective data sources. Results In this paper we consider the problem of integrating multiple data sources using a kernel-based approach. We propose a novel information-theoretic approach based on a Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence between the output kernel matrix and the input kernel matrix so as to integrate heterogeneous data sources. One of the most appealing properties of this approach is that it can easily cope with multi-class classification and multi-task learning by an appropriate choice of the output kernel matrix. Based on the position of the output and input kernel matrices in the KL-divergence objective, there are two formulations which we respectively refer to as MKLdiv-dc and MKLdiv-conv. We propose to efficiently solve MKLdiv-dc by a difference of convex (DC) programming method and MKLdiv-conv by a projected gradient descent algorithm. The effectiveness of the proposed approaches is evaluated on a benchmark dataset for protein fold recognition and a yeast protein function prediction problem. Conclusion Our proposed methods MKLdiv-dc and MKLdiv-conv are able to achieve state-of-the-art performance on the SCOP PDB-40D benchmark dataset for protein fold prediction and provide useful insights into the relative significance of informative data sources. In particular, MKLdiv-dc further

  14. Nature's favorite building block: Deciphering folding and capsid assembly of proteins with the HK97-fold.

    PubMed

    Suhanovsky, Margaret M; Teschke, Carolyn M

    2015-05-01

    For many (if not all) bacterial and archaeal tailed viruses and eukaryotic Herpesvirdae the HK97-fold serves as the major architectural element in icosahedral capsid formation while still enabling the conformational flexibility required during assembly and maturation. Auxiliary proteins or Δ-domains strictly control assembly of multiple, identical, HK97-like subunits into procapsids with specific icosahedral symmetries, rather than aberrant non-icosahedral structures. Procapsids are precursor structures that mature into capsids in a process involving release of auxiliary proteins (or cleavage of Δ-domains), dsDNA packaging, and conformational rearrangement of the HK97-like subunits. Some coat proteins built on the ubiquitous HK97-fold also have accessory domains or loops that impart specific functions, such as increased monomer, procapsid, or capsid stability. In this review, we analyze the numerous HK97-like coat protein structures that are emerging in the literature (over 40 at time of writing) by comparing their topology, additional domains, and their assembly and misassembly reactions. PMID:25864106

  15. Protein folding trajectories can be described quantitatively by one-dimensional diffusion over measured energy landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neupane, Krishna; Manuel, Ajay P.; Woodside, Michael T.

    2016-07-01

    Protein folding features a diffusive search over a multidimensional energy landscape in conformational space for the minimum-energy structure. Experiments, however, are usually interpreted in terms of a one-dimensional (1D) projection of the full landscape onto a practical reaction coordinate. Although simulations have shown that folding kinetics can be described well by diffusion over a 1D projection, 1D approximations have not yet been fully validated experimentally. We used folding trajectories of single molecules held under tension in optical tweezers to compare the conditional probability of being on a transition path, calculated from the trajectory, with the prediction for ideal 1D diffusion over the measured 1D landscape, calculated from committor statistics. We found good agreement for the protein PrP (refs ,) and for one of the structural transitions in a leucine-zipper coiled-coil, but not for a second transition in the coiled-coil, owing to poor reaction-coordinate quality. These results show that 1D descriptions of folding can indeed be good, even for complex tertiary structures. More fundamentally, they also provide a fully experimental validation of the basic physical picture of folding as diffusion over a landscape.

  16. Statics, metastable states, and barriers in protein folding: A replica variational approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takada, Shoji; Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-04-01

    Protein folding is analyzed using a replica variational formalism to investigate some free energy landscape characteristics relevant for dynamics. A random contact interaction model that satisfies the minimum frustration principle is used to describe the coil-globule transition (characterized by TCG), glass transitions (by TA and TK), and folding transition (by TF). Trapping on the free energy landscape is characterized by two characteristic temperatures, one dynamic (TA) and the other static [TK (TA>TK)], which are similar to those found in mean field theories of the Potts glass. (i) Above TA, the free energy landscape is monotonous and the polymer is melted both dynamically and statically. (ii) Between TA and TK, the melted phase is still dominant thermodynamically, but frozen metastable states, exponentially large in number, appear. (iii) A few lowest minima become thermodynamically dominant below TK, where the polymer is totally frozen. In the temperature range between TA and TK, barriers between metastable states are shown to grow with decreasing temperature, suggesting super-Arrhenius behavior in a sufficiently large system. Due to evolutionary constraints on fast folding, the folding temperature TF is expected to be higher than TK, but may or may not be higher than TA. Diverse scenarios of the folding kinetics are discussed based on phase diagrams that take into account the dynamical transition, as well as the static ones.

  17. Geometrical Frustration in Interleukin-33 Decouples the Dynamics of the Functional Element from the Folding Transition State Ensemble

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Kaitlin M.; Haglund, Ellinor; Noel, Jeffrey K.; Hailey, Kendra L.; Onuchic, José N.; Jennings, Patricia A.

    2015-01-01

    Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is currently the focus of multiple investigations into targeting pernicious inflammatory disorders. This mediator of inflammation plays a prevalent role in chronic disorders such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and progressive heart disease. In order to better understand the possible link between the folding free energy landscape and functional regions in IL-33, a combined experimental and theoretical approach was applied. IL-33 is a pseudo- symmetrical protein composed of three distinct structural elements that complicate the folding mechanism due to competition for nucleation on the dominant folding route. Trefoil 1 constitutes the majority of the binding interface with the receptor whereas Trefoils 2 and 3 provide the stable scaffold to anchor Trefoil 1. We identified that IL-33 folds with a three-state mechanism, leading to a rollover in the refolding arm of its chevron plots in strongly native conditions. In addition, there is a second slower refolding phase that exhibits the same rollover suggesting similar limitations in folding along parallel routes. Characterization of the intermediate state and the rate limiting steps required for folding suggests that the rollover is attributable to a moving transition state, shifting from a post- to pre-intermediate transition state as you move from strongly native conditions to the midpoint of the transition. On a structural level, we found that initially, all independent Trefoil units fold equally well until a QCA of 0.35 when Trefoil 1 will backtrack in order to allow Trefoils 2 and 3 to fold in the intermediate state, creating a stable scaffold for Trefoil 1 to fold onto during the final folding transition. The formation of this intermediate state and subsequent moving transition state is a result of balancing the difficulty in folding the functionally important Trefoil 1 onto the remainder of the protein. Taken together our results indicate that the functional element of the protein is

  18. Computational investigations of folded self-avoiding walks related to protein folding.

    PubMed

    Bahi, Jacques M; Guyeux, Christophe; Mazouzi, Kamel; Philippe, Laurent

    2013-12-01

    Various subsets of self-avoiding walks naturally appear when investigating existing methods designed to predict the 3D conformation of a protein of interest. Two such subsets, namely the folded and the unfoldable self-avoiding walks, are studied computationally in this article. We show that these two sets are equal and correspond to the whole n-step self-avoiding walks for n≤14, but that they are different for numerous n≥108, which are common protein lengths. Concrete counterexamples are provided and the computational methods used to discover them are completely detailed. A tool for studying these subsets of walks related to both pivot moves and protein conformations is finally presented. PMID:24268180

  19. Combining Optimal Control Theory and Molecular Dynamics for Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Arkun, Yaman; Gur, Mert

    2012-01-01

    A new method to develop low-energy folding routes for proteins is presented. The novel aspect of the proposed approach is the synergistic use of optimal control theory with Molecular Dynamics (MD). In the first step of the method, optimal control theory is employed to compute the force field and the optimal folding trajectory for the atoms of a Coarse-Grained (CG) protein model. The solution of this CG optimization provides an harmonic approximation of the true potential energy surface around the native state. In the next step CG optimization guides the MD simulation by specifying the optimal target positions for the atoms. In turn, MD simulation provides an all-atom conformation whose positions match closely the reference target positions determined by CG optimization. This is accomplished by Targeted Molecular Dynamics (TMD) which uses a bias potential or harmonic restraint in addition to the usual MD potential. Folding is a dynamical process and as such residues make different contacts during the course of folding. Therefore CG optimization has to be reinitialized and repeated over time to accomodate these important changes. At each sampled folding time, the active contacts among the residues are recalculated based on the all-atom conformation obtained from MD. Using the new set of contacts, the CG potential is updated and the CG optimal trajectory for the atoms is recomputed. This is followed by MD. Implementation of this repetitive CG optimization - MD simulation cycle generates the folding trajectory. Simulations on a model protein Villin demonstrate the utility of the method. Since the method is founded on the general tools of optimal control theory and MD without any restrictions, it is widely applicable to other systems. It can be easily implemented with available MD software packages. PMID:22238629

  20. Connecting thermal and mechanical protein (un)folding landscapes.

    PubMed

    Sun, Li; Noel, Jeffrey K; Sulkowska, Joanna I; Levine, Herbert; Onuchic, José N

    2014-12-16

    Molecular dynamics simulations supplement single-molecule pulling experiments by providing the possibility of examining the full free energy landscape using many coordinates. Here, we use an all-atom structure-based model to study the force and temperature dependence of the unfolding of the protein filamin by applying force at both termini. The unfolding time-force relation τ(F) indicates that the force-induced unfolding behavior of filamin can be characterized into three regimes: barrier-limited low- and intermediate-force regimes, and a barrierless high-force regime. Slope changes of τ(F) separate the three regimes. We show that the behavior of τ(F) can be understood from a two-dimensional free energy landscape projected onto the extension X and the fraction of native contacts Q. In the low-force regime, the unfolding rate is roughly force-independent due to the small (even negative) separation in X between the native ensemble and transition state ensemble (TSE). In the intermediate-force regime, force sufficiently separates the TSE from the native ensemble such that τ(F) roughly follows an exponential relation. This regime is typically explored by pulling experiments. While X may fail to resolve the TSE due to overlap with the unfolded ensemble just below the folding temperature, the overlap is minimal at lower temperatures where experiments are likely to be conducted. The TSE becomes increasingly structured with force, whereas the average order of structural events during unfolding remains roughly unchanged. The high-force regime is characterized by barrierless unfolding, and the unfolding time approaches a limit of ∼10 μs for the highest forces we studied. Finally, a combination of X and Q is shown to be a good reaction coordinate for almost the entire force range. PMID:25517160

  1. Theoretical volume profiles as a tool for probing transition states: folding kinetics.

    PubMed

    Wiebe, H; Weinberg, N

    2014-03-28

    The mechanism by which conformational changes, particularly folding and unfolding, occur in proteins and other biopolymers has been widely discussed in the literature. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of protein folding present a formidable challenge since these conformational changes occur on a time scale much longer than what can be afforded at the current level of computational technology. Transition state (TS) theory offers a more economic description of kinetic properties of a reaction system by relating them to the properties of the TS, or for flexible systems, the TS ensemble (TSE). The application of TS theory to protein folding is limited by ambiguity in the definition of the TSE for this process. We propose to identify the TSE for conformational changes in flexible systems by comparison of its experimentally determined volumetric property, known as the volume of activation, to the structure-specific volume profile of the process calculated using MD. We illustrate this approach by its successful application to unfolding of a model chain system. PMID:24697422

  2. Allosteric switching by mutually exclusive folding of protein domains.

    PubMed

    Radley, Tracy L; Markowska, Anna I; Bettinger, Blaine T; Ha, Jeung-Hoi; Loh, Stewart N

    2003-09-19

    Many proteins are built from structurally and functionally distinct domains. A major goal is to understand how conformational change transmits information between domains in order to achieve biological activity. A two-domain, bi-functional fusion protein has been designed so that the mechanical stress imposed by the folded structure of one subunit causes the other subunit to unfold, and vice versa. The construct consists of ubiquitin inserted into a surface loop of barnase. The distance between the amino and carboxyl ends of ubiquitin is much greater than the distance between the termini of the barnase loop. This topological constraint causes the two domains to engage in a thermodynamic tug-of-war in which only one can exist in its folded state at any given time. This conformational equilibrium, which is cooperative, reversible, and controllable by ligand binding, serves as a model for the coupled binding and folding mechanism widely used to mediate protein-protein interactions and cellular signaling processes. The position of the equilibrium can be adjusted by temperature or ligand binding and is monitored in vivo by cell death. This design forms the basis for a new class of cytotoxic proteins that can be activated by cell-specific effector molecules, and can thus target particular cell types for destruction. PMID:12963365

  3. The topomer-sampling model of protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Debe, Derek A.; Carlson, Matt J.; Goddard, William A.

    1999-01-01

    Clearly, a protein cannot sample all of its conformations (e.g., ≈3100 ≈ 1048 for a 100 residue protein) on an in vivo folding timescale (<1 s). To investigate how the conformational dynamics of a protein can accommodate subsecond folding time scales, we introduce the concept of the native topomer, which is the set of all structures similar to the native structure (obtainable from the native structure through local backbone coordinate transformations that do not disrupt the covalent bonding of the peptide backbone). We have developed a computational procedure for estimating the number of distinct topomers required to span all conformations (compact and semicompact) for a polypeptide of a given length. For 100 residues, we find ≈3 × 107 distinct topomers. Based on the distance calculated between different topomers, we estimate that a 100-residue polypeptide diffusively samples one topomer every ≈3 ns. Hence, a 100-residue protein can find its native topomer by random sampling in just ≈100 ms. These results suggest that subsecond folding of modest-sized, single-domain proteins can be accomplished by a two-stage process of (i) topomer diffusion: random, diffusive sampling of the 3 × 107 distinct topomers to find the native topomer (≈0.1 s), followed by (ii) intratopomer ordering: nonrandom, local conformational rearrangements within the native topomer to settle into the precise native state. PMID:10077555

  4. Invariant patterns in crystal lattices: Implications for protein folding algorithms

    SciTech Connect

    HART,WILLIAM E.; ISTRAIL,SORIN

    2000-06-01

    Crystal lattices are infinite periodic graphs that occur naturally in a variety of geometries and which are of fundamental importance in polymer science. Discrete models of protein folding use crystal lattices to define the space of protein conformations. Because various crystal lattices provide discretizations of the same physical phenomenon, it is reasonable to expect that there will exist invariants across lattices related to fundamental properties of the protein folding process. This paper considers whether performance-guaranteed approximability is such an invariant for HP lattice models. The authors define a master approximation algorithm that has provable performance guarantees provided that a specific sublattice exists within a given lattice. They describe a broad class of crystal lattices that are approximable, which further suggests that approximability is a general property of HP lattice models.

  5. WeFold: A Coopetition for Protein Structure Prediction

    PubMed Central

    Khoury, George A.; Liwo, Adam; Khatib, Firas; Zhou, Hongyi; Chopra, Gaurav; Bacardit, Jaume; Bortot, Leandro O.; Faccioli, Rodrigo A.; Deng, Xin; He, Yi; Krupa, Pawel; Li, Jilong; Mozolewska, Magdalena A.; Sieradzan, Adam K.; Smadbeck, James; Wirecki, Tomasz; Cooper, Seth; Flatten, Jeff; Xu, Kefan; Baker, David; Cheng, Jianlin; Delbem, Alexandre C. B.; Floudas, Christodoulos A.; Keasar, Chen; Levitt, Michael; Popović, Zoran; Scheraga, Harold A.; Skolnick, Jeffrey; Crivelli, Silvia N.; Players, Foldit

    2014-01-01

    The protein structure prediction problem continues to elude scientists. Despite the introduction of many methods, only modest gains were made over the last decade for certain classes of prediction targets. To address this challenge, a social-media based worldwide collaborative effort, named WeFold, was undertaken by thirteen labs. During the collaboration, the labs were simultaneously competing with each other. Here, we present the first attempt at “coopetition” in scientific research applied to the protein structure prediction and refinement problems. The coopetition was possible by allowing the participating labs to contribute different components of their protein structure prediction pipelines and create new hybrid pipelines that they tested during CASP10. This manuscript describes both successes and areas needing improvement as identified throughout the first WeFold experiment and discusses the efforts that are underway to advance this initiative. A footprint of all contributions and structures are publicly accessible at http://www.wefold.org. PMID:24677212

  6. WeFold: a coopetition for protein structure prediction.

    PubMed

    Khoury, George A; Liwo, Adam; Khatib, Firas; Zhou, Hongyi; Chopra, Gaurav; Bacardit, Jaume; Bortot, Leandro O; Faccioli, Rodrigo A; Deng, Xin; He, Yi; Krupa, Pawel; Li, Jilong; Mozolewska, Magdalena A; Sieradzan, Adam K; Smadbeck, James; Wirecki, Tomasz; Cooper, Seth; Flatten, Jeff; Xu, Kefan; Baker, David; Cheng, Jianlin; Delbem, Alexandre C B; Floudas, Christodoulos A; Keasar, Chen; Levitt, Michael; Popović, Zoran; Scheraga, Harold A; Skolnick, Jeffrey; Crivelli, Silvia N

    2014-09-01

    The protein structure prediction problem continues to elude scientists. Despite the introduction of many methods, only modest gains were made over the last decade for certain classes of prediction targets. To address this challenge, a social-media based worldwide collaborative effort, named WeFold, was undertaken by 13 labs. During the collaboration, the laboratories were simultaneously competing with each other. Here, we present the first attempt at "coopetition" in scientific research applied to the protein structure prediction and refinement problems. The coopetition was possible by allowing the participating labs to contribute different components of their protein structure prediction pipelines and create new hybrid pipelines that they tested during CASP10. This manuscript describes both successes and areas needing improvement as identified throughout the first WeFold experiment and discusses the efforts that are underway to advance this initiative. A footprint of all contributions and structures are publicly accessible at http://www.wefold.org. PMID:24677212

  7. Fold Recognition Using Sequence Fingerprints of Protein Local Substructures

    SciTech Connect

    Kryshtafovych, A A; Hvidsten, T; Komorowski, J; Fidelis, K

    2003-06-04

    A protein local substructure (descriptor) is a set of several short non-overlapping fragments of the polypeptide chain. Each descriptor describes local environment of a particular residue and includes only those segments that are located in the proximity of this residue. Similar descriptors from the representative set of proteins were analyzed to reveal links between the substructures and sequences of their segments. Using detected sequence-based fingerprints specific geometrical conformations are assigned to new sequences. The ability of the approach to recognize correct SCOP folds was tested on 273 sequences from the 49 most popular folds. Good predictions were obtained in 85% of cases. No performance drop was observed with decreasing sequence similarity between target sequences and sequences from the training set of proteins.

  8. Energetics-Based Methods for Protein Folding and Stability Measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geer, M. Ariel; Fitzgerald, Michael C.

    2014-06-01

    Over the past 15 years, a series of energetics-based techniques have been developed for the thermodynamic analysis of protein folding and stability. These techniques include Stability of Unpurified Proteins from Rates of amide H/D Exchange (SUPREX), pulse proteolysis, Stability of Proteins from Rates of Oxidation (SPROX), slow histidine H/D exchange, lysine amidination, and quantitative cysteine reactivity (QCR). The above techniques, which are the subject of this review, all utilize chemical or enzymatic modification reactions to probe the chemical denaturant- or temperature-induced equilibrium unfolding properties of proteins and protein-ligand complexes. They employ various mass spectrometry-, sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE)-, and optical spectroscopy-based readouts that are particularly advantageous for high-throughput and in some cases multiplexed analyses. This has created the opportunity to use protein folding and stability measurements in new applications such as in high-throughput screening projects to identify novel protein ligands and in mode-of-action studies to identify protein targets of a particular ligand.

  9. Allostery and folding of the N-terminal receiver domain of protein NtrC.

    PubMed

    Tripathi, Swarnendu; Portman, John J

    2013-10-24

    The N-terminal receiver domain of protein NtrC (NtrC(r)) exhibits allosteric transitions between the inactive (unphosphorylated) and active (phosphorylated) state on the microsecond time scale. Using a coarse-grained variational model with coupled energy basins, we illustrate that significant loss of conformational flexibility is the key determinant of the inactive (I) → active (A) state transition mechanism of NtrC(r). In particular, our results reveal that the rearrangements of the native contacts involving the regulatory helix-α4 and the flexible β3-α3 loop upon activation play a crucial role in the activation mechanism. Interestingly, we find that the β3-α3 loop exhibits a gradual decrease in flexibility throughout the activation transition, while helix-α4, in contrast, becomes more rigid abruptly near the free energy barrier separating the two states. To gain further insight into role these flexible regions play in the transition mechanism, we consider folding of NtrC(r) to both states using a similar model. Our calculated folding routes suggest that helix-α4 becomes structured later when folding to the I state compared to folding of the A state, a result consistent with it is relative conformational flexibility in the two states. Finally, we find a good qualitative agreement between our predicted I → A transition mechanism and the measured backbone dynamics from nuclear magnetic resonance experiments. PMID:23961720

  10. Work done by titin protein folding assists muscle contraction

    PubMed Central

    Popa, Ionel; Kosuri, Pallav; Linke, Wolfgang A.; Fernández, Julio M.

    2016-01-01

    Current theories of muscle contraction propose that the power stroke of a myosin motor is the sole source of mechanical energy driving the sliding filaments of a contracting muscle. These models exclude titin, the largest protein in the human body, which determines the passive elasticity of muscles. Here, we show that stepwise unfolding/folding of titin Ig domains occurs in the elastic I band region of intact myofibrils at physiological sarcomere lengths and forces of 6-8 pN. We use single molecule techniques to demonstrate that unfolded titin Ig domains undergo a spontaneous stepwise folding contraction at forces below 10 pN, delivering up to 105 zJ of additional contractile energy, which is larger than the mechanical energy delivered by the power stroke of a myosin motor. Thus, it appears inescapable that folding of titin Ig domains is an important, but so far unrecognized contributor to the force generated by a contracting muscle. PMID:26854230

  11. Protein folding on biosensor tips: folding of maltodextrin glucosidase monitored by its interactions with GroEL.

    PubMed

    Pastor, Ashutosh; Singh, Amit K; Fisher, Mark T; Chaudhuri, Tapan K

    2016-08-01

    Protein folding has been extensively studied for the past six decades by employing solution-based methods such as solubility, enzymatic activity, secondary structure analysis, and analytical methods like FRET, NMR, and HD exchange. However, for rapid analysis of the folding process, solution-based approaches are often plagued with aggregation side reactions resulting in poor yields. In this work, we demonstrate that a bio-layer interferometry (BLI) chaperonin detection system can identify superior refolding conditions for denatured proteins. The degree of immobilized protein folding as a function of time can be detected by monitoring the binding of the high-affinity nucleotide-free form of the chaperonin GroEL. GroEL preferentially interacts with proteins that have hydrophobic surfaces exposed in their unfolded or partially folded form, so a decrease in GroEL binding can be correlated with burial of hydrophobic surfaces as folding progresses. The magnitude of GroEL binding to the protein immobilized on bio-layer interferometry biosensor inversely reflects the extent of protein folding and hydrophobic residue burial. We demonstrate conditions where accelerated folding can be observed for the aggregation-prone protein maltodextrin glucosidase (MalZ). Superior immobilized folding conditions identified on the bio-layer interferometry biosensor surface were reproduced on Ni-NTA sepharose bead surfaces and resulted in significant improvement in folding yields of released MalZ (measured by enzymatic activity) compared to bulk refolding conditions in solution. PMID:27367928

  12. Marginally hydrophobic transmembrane α-helices shaping membrane protein folding

    PubMed Central

    De Marothy, Minttu T; Elofsson, Arne

    2015-01-01

    Cells have developed an incredible machinery to facilitate the insertion of membrane proteins into the membrane. While we have a fairly good understanding of the mechanism and determinants of membrane integration, more data is needed to understand the insertion of membrane proteins with more complex insertion and folding pathways. This review will focus on marginally hydrophobic transmembrane helices and their influence on membrane protein folding. These weakly hydrophobic transmembrane segments are by themselves not recognized by the translocon and therefore rely on local sequence context for membrane integration. How can such segments reside within the membrane? We will discuss this in the light of features found in the protein itself as well as the environment it resides in. Several characteristics in proteins have been described to influence the insertion of marginally hydrophobic helices. Additionally, the influence of biological membranes is significant. To begin with, the actual cost for having polar groups within the membrane may not be as high as expected; the presence of proteins in the membrane as well as characteristics of some amino acids may enable a transmembrane helix to harbor a charged residue. The lipid environment has also been shown to directly influence the topology as well as membrane boundaries of transmembrane helices—implying a dynamic relationship between membrane proteins and their environment. PMID:25970811

  13. Exploring the folding pathway of green fluorescent protein through disulfide engineering

    PubMed Central

    Pitman, Derek J; Banerjee, Shounak; Macari, Stephen J; Castaldi, Christopher A; Crone, Donna E; Bystroff, Christopher

    2015-01-01

    We have introduced two disulfide crosslinks into the loop regions on opposite ends of the beta barrel in superfolder green fluorescent protein (GFP) in order to better understand the nature of its folding pathway. When the disulfide on the side opposite the N/C-termini is formed, folding is 2× faster, unfolding is 2000× slower, and the protein is stabilized by 16 kJ/mol. But when the disulfide bond on the side of the termini is formed we see little change in the kinetics and stability. The stabilization upon combining the two crosslinks is approximately additive. When the kinetic effects are broken down into multiple phases, we observe Hammond behavior in the upward shift of the kinetic m-value of unfolding. We use these results in conjunction with structural analysis to assign folding intermediates to two parallel folding pathways. The data are consistent with a view that the two fastest transition states of folding are "barrel closing" steps. The slower of the two phases passes through an intermediate with the barrel opening occurring between strands 7 and 8, while the faster phase opens between 9 and 4. We conclude that disulfide crosslink-induced perturbations in kinetics are useful for mapping the protein folding pathway. PMID:25516354

  14. Folding funnels and energy landscapes of larger proteins within the capillarity approximation

    PubMed Central

    Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-01-01

    The characterization of protein-folding kinetics with increasing chain length under various thermodynamic conditions is addressed using the capillarity picture in which distinct spatial regions of the protein are imagined to be folded or trapped and separated by interfaces. The quantitative capillarity theory is based on the nucleation theory of first-order transitions and the droplet analysis of glasses and random magnets. The concepts of folding funnels and rugged energy landscapes are shown to be applicable in the large size limit just as for smaller proteins. An ideal asymptotic free-energy profile as a function of a reaction coordinate measuring progress down the funnel is shown to be quite broad. This renders traditional transition state theory generally inapplicable but allows a diffusive picture with a transition-state region to be used. The analysis unifies several scaling arguments proposed earlier. The importance of fluctuational fine structure both to the free-energy profile and to the glassy dynamics is highlighted. The fluctuation effects lead to a very broad trapping-time distribution. Considerations necessary for understanding the crossover between the mean field and capillarity pictures of the energy landscapes are discussed. A variety of mechanisms that may roughen the interfaces and may lead to a complex structure of the transition-state ensemble are proposed. PMID:9177189

  15. Investigation of protein folding by coarse-grained molecular dynamics with the UNRES force field

    PubMed Central

    Maisuradze, Gia G.; Senet, Patrick; Czaplewski, Cezary; Liwo, Adam; Scheraga, Harold A.

    2010-01-01

    Coarse-grained molecular-dynamics simulations offer a dramatic extension of the time-scale of simulations compared to all-atom approaches. In this article, we describe the use of the physics-based united-residue (UNRES) force field, developed in our laboratory, in protein-structure simulations. We demonstrate that this force field offers about a 4000-times extension of the simulation time scale; this feature arises both from averaging out the fast-moving degrees of freedom and reduction of the cost of energy and force calculations compared to all-atom approaches with explicit solvent. With massively parallel computers, microsecond folding simulation times of proteins containing about 1000 residues can be obtained in days. A straightforward application of canonical UNRES/MD simulations, demonstrated with the example of the N-terminal part of the B-domain of staphylococcal protein A (PDB code: 1BDD, a three-α-helix bundle), discerns the folding mechanism and determines kinetic parameters by parallel simulations of several hundred or more trajectories. Use of generalized-ensemble techniques, of which the multiplexed replica exchange method proved to be the most effective, enables us to compute thermodynamics of folding and carry out fully physics-based prediction of protein structure, in which the predicted structure is determined as a mean over the most populated ensemble below the folding-transition temperature. By using principal component analysis of the UNRES folding trajectories of the formin-binding protein WW domain (PDB code: 1E0L; a three-stranded antiparallel β-sheet) and 1BDD, we identified representative structures along the folding pathways and demonstrated that only a few (low-indexed) principal components can capture the main structural features of a protein-folding trajectory; the potentials of mean force calculated along these essential modes exhibit multiple minima, as opposed to those along the remaining modes which are unimodal. In addition, a

  16. Theoretical and computational studies in protein folding, design, and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morrissey, Michael Patrick

    2000-10-01

    In this work, simplified statistical models are used to understand an array of processes related to protein folding and design. In Part I, lattice models are utilized to test several theories about the statistical properties of protein-like systems. In Part II, sequence analysis and all-atom simulations are used to advance a novel theory for the behavior of a particular protein. Part I is divided into five chapters. In Chapter 2, a method of sequence design for model proteins, based on statistical mechanical first-principles, is developed. The cumulant design method uses a mean-field approximation to expand the free energy of a sequence in temperature. The method successfully designs sequences which fold to a target lattice structure at a specific temperature, a feat which was not possible using previous design methods. The next three chapters are computational studies of the double mutant cycle, which has been used experimentally to predict intra-protein interactions. Complete structure prediction is demonstrated for a model system using exhaustive, and also sub-exhaustive, double mutants. Nonadditivity of enthalpy, rather than of free energy, is proposed and demonstrated to be a superior marker for inter-residue contact. Next, a new double mutant protocol, called exchange mutation, is introduced. Although simple statistical arguments predict exchange mutation to be a more accurate contact predictor than standard mutant cycles, this hypothesis was not upheld in lattice simulations. Reasons for this inconsistency will be discussed. Finally, a multi-chain folding algorithm is introduced. Known as LINKS, this algorithm was developed to test a method of structure prediction which utilizes chain-break mutants. While structure prediction was not successful, LINKS should nevertheless be a useful tool for the study of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions. The last chapter of Part I utilizes the lattice to explore the differences between standard folding, from

  17. DEAD-box protein facilitated RNA folding in vivo

    PubMed Central

    Liebeg, Andreas; Mayer, Oliver

    2010-01-01

    In yeast mitochondria the DEAD-box helicase Mss116p is essential for respiratory growth by acting as group I and group II intron splicing factor. Here we provide the first structure-based insights into how Mss116p assists RNA folding in vivo. Employing an in vivo chemical probing technique, we mapped the structure of the ai5γ group II intron in different genetic backgrounds to characterize its intracellular fold. While the intron adopts the native conformation in the wt yeast strain, we found that the intron is able to form most of its secondary structure, but lacks its tertiary fold in the absence of Mss116p. This suggests that ai5γ is largely unfolded in the mss116-knockout strain and requires the protein at an early step of folding. Notably, in this unfolded state misfolded substructures have not been observed. As most of the protein-induced conformational changes are located within domain D1, Mss116p appears to facilitate the formation of this largest domain, which is the scaffold for docking of other intron domains. These findings suggest that Mss116p assists the ordered assembly of the ai5γ intron in vivo. PMID:21045551

  18. Molten globules, entropy-driven conformational change and protein folding.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, Robert L; Rose, George D

    2013-02-01

    The exquisite side chain close-packing in the protein core and at binding interfaces has prompted a conviction that packing selectivity is the primary mechanism for molecular recognition in folding and/or binding reactions. Contrary to this view, molten globule proteins can adopt native topology and bind targets tightly and specifically in the absence of side chain close-packing. The molten globule is a highly dynamic form with native-like secondary structure and a loose protein core that admits solvent. The related (but still controversial) dry molten globule is an expanded form of the native protein with largely intact topology but a tighter protein core that excludes solvent. Neither form retains side chain close-packing, and therefore both structure and function must result from other factors, assuming that the reality of the dry molten globule is accepted. This simplifying realization calls for a re-evaluation of established models. PMID:23237704

  19. Comparison of the Folding Mechanism of Highly Homologous Proteins in the Lipid-binding Protein Family

    EPA Science Inventory

    The folding mechanism of two closely related proteins in the intracellular lipid binding protein family, human bile acid binding protein (hBABP) and rat bile acid binding protein (rBABP) were examined. These proteins are 77% identical (93% similar) in sequence Both of these singl...

  20. The contribution of entropy, enthalpy, and hydrophobic desolvation to cooperativity in repeat-protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Aksel, Tural; Majumdar, Ananya; Barrick, Doug

    2011-01-01

    Summary Cooperativity is a defining feature of protein folding, but its thermodynamic and structural origins are not completely understood. By constructing consensus ankyrin repeat protein arrays that have nearly identical sequences, we quantify cooperativity by resolving stability into intrinsic and interfacial components. Heteronuclear NMR and CD spectroscopy show that these constructs adopt ankyrin repeat structures. Applying a one-dimensional Ising model to a series of constructs chosen to maximize information content in unfolding transitions, we quantify stabilities of the terminal capping repeats, and resolve the effects of denaturant into intrinsic and interfacial components. Reversible thermal denaturation resolves interfacial and intrinsic free energies into enthalpic, entropic, and heat capacity terms. Intrinsic folding is entropically disfavored, whereas interfacial interaction is entropically favored and attends a decrease in heat capacity. These results suggest that helix formation and backbone ordering occurs upon intrinsic folding, whereas hydrophobic desolvation occurs upon interfacial interaction, contributing to cooperativity. PMID:21397186

  1. Combined approach to the inverse protein folding problem. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Ruben A. Abagyan

    2000-06-01

    The main scientific contribution of the project ''Combined approach to the inverse protein folding problem'' submitted in 1996 and funded by the Department of Energy in 1997 is the formulation and development of the idea of the multilink recognition method for identification of functional and structural homologues of newly discovered genes. This idea became very popular after they first announced it and used it in prediction of the threading targets for the CASP2 competition (Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction).

  2. A novel fingerprint for the characterization of protein folds.

    PubMed

    Mezei, Mihaly

    2003-10-01

    A novel fingerprint, defined without the use of distances, is introduced to characterize protein folds. It is of the form of binary matrices whose elements are defined by angles between the C=O direction, the backbone axis and the line connecting the alpha-carbons of the various residues. It is shown that matches in the fingerprint matrices correspond to low r.m.s.d. PMID:14600199

  3. Protein folding on the ribosome studied using NMR spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Waudby, Christopher A.; Launay, Hélène; Cabrita, Lisa D.; Christodoulou, John

    2013-01-01

    NMR spectroscopy is a powerful tool for the investigation of protein folding and misfolding, providing a characterization of molecular structure, dynamics and exchange processes, across a very wide range of timescales and with near atomic resolution. In recent years NMR methods have also been developed to study protein folding as it might occur within the cell, in a de novo manner, by observing the folding of nascent polypeptides in the process of emerging from the ribosome during synthesis. Despite the 2.3 MDa molecular weight of the bacterial 70S ribosome, many nascent polypeptides, and some ribosomal proteins, have sufficient local flexibility that sharp resonances may be observed in solution-state NMR spectra. In providing information on dynamic regions of the structure, NMR spectroscopy is therefore highly complementary to alternative methods such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy, which have successfully characterized the rigid core of the ribosome particle. However, the low working concentrations and limited sample stability associated with ribosome–nascent chain complexes means that such studies still present significant technical challenges to the NMR spectroscopist. This review will discuss the progress that has been made in this area, surveying all NMR studies that have been published to date, and with a particular focus on strategies for improving experimental sensitivity. PMID:24083462

  4. Environmental Fluctuations and Stochastic Resonance in Protein Folding.

    PubMed

    Dave, Kapil; Davtyan, Aram; Papoian, Garegin A; Gruebele, Martin; Platkov, Max

    2016-05-01

    Stochastic resonance is a mechanism whereby a weak signal becomes detectable through the addition of noise. It is common in many macroscopic biological phenomena, but here we ask whether it can be observed in a microscopic biological phenomenon, protein folding. We investigate the folding kinetics of the protein VlsE, with a folding relaxation time of about 0.7 seconds at 38 °C in vitro. First we show that the VlsE unfolding/refolding reaction can be driven by a periodic thermal excitation above the reaction threshold. We detect the reaction by fluorescence from FRET labels on VlSE and show that accurate rate coefficients and activation barriers can be obtained from modulated kinetics. Then we weaken the periodic temperature modulation below the reaction threshold, and show that addition of artificial thermal noise speeds up the reaction from an undetectable to a detectable rate. We observe a maximum in the recovered signal as a function of thermal noise, a stochastic resonance. Simulation of a small model-protein, analysis in an accompanying theory paper, and our experimental result here all show that correlated noise is a physically and chemically plausible mechanism by which cells could modulate biomolecular dynamics during threshold processes such as signaling. PMID:26711088

  5. Sphingolipid transfer proteins defined by the GLTP-fold

    PubMed Central

    Malinina, Lucy; Simanshu, Dhirendra K.; Zhai, Xiuhong; Samygina, Valeria R.; Kamlekar, RaviKanth; Kenoth, Roopa; Ochoa-Lizarralde, Borja; Malakhova, Margarita L.; Molotkovsky, Julian G.; Patel, Dinshaw J.; Brown, Rhoderick E.

    2015-01-01

    Glycolipid transfer proteins (GLTPs) originally were identified as small (~24 kDa), soluble, amphitropic proteins that specifically accelerate the intermembrane transfer of glycolipids. GLTPs and related homologs now are known to adopt a unique, helically dominated, two-layer ‘sandwich’ architecture defined as the GLTP-fold that provides the structural underpinning for the eukaryotic GLTP superfamily. Recent advances now provide exquisite insights into structural features responsible for lipid headgroup selectivity as well as the adaptability of the hydrophobic compartment for accommodating hydrocarbon chains of differing length and unsaturation. A new understanding of the structural versatility and evolutionary premium placed on the GLTP motif has emerged. Human GLTP-motifs have evolved to function not only as glucosylceramide binding/transferring domains for phosphoinositol 4-phosphate adaptor protein-2 during glycosphingolipid biosynthesis but also as selective binding/transfer proteins for ceramide-1-phosphate. The latter, known as ceramide-l-phosphate transfer protein, recently has been shown to form GLTP-fold while critically regulating Group-IV cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 activity and pro-inflammatory eicosanoid production. PMID:25797198

  6. Improved method for predicting protein fold patterns with ensemble classifiers.

    PubMed

    Chen, W; Liu, X; Huang, Y; Jiang, Y; Zou, Q; Lin, C

    2012-01-01

    Protein folding is recognized as a critical problem in the field of biophysics in the 21st century. Predicting protein-folding patterns is challenging due to the complex structure of proteins. In an attempt to solve this problem, we employed ensemble classifiers to improve prediction accuracy. In our experiments, 188-dimensional features were extracted based on the composition and physical-chemical property of proteins and 20-dimensional features were selected using a coupled position-specific scoring matrix. Compared with traditional prediction methods, these methods were superior in terms of prediction accuracy. The 188-dimensional feature-based method achieved 71.2% accuracy in five cross-validations. The accuracy rose to 77% when we used a 20-dimensional feature vector. These methods were used on recent data, with 54.2% accuracy. Source codes and dataset, together with web server and software tools for prediction, are available at: http://datamining.xmu.edu.cn/main/~cwc/ProteinPredict.html. PMID:22370884

  7. Macromolecular crowding increases structural content of folded proteins.

    PubMed

    Perham, Michael; Stagg, Loren; Wittung-Stafshede, Pernilla

    2007-10-30

    Here we show that increased amount of secondary structure is acquired in the folded states of two structurally-different proteins (alpha-helical VlsE and alpha/beta flavodoxin) in the presence of macromolecular crowding agents. The structural content of flavodoxin and VlsE is enhanced by 33% and 70%, respectively, in 400 mg/ml Ficoll 70 (pH 7, 20 degrees C) and correlates with higher protein-thermal stability. In the same Ficoll range, there are only small effects on the unfolded-state structures of the proteins. This is the first in vitro assessment of crowding effects on the native-state structures at physiological conditions. Our findings imply that for proteins with low intrinsic stability, the functional structures in vivo may differ from those observed in dilute buffers. PMID:17919600

  8. Hydrophobicity – Shake Flasks, Protein Folding and Drug Discovery

    PubMed Central

    Sarkar, Aurijit; Kellogg, Glen E.

    2009-01-01

    Hydrophobic interactions are some of the most important interactions in nature. They are the primary driving force in a number of phenomena. This is mostly an entropic effect and can account for a number of biophysical events such as protein-protein or protein-ligand binding that are of immense importance in drug design. The earliest studies on this phenomenon can be dated back to the end of the 19th century when Meyer and Overton independently correlated the hydrophobic nature of gases to their anesthetic potency. Since then, significant progress has been made in this realm of science. This review briefly traces the history of hydrophobicity research along with the theoretical estimation of partition coefficients. Finally, the application of hydrophobicity estimation methods in the field of drug design and protein folding is discussed. PMID:19929828

  9. Protein GB1 Folding and Assembly from Structural Elements

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Mikael C.; Xue, Wei-Feng; Linse, Sara

    2009-01-01

    Folding of the Protein G B1 domain (PGB1) shifts with increasing salt concentration from a cooperative assembly of inherently unstructured subdomains to an assembly of partly pre-folded structures. The salt-dependence of pre-folding contributes to the stability minimum observed at physiological salt conditions. Our conclusions are based on a study in which the reconstitution of PGB1 from two fragments was studied as a function of salt concentrations and temperature using circular dichroism spectroscopy. Salt was found to induce an increase in β-hairpin structure for the C-terminal fragment (residues 41 – 56), whereas no major salt effect on structure was observed for the isolated N-terminal fragment (residues 1 – 41). In line with the increasing evidence on the interrelation between fragment complementation and stability of the corresponding intact protein, we also find that salt effects on reconstitution can be predicted from salt dependence of the stability of the intact protein. Our data show that our variant (which has the mutations T2Q, N8D, N37D and reconstitutes in a manner similar to the wild type) displays the lowest equilibrium association constant around physiological salt concentration, with higher affinity observed both at lower and higher salt concentration. This corroborates the salt effects on the stability towards denaturation of the intact protein, for which the stability at physiological salt is lower compared to both lower and higher salt concentrations. Hence we conclude that reconstitution reports on molecular factors that govern the native states of proteins. PMID:19468325

  10. Directed evolution methods for improving polypeptide folding and solubility and superfolder fluorescent proteins generated thereby

    DOEpatents

    Waldo, Geoffrey S.

    2007-09-18

    The current invention provides methods of improving folding of polypeptides using a poorly folding domain as a component of a fusion protein comprising the poorly folding domain and a polypeptide of interest to be improved. The invention also provides novel green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) and red fluorescent proteins that have enhanced folding properties.

  11. Visualizing GroEL/ES in the Act of Encapsulating a Folding Protein

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Dong-Hua; Madan, Damian; Weaver, Jeremy; Lin, Zong; Schröder, Gunnar F.; Chiu, Wah; Rye, Hays S.

    2013-01-01

    Summary The GroEL/ES chaperonin system is required for the assisted folding of many proteins. How these substrate proteins are encapsulated within the GroEL-GroES cavity is poorly understood. Using symmetry-free, single-particle electron cryo-microscopy, we have characterized a chemically modified mutant of GroEL (EL43Py) that is trapped at a normally transient stage of substrate protein encapsulation. We show that the symmetric pattern of the GroEL subunits is broken as the GroEL cis-ring apical domains reorient to accommodate the simultaneous binding of GroES and an incompletely folded substrate protein (RuBisCO). The collapsed RuBisCO folding intermediate binds to the lower segment of two apical domains, as well as the normally unstructured GroEL C-terminal tails. A comparative structural analysis suggests that the allosteric transitions leading to substrate protein release and folding involves concerted shifts of GroES and the GroEL apical domains and C-terminal tails. PMID:23746846

  12. Temperature dependence of protein folding kinetics in living cells

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Minghao; Xu, Yangfan; Gruebele, Martin

    2012-01-01

    We measure the stability and folding rate of a mutant of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) inside bone tissue cells as a function of temperature from 38 to 48 °C. To facilitate measurement in individual living cells, we developed a rapid laser temperature stepping method capable of measuring complete thermal melts and kinetic traces in about two min. We find that this method yields improved thermal melts compared to heating a sample chamber or microscope stage. By comparing results for six cells with in vitro data, we show that the protein is stabilized by about 6 kJ/mole in the cytoplasm, but the temperature dependence of folding kinetics is similar to in vitro. The main difference is a slightly steeper temperature dependence of the folding rate in some cells that can be rationalized in terms of temperature-dependent crowding, local viscosity, or hydrophobicity. The observed rate coefficients can be fitted within measurement uncertainty by an effective two-state model, even though PGK folds by a multistate mechanism. We validate the effective two-state model with a three-state free energy landscape of PGK to illustrate that the effective fitting parameters can represent a more complex underlying free energy landscape. PMID:22665776

  13. Combining in Vitro Folding with Cell Free Protein Synthesis for Membrane Protein Expression.

    PubMed

    Focke, Paul J; Hein, Christopher; Hoffmann, Beate; Matulef, Kimberly; Bernhard, Frank; Dötsch, Volker; Valiyaveetil, Francis I

    2016-08-01

    Cell free protein synthesis (CFPS) has emerged as a promising methodology for protein expression. While polypeptide production is very reliable and efficient using CFPS, the correct cotranslational folding of membrane proteins during CFPS is still a challenge. In this contribution, we describe a two-step protocol in which the integral membrane protein is initially expressed by CFPS as a precipitate followed by an in vitro folding procedure using lipid vesicles for converting the protein precipitate to the correctly folded protein. We demonstrate the feasibility of using this approach for the K(+) channels KcsA and MVP and the amino acid transporter LeuT. We determine the crystal structure of the KcsA channel obtained by CFPS and in vitro folding to show the structural similarity to the cellular expressed KcsA channel and to establish the feasibility of using this two-step approach for membrane protein production for structural studies. Our studies show that the correct folding of these membrane proteins with complex topologies can take place in vitro without the involvement of the cellular machinery for membrane protein biogenesis. This indicates that the folding instructions for these complex membrane proteins are contained entirely within the protein sequence. PMID:27384110

  14. Investigation of folding unfolding process of a new variant of dihydrofolate reductase protein from Zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Thapliyal, Charu; Jain, Neha; Chaudhuri Chattopadhyay, Pratima

    2016-10-01

    The folding and unfolding mechanisms of a small monomeric protein, Dihydrofolate reductase (1.5.1.3.) from a new variant, Zebrafish (zDHFR) has been studied through GdnHCl denaturation, followed by its refolding through dilution of the denaturant. Intrinsic and extrinsic fluorescence, far-UV CD and enzyme activity were employed to monitor structural and functional changes due to chemical denaturation. The unfolding transitions monitored by intrinsic fluorescence showed that GdnHCl based denaturation of zDHFR is reversible. At low concentration of the denaturant, zDHFR forms intermediate species as reflected by increased fluorescence intensity compared to the native and fully unfolded form. Equilibrium unfolding transition study of zDHFR induced by GdnHCl exhibited three- state process. The non- coincidence of fluorescence and far-UVCD based transitions curves support the establishment of three state model of zDHFR protein which involves native, intermediate and unfolded forms. Analysis of the equilibrium unfolding transition suggests the presence of non- native intermediate species. A comparative study of various species of DHFR shows that zDHFR has comparable thermodynamic stability with human counterpart and thus proved to be a good in vitro model system for structure- function relationship studies. Understanding various conformational states during the folding unfolding process of the zDHFR protein may provide important clues towards designing inhibitors against this important protein involved in cell cycle regulation. PMID:27287769

  15. Coupled protein diffusion and folding in the cell.

    PubMed

    Guo, Minghao; Gelman, Hannah; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-01-01

    When a protein unfolds in the cell, its diffusion coefficient is affected by its increased hydrodynamic radius and by interactions of exposed hydrophobic residues with the cytoplasmic matrix, including chaperones. We characterize protein diffusion by photobleaching whole cells at a single point, and imaging the concentration change of fluorescent-labeled protein throughout the cell as a function of time. As a folded reference protein we use green fluorescent protein. The resulting region-dependent anomalous diffusion is well characterized by 2-D or 3-D diffusion equations coupled to a clustering algorithm that accounts for position-dependent diffusion. Then we study diffusion of a destabilized mutant of the enzyme phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) and of its stable control inside the cell. Unlike the green fluorescent protein control's diffusion coefficient, PGK's diffusion coefficient is a non-monotonic function of temperature, signaling 'sticking' of the protein in the cytosol as it begins to unfold. The temperature-dependent increase and subsequent decrease of the PGK diffusion coefficient in the cytosol is greater than a simple size-scaling model suggests. Chaperone binding of the unfolding protein inside the cell is one plausible candidate for even slower diffusion of PGK, and we test the plausibility of this hypothesis experimentally, although we do not rule out other candidates. PMID:25436502

  16. Hsp70 biases the folding pathways of client proteins.

    PubMed

    Sekhar, Ashok; Rosenzweig, Rina; Bouvignies, Guillaume; Kay, Lewis E

    2016-05-17

    The 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) family of chaperones bind cognate substrates to perform a variety of different processes that are integral to cellular homeostasis. Although detailed structural information is available on the chaperone, the structural features of folding competent substrates in the bound form have not been well characterized. Here we use paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE) NMR spectroscopy to probe the existence of long-range interactions in one such folding competent substrate, human telomere repeat binding factor (hTRF1), which is bound to DnaK in a globally unfolded conformation. We show that DnaK binding modifies the energy landscape of the substrate by removing long-range interactions that are otherwise present in the unbound, unfolded conformation of hTRF1. Because the unfolded state of hTRF1 is only marginally populated and transiently formed, it is inaccessible to standard NMR approaches. We therefore developed a (1)H-based CEST experiment that allows measurement of PREs in sparse states, reporting on transiently sampled conformations. Our results suggest that DnaK binding can significantly bias the folding pathway of client substrates such that secondary structure forms first, followed by the development of longer-range contacts between more distal parts of the protein. PMID:27140645

  17. Mechanisms of Oxidative Protein Folding in the Bacterial Cell Envelope

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Abstract Disulfide-bond formation is important for the correct folding of a great number of proteins that are exported to the cell envelope of bacteria. Bacterial cells have evolved elaborate systems to promote the joining of two cysteines to form a disulfide bond and to repair misoxidized proteins. In the past two decades, significant advances have occurred in our understanding of the enzyme systems (DsbA, DsbB, DsbC, DsbG, and DsbD) used by the gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli to ensure that correct pairs of cysteines are joined during the process of protein folding. However, a number of fundamental questions about these processes remain, especially about how they occur inside the cell. In addition, recent recognition of the increasing diversity among bacteria in the disulfide bond–forming capacity and in the systems for introducing disulfide bonds into proteins is raising new questions. We review here the marked progress in this field and discuss important questions that remain for future studies. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 13, 1231–1246. PMID:20367276

  18. Predictive energy landscapes for folding membrane protein assemblies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truong, Ha H.; Kim, Bobby L.; Schafer, Nicholas P.; Wolynes, Peter G.

    2015-12-01

    We study the energy landscapes for membrane protein oligomerization using the Associative memory, Water mediated, Structure and Energy Model with an implicit membrane potential (AWSEM-membrane), a coarse-grained molecular dynamics model previously optimized under the assumption that the energy landscapes for folding α-helical membrane protein monomers are funneled once their native topology within the membrane is established. In this study we show that the AWSEM-membrane force field is able to sample near native binding interfaces of several oligomeric systems. By predicting candidate structures using simulated annealing, we further show that degeneracies in predicting structures of membrane protein monomers are generally resolved in the folding of the higher order assemblies as is the case in the assemblies of both nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and V-type Na+-ATPase dimers. The physics of the phenomenon resembles domain swapping, which is consistent with the landscape following the principle of minimal frustration. We revisit also the classic Khorana study of the reconstitution of bacteriorhodopsin from its fragments, which is the close analogue of the early Anfinsen experiment on globular proteins. Here, we show the retinal cofactor likely plays a major role in selecting the final functional assembly.

  19. Accurate prediction of cellular co-translational folding indicates proteins can switch from post- to co-translational folding.

    PubMed

    Nissley, Daniel A; Sharma, Ajeet K; Ahmed, Nabeel; Friedrich, Ulrike A; Kramer, Günter; Bukau, Bernd; O'Brien, Edward P

    2016-01-01

    The rates at which domains fold and codons are translated are important factors in determining whether a nascent protein will co-translationally fold and function or misfold and malfunction. Here we develop a chemical kinetic model that calculates a protein domain's co-translational folding curve during synthesis using only the domain's bulk folding and unfolding rates and codon translation rates. We show that this model accurately predicts the course of co-translational folding measured in vivo for four different protein molecules. We then make predictions for a number of different proteins in yeast and find that synonymous codon substitutions, which change translation-elongation rates, can switch some protein domains from folding post-translationally to folding co-translationally--a result consistent with previous experimental studies. Our approach explains essential features of co-translational folding curves and predicts how varying the translation rate at different codon positions along a transcript's coding sequence affects this self-assembly process. PMID:26887592

  20. Accurate prediction of cellular co-translational folding indicates proteins can switch from post- to co-translational folding

    PubMed Central

    Nissley, Daniel A.; Sharma, Ajeet K.; Ahmed, Nabeel; Friedrich, Ulrike A.; Kramer, Günter; Bukau, Bernd; O'Brien, Edward P.

    2016-01-01

    The rates at which domains fold and codons are translated are important factors in determining whether a nascent protein will co-translationally fold and function or misfold and malfunction. Here we develop a chemical kinetic model that calculates a protein domain's co-translational folding curve during synthesis using only the domain's bulk folding and unfolding rates and codon translation rates. We show that this model accurately predicts the course of co-translational folding measured in vivo for four different protein molecules. We then make predictions for a number of different proteins in yeast and find that synonymous codon substitutions, which change translation-elongation rates, can switch some protein domains from folding post-translationally to folding co-translationally—a result consistent with previous experimental studies. Our approach explains essential features of co-translational folding curves and predicts how varying the translation rate at different codon positions along a transcript's coding sequence affects this self-assembly process. PMID:26887592

  1. In silico study of amyloid -protein folding and oligomerization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Urbanc, B.; Cruz, L.; Yun, S.; Buldyrev, S. V.; Bitan, G.; Teplow, D. B.; Stanley, H. E.

    2004-12-01

    Experimental findings suggest that oligomeric forms of the amyloid protein (A) play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease. Thus, elucidating their structure and the mechanisms of their formation is critical for developing therapeutic agents. We use discrete molecular dynamics simulations and a four-bead protein model to study oligomerization of two predominant alloforms, A40 and A42, at the atomic level. The four-bead model incorporates backbone hydrogen-bond interactions and amino acid-specific interactions mediated through hydrophobic and hydrophilic elements of the side chains. During the simulations we observe monomer folding and aggregation of monomers into oligomers of variable sizes. A40 forms significantly more dimers than A42, whereas pentamers are significantly more abundant in A42 relative to A40. Structure analysis reveals a turn centered at Gly-37-Gly-38 that is present in a folded A42 monomer but not in a folded A40 monomer and is associated with the first contacts that form during monomer folding. Our results suggest that this turn plays an important role in A42 pentamer formation. A pentamers have a globular structure comprising hydrophobic residues within the pentamer's core and hydrophilic N-terminal residues at the surface of the pentamer. The N termini of A40 pentamers are more spatially restricted than A42 pentamers. A40 pentamers form a -strand structure involving Ala-2-Phe-4, which is absent in A42 pentamers. These structural differences imply a different degree of hydrophobic core exposure between pentamers of the two alloforms, with the hydrophobic core of the Aβ42 pentamer being more exposed and thus more prone to form larger oligomers.

  2. Mapping fast protein folding with multiple-site fluorescent probes

    PubMed Central

    Prigozhin, Maxim B.; Chao, Shu-Han; Sukenik, Shahar; Pogorelov, Taras V.; Gruebele, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Fast protein folding involves complex dynamics in many degrees of freedom, yet microsecond folding experiments provide only low-resolution structural information. We enhance the structural resolution of the five-helix bundle protein λ6–85 by engineering into it three fluorescent tryptophan–tyrosine contact probes. The probes report on distances between three different helix pairs: 1–2, 1–3, and 3–2. Temperature jump relaxation experiments on these three mutants reveal two different kinetic timescales: a slower timescale for 1–3 and a faster one for the two contacts involving helix 2. We hypothesize that these differences arise from a single folding mechanism that forms contacts on different timescales, and not from changes of mechanism due to adding the probes. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the corresponding three distances in one published single-trajectory all-atom molecular-dynamics simulation of a similar mutant. Autocorrelation analysis of the trajectory reveals the same “slow” and “fast” distance change as does experiment, but on a faster timescale; smoothing the trajectory in time shows that this ordering is robust and persists into the microsecond folding timescale. Structural investigation of the all-atom computational data suggests that helix 2 misfolds to produce a short-lived off-pathway trap, in agreement with the experimental finding that the 1–2 and 3–2 distances involving helix 2 contacts form a kinetic grouping distinct from 1 to 3. Our work demonstrates that comparison between experiment and simulation can be extended to several order parameters, providing a stronger mechanistic test. PMID:26080403

  3. Infrared and Fluorescence Assessment of Protein Dynamics: From Folding to Function.

    PubMed

    Ding, Bei; Hilaire, Mary Rose; Gai, Feng

    2016-06-16

    While folding or performing functions, a protein can sample a rich set of conformational space. However, experimentally capturing all of the important motions with sufficient detail to allow a mechanistic description of their dynamics is nontrivial since such conformational events often occur over a wide range of time and length scales. Therefore, many methods have been employed to assess protein conformational dynamics, and depending on the nature of the conformational transition in question, some may be more advantageous than others. Herein, we describe our recent efforts, and also those of others, wherever appropriate, to use infrared- and fluorescence-based techniques to interrogate protein folding and functional dynamics. Specifically, we focus on discussing how to use extrinsic spectroscopic probes to enhance the structural resolution of these techniques and how to exploit various cross-linking strategies to acquire dynamic and mechanistic information that was previously difficult to attain. PMID:27183318

  4. Exploring energy landscapes of protein folding and aggregation.

    PubMed

    Mousseau, Normand; Derreumaux, Philippe

    2008-01-01

    Human diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob's are associated with misfolding and aggregation of specific proteins into amyloid fibrils sharing a generic cross-beta structure. The self-assembly process is complex, but once a nucleus is formed, rapid fibril formation occurs. Insight into the structures of the oligomers during the lag phase, varying between hours and days, is very difficult experimentally because these species are transient, and numerically using all-atom molecular dynamics because the time scale explored is on the order of 10-100 ns. It is therefore important to develop simplified protein models and alternative methods to sample more efficiently the conformational space. In the past few years, we have developed the activation-relaxation technique (ART nouveau) coupled to the OPEP coarse-grained force field. This review reports the application of ART-OPEP on protein folding and aggregation. PMID:18508525

  5. Anomalous diffusion in folding dynamics of minimalist protein landscape.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Yasuhiro; Li, Chun-Biu; Komatsuzaki, Tamiki

    2007-12-01

    A novel method is proposed to quantify collectivity at different space and time scales in multiscale dynamics of proteins. This is based on the combination of the principal component (PC) and the concept recently developed for multiscale dynamical systems called the finite size Lyapunov exponent. The method can differentiate the well-known apparent correlation along the low-indexed PCs in multidimensional Brownian systems from the correlated motion inherent to the system. As an illustration, we apply the method to a model protein of 46 amino beads with three different types of residues. We show how the motion of the model protein changes depending on the space scales and the choices of degrees of freedom. In particular, anomalous superdiffusion is revealed along the low-indexed PC in the unfolded state. The implication of superdiffusion in the process of folding is also discussed. PMID:18233416

  6. Chemical, physical, and theoretical kinetics of an ultrafast folding protein

    PubMed Central

    Kubelka, Jan; Henry, Eric R.; Cellmer, Troy; Hofrichter, James; Eaton, William A.

    2008-01-01

    An extensive set of equilibrium and kinetic data is presented and analyzed for an ultrafast folding protein—the villin subdomain. The equilibrium data consist of the excess heat capacity, tryptophan fluorescence quantum yield, and natural circular-dichroism spectrum as a function of temperature, and the kinetic data consist of time courses of the quantum yield from nanosecond-laser temperature-jump experiments. The data are well fit with three kinds of models—a three-state chemical-kinetics model, a physical-kinetics model, and an Ising-like theoretical model that considers 105 possible conformations (microstates). In both the physical-kinetics and theoretical models, folding is described as diffusion on a one-dimensional free-energy surface. In the physical-kinetics model the reaction coordinate is unspecified, whereas in the theoretical model, order parameters, either the fraction of native contacts or the number of native residues, are used as reaction coordinates. The validity of these two reaction coordinates is demonstrated from calculation of the splitting probability from the rate matrix of the master equation for all 105 microstates. The analysis of the data on site-directed mutants using the chemical-kinetics model provides information on the structure of the transition-state ensemble; the physical-kinetics model allows an estimate of the height of the free-energy barrier separating the folded and unfolded states; and the theoretical model provides a detailed picture of the free-energy surface and a residue-by-residue description of the evolution of the folded structure, yet contains many fewer adjustable parameters than either the chemical- or physical-kinetics models. PMID:19033473

  7. Folding Behaviors of Protein (Lysozyme) Confined in Polyelectrolyte Complex Micelle.

    PubMed

    Wu, Fu-Gen; Jiang, Yao-Wen; Chen, Zhan; Yu, Zhi-Wu

    2016-04-19

    The folding/unfolding behavior of proteins (enzymes) in confined space is important for their properties and functions, but such a behavior remains largely unexplored. In this article, we reported our finding that lysozyme and a double hydrophilic block copolymer, methoxypoly(ethylene glycol)5K-block-poly(l-aspartic acid sodium salt)10 (mPEG(5K)-b-PLD10), can form a polyelectrolyte complex micelle with a particle size of ∼30 nm, as verified by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy. The unfolding and refolding behaviors of lysozyme molecules in the presence of the copolymer were studied by microcalorimetry and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Upon complex formation with mPEG(5K)-b-PLD10, lysozyme changed from its initial native state to a new partially unfolded state. Compared with its native state, this copolymer-complexed new folding state of lysozyme has different secondary and tertiary structures, a decreased thermostability, and significantly altered unfolding/refolding behaviors. It was found that the native lysozyme exhibited reversible unfolding and refolding upon heating and subsequent cooling, while lysozyme in the new folding state (complexed with the oppositely charged PLD segments of the polymer) could unfold upon heating but could not refold upon subsequent cooling. By employing the heating-cooling-reheating procedure, the prevention of complex formation between lysozyme and polymer due to the salt screening effect was observed, and the resulting uncomplexed lysozyme regained its proper unfolding and refolding abilities upon heating and subsequent cooling. Besides, we also pointed out the important role the length of the PLD segment played during the formation of micelles and the monodispersity of the formed micelles. Furthermore, the lysozyme-mPEG(5K)-b-PLD10 mixtures prepared in this work were all transparent, without the formation of large aggregates or precipitates in solution as frequently observed in other protein

  8. Protein folding in the cell envelope of Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    De Geyter, Jozefien; Tsirigotaki, Alexandra; Orfanoudaki, Georgia; Zorzini, Valentina; Economou, Anastassios; Karamanou, Spyridoula

    2016-01-01

    While the entire proteome is synthesized on cytoplasmic ribosomes, almost half associates with, localizes in or crosses the bacterial cell envelope. In Escherichia coli a variety of mechanisms are important for taking these polypeptides into or across the plasma membrane, maintaining them in soluble form, trafficking them to their correct cell envelope locations and then folding them into the right structures. The fidelity of these processes must be maintained under various environmental conditions including during stress; if this fails, proteases are called in to degrade mislocalized or aggregated proteins. Various soluble, diffusible chaperones (acting as holdases, foldases or pilotins) and folding catalysts are also utilized to restore proteostasis. These responses can be general, dealing with multiple polypeptides, with functional overlaps and operating within redundant networks. Other chaperones are specialized factors, dealing only with a few exported proteins. Several complex machineries have evolved to deal with binding to, integration in and crossing of the outer membrane. This complex protein network is responsible for fundamental cellular processes such as cell wall biogenesis; cell division; the export, uptake and degradation of molecules; and resistance against exogenous toxic factors. The underlying processes, contributing to our fundamental understanding of proteostasis, are a treasure trove for the development of novel antibiotics, biopharmaceuticals and vaccines. PMID:27573113

  9. Folding dynamics of a family of beta-sheet proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rousseau, Denis

    2008-03-01

    Fatty acid binding proteins (FABP) consist of ten anti-parallel beta strands and two small alpha helices. The beta strands are arranged into two nearly orthogonal five-strand beta sheets that surround the interior cavity, which binds unsaturated long-chain fatty acids. In the brain isoform (BFABP), these are very important for the development of the central nervous system and neuron differentiation. Furthermore, BFABP is implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of human diseases including cancer and neuronal degenerative disorders. In this work, site-directed spin labeling combined with EPR techniques have been used to study the folding mechanism of BFABP. In the first series of studies, we labeled the two Cys residues at position 5 and 80 in the wild type protein with an EPR spin marker; in addition, two singly labeled mutants at positions 5 and 80 in the C80A and C5A mutants, respectively, were also produced and used as controls. The changes in the distances between the two residues were examined by a pulsed EPR method, DEER (Double Electron Electron Resonance), as a function of guanidinium hydrochloride concentration. The results were compared with those from CW EPR, circular dichroism and fluorescence measurements, which provide the information regarding sidechain mobility, secondary structure and tertiary structure, respectively. The results will be discussed in the context of the folding mechanism of the family of fatty acid binding proteins.

  10. Engineering ecotin for identifying proteins with a trypsin fold.

    PubMed

    Sathler, Plínio C; Craik, Charles S; Takeuchi, Toshihiko; Zingali, Russolina B; Castro, Helena C

    2010-04-01

    Ecotin is a bidentate, fold-specific inhibitor of mammalian serine-proteases produced by Escherichia coli. This molecule may be engineered to increase and/or change its affinity and specificity providing significant biotechnological potential. Since ecotin binds tightly to serine proteases of the trypsin fold, it may help to identify the role of these enzymes in different biological processes. In this work, we tested ecotin variants as an affinity purification reagent for identifying enzymes in samples of tumor progression and mammary gland involution. Initially, we used a commercial source of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (u-PA) that remained fully active after elution from an affinity column of the ecotin variant (M84R, M85R). We then successfully identified u-PA from more complex mixtures including lysates from a prostate cancer cell line and involuting mouse mammary glands. Interestingly, a membrane-type serine protease 1 was isolated from the Triton X-100-solubilized PC-3 cell lysates, and surprisingly, haptoglobin, a serine-protease homolog protein, was also identified in mammary gland lysates and in blood. Haptoglobin does not prevent ecotin inhibition of u-PA, but it may act as a carrier within blood when ecotin is used in vivo. Finally, this affinity purification matrix was also able to identify a thrombin-like enzyme from snake venom using an ecotin variant directed against thrombin. Overall, the ecotin variants acted as robust tools for the isolation and characterization of proteins with a trypsin fold. Thus, they may assist in the understanding of the role of these serine proteases and homologous proteins in different biological processes. PMID:19728173

  11. Microsecond Microfluidic Mixing for Investigation of Protein Folding Kinetics

    SciTech Connect

    Hertzog, D E; Santiago, J G; Bakajin, O

    2003-06-25

    We have developed and characterized a mixer to study the reaction kinetics of protein folding on a microsecond timescale. The mixer uses hydrodynamic focusing of pressure-driven flow in a microfluidic channel to reduce diffusion times as first demonstrated by Knight et al.[1]. Features of the mixer include 1 {micro}s mixing times, sample consumptions of order 1 nl/s, loading sample volumes on the order of microliters, and the ability to manufacture in fused silica for compatibility with most spectroscopic methods.

  12. Microsecond Microfluidic Mixing for Investigation of Protein Folding Kinetics

    SciTech Connect

    Hertzog, D E; Santiago, J G; Bakajin, O

    2005-02-10

    We have developed and characterized a mixer to study the reaction kinetics of protein folding on a microsecond timescale. The mixer uses hydrodynamic focusing of pressure-driven flow in a microfluidic channel to reduce diffusion times as first demonstrated by Knight et al.[1]. Features of the mixer include 1 {micro}s mixing times, sample consumptions of order 1 nl/s, loading sample volumes on the order of microliters, and the ability to manufacture in fused silica for compatibility with most spectroscopic methods.

  13. Efficient fold-change detection based on protein-protein interactions.

    PubMed

    Buijsman, W; Sheinman, M

    2014-02-01

    Various biological sensory systems exhibit a response to a relative change of the stimulus, often referred to as fold-change detection. In the past few years, fold-change detecting mechanisms, based on transcriptional networks, have been proposed. Here we present a fold-change detecting mechanism, based on protein-protein interactions, consisting of two interacting proteins. This mechanism does not consume chemical energy and is not subject to transcriptional and translational noise, in contrast to previously proposed mechanisms. We show by analytical and numerical calculations that the mechanism is robust and can have a fast, precise, and efficient response for parameters that are relevant to eukaryotic cells. PMID:25353514

  14. Folding analysis of the most complex Stevedore’s protein knot

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Iren; Chen, Szu-Yu; Hsu, Shang-Te Danny

    2016-01-01

    DehI is a homodimeric haloacid dehalogenase from Pseudomonas putida that contains the most complex 61 Stevedore’s protein knot within its folding topology. To examine how DehI attains such an intricate knotted topology we combined far-UV circular dichroism (CD), intrinsic fluorescence spectroscopy and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to investigate its folding mechanism. Equilibrium unfolding of DehI by chemical denaturation indicated the presence of two highly populated folding intermediates, I and I’. While the two intermediates vary in secondary structure contents and tertiary packing according to CD and intrinsic fluorescence, respectively, their overall dimension and compactness are similar according to SAXS. Three single-tryptophan variants (W34, W53, and W196) were generated to probe non-cooperative unfolding events localized around the three fluorophores. Kinetic fluorescence measurements indicated that the transition from the intermediate I’ to the unfolded state is rate limiting. Our multiparametric folding analyses suggest that DehI unfolds through a linear folding pathway with two distinct folding intermediates by initial hydrophobic collapse followed by nucleation condensation, and that knotting precedes the formation of secondary structures. PMID:27527519

  15. A Protein Fold Switch Joins the Circadian Oscillator to Clock Output in Cyanobacteria

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Yong-Gang; Cohen, Susan E.; Phong, Connie; Myers, William K.; Kim, Yong-Ick; Tseng, Roger; Lin, Jenny; Zhang, Li; Boyd, Joseph S.; Lee, Yvonne; Kang, Shannon; Lee, David; Li, Sheng; Britt, R. David; Rust, Michael J.; Golden, Susan S.; LiWang, Andy

    2015-01-01

    Organisms are adapted to the relentless cycles of day and night, because they evolved timekeeping systems called circadian clocks, which regulate biological activities with ~24-h rhythms. The clock of cyanobacteria is driven by a three-protein oscillator comprised of KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC, which together generate a circadian rhythm of KaiC phosphorylation. We show that KaiB flips between two distinct three-dimensional folds, and its rare transition to an active state provides a time delay that is required to match the timing of the oscillator to that of earth’s rotation. Once KaiB switches folds, it binds phosphorylated KaiC and captures KaiA, initiating a phase transition of the circadian cycle, and regulates components of the clock-output pathway, providing the link that joins the timekeeping and signaling functions of the oscillator. PMID:26113641

  16. Circadian rhythms. A protein fold switch joins the circadian oscillator to clock output in cyanobacteria.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yong-Gang; Cohen, Susan E; Phong, Connie; Myers, William K; Kim, Yong-Ick; Tseng, Roger; Lin, Jenny; Zhang, Li; Boyd, Joseph S; Lee, Yvonne; Kang, Shannon; Lee, David; Li, Sheng; Britt, R David; Rust, Michael J; Golden, Susan S; LiWang, Andy

    2015-07-17

    Organisms are adapted to the relentless cycles of day and night, because they evolved timekeeping systems called circadian clocks, which regulate biological activities with ~24-hour rhythms. The clock of cyanobacteria is driven by a three-protein oscillator composed of KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC, which together generate a circadian rhythm of KaiC phosphorylation. We show that KaiB flips between two distinct three-dimensional folds, and its rare transition to an active state provides a time delay that is required to match the timing of the oscillator to that of Earth's rotation. Once KaiB switches folds, it binds phosphorylated KaiC and captures KaiA, which initiates a phase transition of the circadian cycle, and it regulates components of the clock-output pathway, which provides the link that joins the timekeeping and signaling functions of the oscillator. PMID:26113641

  17. When fast is better: protein folding fundamentals and mechanisms from ultrafast approaches

    PubMed Central

    Muñoz, Victor; Cerminara, Michele

    2016-01-01

    Protein folding research stalled for decades because conventional experiments indicated that proteins fold slowly and in single strokes, whereas theory predicted a complex interplay between dynamics and energetics resulting in myriad microscopic pathways. Ultrafast kinetic methods turned the field upside down by providing the means to probe fundamental aspects of folding, test theoretical predictions and benchmark simulations. Accordingly, experimentalists could measure the timescales for all relevant folding motions, determine the folding speed limit and confirm that folding barriers are entropic bottlenecks. Moreover, a catalogue of proteins that fold extremely fast (microseconds) could be identified. Such fast-folding proteins cross shallow free energy barriers or fold downhill, and thus unfold with minimal co-operativity (gradually). A new generation of thermodynamic methods has exploited this property to map folding landscapes, interaction networks and mechanisms at nearly atomic resolution. In parallel, modern molecular dynamics simulations have finally reached the timescales required to watch fast-folding proteins fold and unfold in silico. All of these findings have buttressed the fundamentals of protein folding predicted by theory, and are now offering the first glimpses at the underlying mechanisms. Fast folding appears to also have functional implications as recent results connect downhill folding with intrinsically disordered proteins, their complex binding modes and ability to moonlight. These connections suggest that the coupling between downhill (un)folding and binding enables such protein domains to operate analogically as conformational rheostats. PMID:27574021

  18. When fast is better: protein folding fundamentals and mechanisms from ultrafast approaches.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Victor; Cerminara, Michele

    2016-09-01

    Protein folding research stalled for decades because conventional experiments indicated that proteins fold slowly and in single strokes, whereas theory predicted a complex interplay between dynamics and energetics resulting in myriad microscopic pathways. Ultrafast kinetic methods turned the field upside down by providing the means to probe fundamental aspects of folding, test theoretical predictions and benchmark simulations. Accordingly, experimentalists could measure the timescales for all relevant folding motions, determine the folding speed limit and confirm that folding barriers are entropic bottlenecks. Moreover, a catalogue of proteins that fold extremely fast (microseconds) could be identified. Such fast-folding proteins cross shallow free energy barriers or fold downhill, and thus unfold with minimal co-operativity (gradually). A new generation of thermodynamic methods has exploited this property to map folding landscapes, interaction networks and mechanisms at nearly atomic resolution. In parallel, modern molecular dynamics simulations have finally reached the timescales required to watch fast-folding proteins fold and unfold in silico All of these findings have buttressed the fundamentals of protein folding predicted by theory, and are now offering the first glimpses at the underlying mechanisms. Fast folding appears to also have functional implications as recent results connect downhill folding with intrinsically disordered proteins, their complex binding modes and ability to moonlight. These connections suggest that the coupling between downhill (un)folding and binding enables such protein domains to operate analogically as conformational rheostats. PMID:27574021

  19. Expanding the proteome: disordered and alternatively-folded proteins

    PubMed Central

    Dyson, H. Jane

    2011-01-01

    Proteins provide much of the scaffolding for life, as well as undertaking a variety of essential catalytic reactions. These characteristic functions have led us to presuppose that proteins are in general functional only when well-structured and correctly folded. As we begin to explore the repertoire of possible protein sequences inherent in the human and other genomes, two stark facts that belie this supposition become clear: firstly, the number of apparent open reading frames in the human genome is significantly smaller than appears to be necessary to code for all of the diverse proteins in higher organisms, and secondly that a significant proportion of the protein sequences that would be coded by the genome would not be expected to form stable three-dimensional structures. Clearly the genome must include coding for a multitude of alternative forms of proteins, some of which may be partly or fully disordered or incompletely structured in their functional states. At the same time as this likelihood was recognized, experimental studies also began to uncover examples of important protein molecules and domains that were incompletely structured or completely disordered in solution, yet remained perfectly functional. In the ensuing years, we have seen an explosion of experimental and genome-annotation studies that have mapped the extent of the intrinsic disorder phenomenon and explored the possible biological rationales for its widespread occurrence. Answers to the question “why would a particular domain need to be unstructured?” are as varied as the systems where such domains are found. This review provides a survey of recent new directions in this field, and includes an evaluation of the role not only of intrinsically disordered proteins but of partially structured and highly dynamic members of the disorder-order continuum. PMID:21729349

  20. Expanding the proteome: disordered and alternatively folded proteins.

    PubMed

    Dyson, H Jane

    2011-11-01

    Proteins provide much of the scaffolding for life, as well as undertaking a variety of essential catalytic reactions. These characteristic functions have led us to presuppose that proteins are in general functional only when well structured and correctly folded. As we begin to explore the repertoire of possible protein sequences inherent in the human and other genomes, two stark facts that belie this supposition become clear: firstly, the number of apparent open reading frames in the human genome is significantly smaller than appears to be necessary to code for all of the diverse proteins in higher organisms, and secondly that a significant proportion of the protein sequences that would be coded by the genome would not be expected to form stable three-dimensional (3D) structures. Clearly the genome must include coding for a multitude of alternative forms of proteins, some of which may be partly or fully disordered or incompletely structured in their functional states. At the same time as this likelihood was recognized, experimental studies also began to uncover examples of important protein molecules and domains that were incompletely structured or completely disordered in solution, yet remained perfectly functional. In the ensuing years, we have seen an explosion of experimental and genome-annotation studies that have mapped the extent of the intrinsic disorder phenomenon and explored the possible biological rationales for its widespread occurrence. Answers to the question 'why would a particular domain need to be unstructured?' are as varied as the systems where such domains are found. This review provides a survey of recent new directions in this field, and includes an evaluation of the role not only of intrinsically disordered proteins but also of partially structured and highly dynamic members of the disorder-order continuum. PMID:21729349

  1. Highly anomalous energetics of protein cold denaturation linked to folding-unfolding kinetics.

    PubMed

    Romero-Romero, M Luisa; Inglés-Prieto, Alvaro; Ibarra-Molero, Beatriz; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose M

    2011-01-01

    Despite several careful experimental analyses, it is not yet clear whether protein cold-denaturation is just a "mirror image" of heat denaturation or whether it shows unique structural and energetic features. Here we report that, for a well-characterized small protein, heat denaturation and cold denaturation show dramatically different experimental energetic patterns. Specifically, while heat denaturation is endothermic, the cold transition (studied in the folding direction) occurs with negligible heat effect, in a manner seemingly akin to a gradual, second-order-like transition. We show that this highly anomalous energetics is actually an apparent effect associated to a large folding/unfolding free energy barrier and that it ultimately reflects kinetic stability, a naturally-selected trait in many protein systems. Kinetics thus emerges as an important factor linked to differential features of cold denaturation. We speculate that kinetic stabilization against cold denaturation may play a role in cold adaptation of psychrophilic organisms. Furthermore, we suggest that folding-unfolding kinetics should be taken into account when analyzing in vitro cold-denaturation experiments, in particular those carried out in the absence of destabilizing conditions. PMID:21829584

  2. Wang-Landau sampling of the interplay between surface adsorption and folding of HP lattice proteins

    SciTech Connect

    Li, Ying Wai; Wuest, Thomas; Landau, David P

    2014-01-01

    Generic features associated with the adsorption of proteins on solid surfaces are reviewed within the framework of the hydrophobic-polar (HP) lattice protein model. The thermodynamic behavior and structural properties of various HP protein sequences interacting with attractive surfaces have been studied using extensive Wang-Landau sampling with different types of surfaces, each of which attracts either: all monomers, only hydrophobic (H) monomers, or only polar (P) monomers, respectively. Consequently, different types of folding behavior occur for varied surface strengths. Analysis of the combined patterns of various structural observables, e.g., the derivatives of the numbers of interaction contacts, together with the specific heat, leads to the identification of fundamental categories of folding and transition hierarchies. We also inferred a connection between the transition categories and the relative surface strengths, i.e., the ratios of the surface attractive strengths to the intra-chain attraction among H monomers. We thus believe that the folding hierarchies and identification scheme are generic for different HP sequences interacting with attractive surfaces, regardless of the chain length, sequence, or surface attraction.

  3. Species-specific protein sequence and fold optimizations

    PubMed Central

    Dumontier, Michel; Michalickova, Katerina; Hogue, Christopher WV

    2002-01-01

    Background An organism's ability to adapt to its particular environmental niche is of fundamental importance to its survival and proliferation. In the largest study of its kind, we sought to identify and exploit the amino-acid signatures that make species-specific protein adaptation possible across 100 complete genomes. Results Environmental niche was determined to be a significant factor in variability from correspondence analysis using the amino acid composition of over 360,000 predicted open reading frames (ORFs) from 17 archae, 76 bacteria and 7 eukaryote complete genomes. Additionally, we found clusters of phylogenetically unrelated archae and bacteria that share similar environments by amino acid composition clustering. Composition analyses of conservative, domain-based homology modeling suggested an enrichment of small hydrophobic residues Ala, Gly, Val and charged residues Asp, Glu, His and Arg across all genomes. However, larger aromatic residues Phe, Trp and Tyr are reduced in folds, and these results were not affected by low complexity biases. We derived two simple log-odds scoring functions from ORFs (CG) and folds (CF) for each of the complete genomes. CF achieved an average cross-validation success rate of 85 ± 8% whereas the CG detected 73 ± 9% species-specific sequences when competing against all other non-redundant CG. Continuously updated results are available at . Conclusion Our analysis of amino acid compositions from the complete genomes provides stronger evidence for species-specific and environmental residue preferences in genomic sequences as well as in folds. Scoring functions derived from this work will be useful in future protein engineering experiments and possibly in identifying horizontal transfer events. PMID:12487631

  4. Fold homology detection using sequence fragment composition profiles of proteins.

    PubMed

    Solis, Armando D; Rackovsky, Shalom R

    2010-10-01

    The effectiveness of sequence alignment in detecting structural homology among protein sequences decreases markedly when pairwise sequence identity is low (the so-called "twilight zone" problem of sequence alignment). Alternative sequence comparison strategies able to detect structural kinship among highly divergent sequences are necessary to address this need. Among them are alignment-free methods, which use global sequence properties (such as amino acid composition) to identify structural homology in a rapid and straightforward way. We explore the viability of using tetramer sequence fragment composition profiles in finding structural relationships that lie undetected by traditional alignment. We establish a strategy to recast any given protein sequence into a tetramer sequence fragment composition profile, using a series of amino acid clustering steps that have been optimized for mutual information. Our method has the effect of compressing the set of 160,000 unique tetramers (if using the 20-letter amino acid alphabet) into a more tractable number of reduced tetramers (approximately 15-30), so that a meaningful tetramer composition profile can be constructed. We test remote homology detection at the topology and fold superfamily levels using a comprehensive set of fold homologs, culled from the CATH database that share low pairwise sequence similarity. Using the receiver-operating characteristic measure, we demonstrate potentially significant improvement in using information-optimized reduced tetramer composition, over methods relying only on the raw amino acid composition or on traditional sequence alignment, in homology detection at or below the "twilight zone". PMID:20635424

  5. A framework for describing topological frustration in models of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Norcross, Todd S; Yeates, Todd O

    2006-09-22

    In a natively folded protein of moderate or larger size, the protein backbone may weave through itself in complex ways, raising questions about what sequence of events might have to occur in order for the protein to reach its native configuration from the unfolded state. A mathematical framework is presented here for describing the notion of a topological folding barrier, which occurs when a protein chain must pass through a hole or opening, formed by other regions of the protein structure. Different folding pathways encounter different numbers of such barriers and therefore different degrees of frustration. A dynamic programming algorithm finds the optimal theoretical folding path and minimal degree of frustration for a protein based on its natively folded configuration. Calculations over a database of protein structures provide insights into questions such as whether the path of minimal frustration might tend to favor folding from one or from many sites of folding nucleation, or whether proteins favor folding around the N terminus, thereby providing support for the hypothesis that proteins fold co-translationally. The computational methods are applied to a multi-disulfide bonded protein, with computational findings that are consistent with the experimentally observed folding pathway. Attention is drawn to certain complex protein folds for which the computational method suggests there may be a preferred site of nucleation or where folding is likely to proceed through a relatively well-defined pathway or intermediate. The computational analyses lead to testable models for protein folding. PMID:16930616

  6. Stepwise protein folding at near amino acid resolution by hydrogen exchange and mass spectrometry

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Wenbing; Walters, Benjamin T.; Kan, Zhong-Yuan; Mayne, Leland; Rosen, Laura E.; Marqusee, Susan; Englander, S. Walter

    2013-01-01

    The kinetic folding of ribonuclease H was studied by hydrogen exchange (HX) pulse labeling with analysis by an advanced fragment separation mass spectrometry technology. The results show that folding proceeds through distinct intermediates in a stepwise pathway that sequentially incorporates cooperative native-like structural elements to build the native protein. Each step is seen as a concerted transition of one or more segments from an HX-unprotected to an HX-protected state. Deconvolution of the data to near amino acid resolution shows that each step corresponds to the folding of a secondary structural element of the native protein, termed a “foldon.” Each folded segment is retained through subsequent steps of foldon addition, revealing a stepwise buildup of the native structure via a single dominant pathway. Analysis of the pertinent literature suggests that this model is consistent with experimental results for many proteins and some current theoretical results. Two biophysical principles appear to dictate this behavior. The principle of cooperativity determines the central role of native-like foldon units. An interaction principle termed “sequential stabilization” based on native-like interfoldon interactions orders the pathway. PMID:23603271

  7. Stepwise protein folding at near amino acid resolution by hydrogen exchange and mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Hu, Wenbing; Walters, Benjamin T; Kan, Zhong-Yuan; Mayne, Leland; Rosen, Laura E; Marqusee, Susan; Englander, S Walter

    2013-05-01

    The kinetic folding of ribonuclease H was studied by hydrogen exchange (HX) pulse labeling with analysis by an advanced fragment separation mass spectrometry technology. The results show that folding proceeds through distinct intermediates in a stepwise pathway that sequentially incorporates cooperative native-like structural elements to build the native protein. Each step is seen as a concerted transition of one or more segments from an HX-unprotected to an HX-protected state. Deconvolution of the data to near amino acid resolution shows that each step corresponds to the folding of a secondary structural element of the native protein, termed a "foldon." Each folded segment is retained through subsequent steps of foldon addition, revealing a stepwise buildup of the native structure via a single dominant pathway. Analysis of the pertinent literature suggests that this model is consistent with experimental results for many proteins and some current theoretical results. Two biophysical principles appear to dictate this behavior. The principle of cooperativity determines the central role of native-like foldon units. An interaction principle termed "sequential stabilization" based on native-like interfoldon interactions orders the pathway. PMID:23603271

  8. Assessment of Local Friction in Protein Folding Dynamics Using a Helix Cross-Linker

    PubMed Central

    Markiewicz, Beatrice N.; Jo, Hyunil; Culik, Robert M.; DeGrado, William F.; Gai, Feng

    2013-01-01

    Internal friction arising from local steric hindrance and/or the excluded volume effect plays an important role in controlling not only the dynamics of protein folding but also conformational transitions occurring within the native state potential well. However, experimental assessment of such local friction is difficult because it does not manifest itself as an independent experimental observable. Herein, we demonstrate, using the miniprotein trp-cage as a testbed, that it is possible to selectively increase the local mass density in a protein and hence the magnitude of local friction, thus making its effect directly measureable via folding kinetic studies. Specifically, we show that when a helix cross-linker, m-xylene, is placed near the most congested region of the trp-cage it leads to a significant decrease in both the folding rate (by a factor of 3.8) and unfolding rate (by a factor of 2.5 at 35 °C), but has little effect on protein stability. Thus, these results, in conjunction with those obtained with another cross-linked trp-cage and two uncross-linked variants, demonstrate the feasibility of using a non-perturbing cross-linker to help quantify the effect of internal friction. In addition, we estimate that an m-xylene cross-linker could lead to an increase in the roughness of the folding energy landscape by as much as 0.4-1.0kBT. PMID:24205975

  9. Conformational propensities of intrinsically disordered proteins influence the mechanism of binding and folding

    PubMed Central

    Arai, Munehito; Sugase, Kenji; Dyson, H. Jane; Wright, Peter E.

    2015-01-01

    Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) frequently function in protein interaction networks that regulate crucial cellular signaling pathways. Many IDPs undergo transitions from disordered conformational ensembles to folded structures upon binding to their cellular targets. Several possible binding mechanisms for coupled folding and binding have been identified: folding of the IDP after association with the target (“induced fit”), or binding of a prefolded state in the conformational ensemble of the IDP to the target protein (“conformational selection”), or some combination of these two extremes. The interaction of the intrinsically disordered phosphorylated kinase-inducible domain (pKID) of the cAMP-response element binding (CREB) protein with the KIX domain of a general transcriptional coactivator CREB-binding protein (CBP) provides an example of the induced-fit mechanism. Here we show by NMR relaxation dispersion experiments that a different intrinsically disordered ligand, the transactivation domain of the transcription factor c-Myb, interacts with KIX at the same site as pKID but via a different binding mechanism that involves elements of conformational selection and induced fit. In contrast to pKID, the c-Myb activation domain has a strong propensity for spontaneous helix formation in its N-terminal region, which binds to KIX in a predominantly folded conformation. The C-terminal region of c-Myb exhibits a much smaller helical propensity and likely folds via an induced-fit process after binding to KIX. We propose that the intrinsic secondary structure propensities of pKID and c-Myb determine their binding mechanisms, consistent with their functions as inducible and constitutive transcriptional activators. PMID:26195786

  10. Classification of chemical chaperones based on their effect on protein folding landscapes.

    PubMed

    Dandage, Rohan; Bandyopadhyay, Anannya; Jayaraj, Gopal Gunanathan; Saxena, Kanika; Dalal, Vijit; Das, Aritri; Chakraborty, Kausik

    2015-03-20

    Various small molecules present in biological systems can assist protein folding in vitro and are known as chemical chaperones. De novo design of chemical chaperones with higher activity than currently known examples is desirable to ameliorate protein misfolding and aggregation in multiple contexts. However, this development has been hindered by limited knowledge of their activities. It is thought that chemical chaperones are typically poor solvents for a protein backbone and hence facilitate native structure formation. However, it is unknown if different chemical chaperones can act differently to modulate folding energy landscapes. Using a model slow folding protein, double-mutant Maltose-binding protein (DM-MBP), we show that a canonical chemical chaperone, trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), accelerates refolding by decreasing the flexibility of the refolding intermediate (RI). Among a number of small molecules that chaperone DM-MBP folding, proline and serine stabilize the transition state (TS) enthalpically, while trehalose behaves like TMAO and increases the rate of barrier crossing through nonenthalpic processes. We propose a two-group classification of chemical chaperones based upon their thermodynamic effect on RI and TS, which is also supported by single molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) studies. Interestingly, for a different test protein, the molecular mechanisms of the two groups of chaperones are not conserved. This provides a glimpse into the complexity of chemical chaperoning activity of osmolytes. Future work would allow us to engineer synergism between the two classes to design more efficient chemical chaperones to ameliorate protein misfolding and aggregation problems. PMID:25493352

  11. Structural Conservation of the Myoviridae Phage Tail Sheath Protein Fold

    SciTech Connect

    Aksyuk, Anastasia A.; Kurochkina, Lidia P.; Fokine, Andrei; Forouhar, Farhad; Mesyanzhinov, Vadim V.; Tong, Liang; Rossmann, Michael G.

    2012-02-21

    Bacteriophage phiKZ is a giant phage that infects Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a human pathogen. The phiKZ virion consists of a 1450 {angstrom} diameter icosahedral head and a 2000 {angstrom}-long contractile tail. The structure of the whole virus was previously reported, showing that its tail organization in the extended state is similar to the well-studied Myovirus bacteriophage T4 tail. The crystal structure of a tail sheath protein fragment of phiKZ was determined to 2.4 {angstrom} resolution. Furthermore, crystal structures of two prophage tail sheath proteins were determined to 1.9 and 3.3 {angstrom} resolution. Despite low sequence identity between these proteins, all of these structures have a similar fold. The crystal structure of the phiKZ tail sheath protein has been fitted into cryo-electron-microscopy reconstructions of the extended tail sheath and of a polysheath. The structural rearrangement of the phiKZ tail sheath contraction was found to be similar to that of phage T4.

  12. Protein Motions and Folding Investigated by NMR Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palmer, Arthur

    2002-03-01

    NMR spin relaxation spectroscopy is a powerful experimental approach for globally characterizing conformational dynamics of proteins in solution. Laboratory frame relaxation measurements are sensitive to overall rotational diffusion and internal motions on picosecond-nanosecond time scales, while rotating frame relaxation measurements are sensitive to chemical exchange processes on microsecond-millisecond time scales. The former approach is illustrated by ^15N laboratory-frame relaxation experiments as a function of temperature for the helical subdomain HP36 of the F-actin-binding headpiece domain of chicken villin. The data are analyzed using the model-free formalism to characterize order parameters and effective correlation times for intramolecular motions of individual ^15N sites. The latter approach is illustrated by ^13C Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill relaxation measurements for the de novo designed α_2D protein and by ^15N rotating-frame relaxation measurements for the peripheral subunit-binding domain (PSBD) from the dihydrolopoamide acetyltransferase component of the pyruvate dehydrogenase multienzyme complex from Bacillus stearothermophilus. These experiments are used to determine the folding and unfolding kinetic rate constants for the two proteins. The results for HP36, α_2D, and PSBD illustrate the capability of current NMR methods for characterizing dynamic processes on multiple time scales in proteins.

  13. Application of Time-Resolved Tryptophan Phosphorescence Spectroscopy to Protein Folding Studies.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Subramaniam, Vinod

    This thesis presents studies of the protein folding problem, one of the most significant questions in contemporary biophysics. Sensitive biophysical techniques, including room temperature tryptophan phosphorescence, which reports on the local environment of the residue, and the lability of proteins to denaturation, a global parameter, were used to assess the validity of the traditional assumption that the biologically active state of a protein is the 'native' state, and to determine whether the pathways of folding in vitro lead to the folded state achieved in vivo. Phosphorescence techniques have also been extended to study, for the first time, emission from tryptophan residues engineered into specific positions as reporters of protein structure. During in vitro refolding of E. coli alkaline phosphatase and bovine 13-lactoglobulin, significant differences were found between the refolded proteins and the native conformations, which have no apparent effect on the biological functions. Slow conformational transitions, termed 'annealing,' that occur long after the return of enzyme activity of alkaline phosphatase are manifested in the retarded recovery of phosphorescence intensity, lifetime, and protein lability. While 'annealing' is not observed for beta -lactoglobulin, both phosphorescence and lability experiments reveal changes in the structure of the refolded protein, even though its biological activity, retinol binding, is fully recovered. This result suggests that the pathways of folding in vitro need not lead to the structure formed in vivo. We have used phosphorescence techniques to study the refolding of ribonuclease T1, which exhibits slow kinetics characteristic of proline isomerization. Furthermore, the ability to extract structural information from phosphorescent tryptophan probes engineered into selected regions represents an important advance in studying protein structure; we have reported the first such results from a mutant staphylococcal nuclease. The

  14. Automated protein fold determination using a minimal NMR constraint strategy

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Deyou; Huang, Yuanpeng J.; Moseley, Hunter N.B.; Xiao, Rong; Aramini, James; Swapna, G.V.T.; Montelione, Gaetano T.

    2003-01-01

    Determination of precise and accurate protein structures by NMR generally requires weeks or even months to acquire and interpret all the necessary NMR data. However, even medium-accuracy fold information can often provide key clues about protein evolution and biochemical function(s). In this article we describe a largely automatic strategy for rapid determination of medium-accuracy protein backbone structures. Our strategy derives from ideas originally introduced by other groups for determining medium-accuracy NMR structures of large proteins using deuterated, 13C-, 15N-enriched protein samples with selective protonation of side-chain methyl groups (13CH3). Data collection includes acquiring NMR spectra for automatically determining assignments of backbone and side-chain 15N, HN resonances, and side-chain 13CH3 methyl resonances. These assignments are determined automatically by the program AutoAssign using backbone triple resonance NMR data, together with Spin System Type Assignment Constraints (STACs) derived from side-chain triple-resonance experiments. The program AutoStructure then derives conformational constraints using these chemical shifts, amide 1H/2H exchange, nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy (NOESY), and residual dipolar coupling data. The total time required for collecting such NMR data can potentially be as short as a few days. Here we demonstrate an integrated set of NMR software which can process these NMR spectra, carry out resonance assignments, interpret NOESY data, and generate medium-accuracy structures within a few days. The feasibility of this combined data collection and analysis strategy starting from raw NMR time domain data was illustrated by automatic analysis of a medium accuracy structure of the Z domain of Staphylococcal protein A. PMID:12761394

  15. A Simple and Effective Protein Folding Activity Suitable for Large Lectures

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Brian

    2006-01-01

    This article describes a simple and inexpensive hands-on simulation of protein folding suitable for use in large lecture classes. This activity uses a minimum of parts, tools, and skill to simulate some of the fundamental principles of protein folding. The major concepts targeted are that proteins begin as linear polypeptides and fold to…

  16. A Hooke׳s law-based approach to protein folding rate.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Blanco, Yasser B; Marrero-Ponce, Yovani; Prieto, Pablo J; Salgado, Jesús; García, Yamila; Sotomayor-Torres, Clivia M

    2015-01-01

    Kinetics is a key aspect of the renowned protein folding problem. Here, we propose a comprehensive approach to folding kinetics where a polypeptide chain is assumed to behave as an elastic material described by the Hooke׳s law. A novel parameter called elastic-folding constant results from our model and is suggested to distinguish between protein with two-state and multi-state folding pathways. A contact-free descriptor, named folding degree, is introduced as a suitable structural feature to study protein-folding kinetics. This approach generalizes the observed correlations between varieties of structural descriptors with the folding rate constant. Additionally several comparisons among structural classes and folding mechanisms were carried out showing the good performance of our model with proteins of different types. The present model constitutes a simple rationale for the structural and energetic factors involved in protein folding kinetics. PMID:25245368

  17. A simple quantitative model of macromolecular crowding effects on protein folding: Application to the murine prion protein(121-231)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergasa-Caceres, Fernando; Rabitz, Herschel A.

    2013-06-01

    A model of protein folding kinetics is applied to study the effects of macromolecular crowding on protein folding rate and stability. Macromolecular crowding is found to promote a decrease of the entropic cost of folding of proteins that produces an increase of both the stability and the folding rate. The acceleration of the folding rate due to macromolecular crowding is shown to be a topology-dependent effect. The model is applied to the folding dynamics of the murine prion protein (121-231). The differential effect of macromolecular crowding as a function of protein topology suffices to make non-native configurations relatively more accessible.

  18. Generic Coarse-Grained Model for Protein Folding and Aggregation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bereau, Tristan; Deserno, Markus

    2009-03-01

    The complexity involved in protein structure is not only due to the rich variety of amino acids, but also the inherent weak interactions, comparable to thermal energy, and important cooperative phenomena. This presents a challenge in atomistic simulations, as it is associated with high-dimensionality and ruggedness of the energy landscape as well as long equilibration times. We have recently developed a coarse-grained (CG) implicit solvent peptide model which has been designed to reproduce key consequences of the abovementioned weak interactions. Its intermediate level of resolution, four beads per amino acid, allows for accurate sampling of local conformations by designing a force field that relies on simple interactions. A realistic ratio of α-helix to β-sheet content is achieved by mimicking a nearest-neighbor dipole interaction. We tune the model in order to fold helical proteins while systematically comparing the structure with NMR data. Very good agreement is achieved for proteins that have simple tertiary structures. We further probe the effects of cooperativity between amino acids by looking at peptide aggregation, where hydrophobic peptide fragments cooperatively form large-scale β-sheet structures. The model is able to reproduce features from atomistic simulations on a qualitative basis.

  19. Initial assembly steps of a translocase for folded proteins

    PubMed Central

    Blümmel, Anne-Sophie; Haag, Laura A.; Eimer, Ekaterina; Müller, Matthias; Fröbel, Julia

    2015-01-01

    The so-called Tat (twin-arginine translocation) system transports completely folded proteins across cellular membranes of archaea, prokaryotes and plant chloroplasts. Tat-directed proteins are distinguished by a conserved twin-arginine (RR-) motif in their signal sequences. Many Tat systems are based on the membrane proteins TatA, TatB and TatC, of which TatB and TatC are known to cooperate in binding RR-signal peptides and to form higher-order oligomeric structures. We have now elucidated the fine architecture of TatBC oligomers assembled to form closed intramembrane substrate-binding cavities. The identification of distinct homonymous and heteronymous contacts between TatB and TatC suggest that TatB monomers coalesce into dome-like TatB structures that are surrounded by outer rings of TatC monomers. We also show that these TatBC complexes are approached by TatA protomers through their N-termini, which thereby establish contacts with TatB and membrane-inserted RR-precursors. PMID:26068441

  20. Unexpected fold in the circumsporozoite protein target of malaria vaccines

    SciTech Connect

    Doud, Michael B.; Koksal, Adem C.; Mi, Li-Zhi; Song, Gaojie; Lu, Chafen; Springer, Timothy A.

    2012-10-09

    Circumsporozoite (CS) protein is the major surface component of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites and is essential for host cell invasion. A vaccine containing tandem repeats, region III, and thrombospondin type-I repeat (TSR) of CS is efficacious in phase III trials but gives only a 35% reduction in severe malaria in the first year postimmunization. We solved crystal structures showing that region III and TSR fold into a single unit, an '{alpha}TSR' domain. The {alpha}TSR domain possesses a hydrophobic pocket and core, missing in TSR domains. CS binds heparin, but {alpha}TSR does not. Interestingly, polymorphic T-cell epitopes map to specialized {alpha}TSR regions. The N and C termini are unexpectedly close, providing clues for sporozoite sheath organization. Elucidation of a unique structure of a domain within CS enables rational design of next-generation subunit vaccines and functional and medicinal chemical investigation of the conserved hydrophobic pocket.

  1. Hydration and protein folding in water and in reverse micelles: compressibility and volume changes.

    PubMed

    Valdez, D; Le Huérou, J Y; Gindre, M; Urbach, W; Waks, M

    2001-06-01

    The partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility of proteins reflect the hydration properties of the solvent-exposed protein surface, as well as changes in conformational states. Reverse micelles, or water-in-oil microemulsions, are protein-sized, optically-clear microassemblies in which hydration can be experimentally controlled. We explore, by densimetry and ultrasound velocimetry, three basic proteins: cytochrome c, lysozyme, and myelin basic protein in reverse micelles made of sodium bis (2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate, water, and isooctane and in aqueous solvents. For comparison, we use beta-lactoglobulin (pI = 5.1) as a reference protein. We examine the partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility of the proteins at increasing levels of micellar hydration. For the lowest water content compatible with complete solubilization, all proteins display their highest compressibility values, independent of their amino acid sequence and charge. These values lie within the range of empirical intrinsic protein compressibility estimates. In addition, we obtain volumetric data for the transition of myelin basic protein from its initially unfolded state in water free of denaturants, to a folded, compact conformation within the water-controlled microenvironment of reverse micelles. These results disclose yet another aspect of the protein structural properties observed in membrane-mimetic molecular assemblies. PMID:11371450

  2. Hydration and protein folding in water and in reverse micelles: compressibility and volume changes.

    PubMed Central

    Valdez, D; Le Huérou, J Y; Gindre, M; Urbach, W; Waks, M

    2001-01-01

    The partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility of proteins reflect the hydration properties of the solvent-exposed protein surface, as well as changes in conformational states. Reverse micelles, or water-in-oil microemulsions, are protein-sized, optically-clear microassemblies in which hydration can be experimentally controlled. We explore, by densimetry and ultrasound velocimetry, three basic proteins: cytochrome c, lysozyme, and myelin basic protein in reverse micelles made of sodium bis (2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate, water, and isooctane and in aqueous solvents. For comparison, we use beta-lactoglobulin (pI = 5.1) as a reference protein. We examine the partial specific volume and adiabatic compressibility of the proteins at increasing levels of micellar hydration. For the lowest water content compatible with complete solubilization, all proteins display their highest compressibility values, independent of their amino acid sequence and charge. These values lie within the range of empirical intrinsic protein compressibility estimates. In addition, we obtain volumetric data for the transition of myelin basic protein from its initially unfolded state in water free of denaturants, to a folded, compact conformation within the water-controlled microenvironment of reverse micelles. These results disclose yet another aspect of the protein structural properties observed in membrane-mimetic molecular assemblies. PMID:11371450

  3. Misplaced helix slows down ultrafast pressure-jump protein folding.

    PubMed

    Prigozhin, Maxim B; Liu, Yanxin; Wirth, Anna Jean; Kapoor, Shobhna; Winter, Roland; Schulten, Klaus; Gruebele, Martin

    2013-05-14

    Using a newly developed microsecond pressure-jump apparatus, we monitor the refolding kinetics of the helix-stabilized five-helix bundle protein λ*YA, the Y22W/Q33Y/G46,48A mutant of λ-repressor fragment 6-85, from 3 μs to 5 ms after a 1,200-bar P-drop. In addition to a microsecond phase, we observe a slower 1.4-ms phase during refolding to the native state. Unlike temperature denaturation, pressure denaturation produces a highly reversible helix-coil-rich state. This difference highlights the importance of the denatured initial condition in folding experiments and leads us to assign a compact nonnative helical trap as the reason for slower P-jump-induced refolding. To complement the experiments, we performed over 50 μs of all-atom molecular dynamics P-drop refolding simulations with four different force fields. Two of the force fields yield compact nonnative states with misplaced α-helix content within a few microseconds of the P-drop. Our overall conclusion from experiment and simulation is that the pressure-denatured state of λ*YA contains mainly residual helix and little β-sheet; following a fast P-drop, at least some λ*YA forms misplaced helical structure within microseconds. We hypothesize that nonnative helix at helix-turn interfaces traps the protein in compact nonnative conformations. These traps delay the folding of at least some of the population for 1.4 ms en route to the native state. Based on molecular dynamics, we predict specific mutations at the helix-turn interfaces that should speed up refolding from the pressure-denatured state, if this hypothesis is correct. PMID:23620522

  4. Designability and cooperative folding in a four-letter hydrophobic-polar model of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Hai-Guang; Tang, Lei-Han

    2006-11-01

    The two-letter hydrophobic-polar (HP) model of Lau and Dill [Macromolecules 22, 3986 (1989)] has been widely used in theoretical studies of protein folding due to its conceptual and computational simplicity. Despite its success in elucidating various aspects of the sequence-structure relationship, thermodynamic behavior of the model is not in agreement with a sharp two-state folding transition of many single-domain proteins. To gain a better understanding of this discrepancy, we consider an extension of the HP model by including an “antiferromagnetic” (AF) interaction in the contact potential that favors amino acid residues with complementary attributes. With an enlarged four-letter alphabet, the density of states on the low energy side can be significantly decreased. Computational studies of the four-letter HP model are performed on 36-mer sequences on a square lattice. It is found that the designability of folded structures in the extended model exhibits strong correlation with that of the two-letter HP model, while the AF interaction alone selects a very different class of structures that resembles the Greek key motif for beta sheets. A procedure is introduced to select sequences which have the largest energy gap to the native state. Based on density of states and specific heat calculations in the full configuration space, we show that the optimized sequence is able to fold nearly as cooperatively as a corresponding Gō model.

  5. New approach to protein fold recognition based on Delaunay tessellation of protein structure

    SciTech Connect

    Zheng, W.; Cho, S.J.; Vaisman, I.I.; Tropsha, A.

    1996-12-31

    We propose new algorithms for sequence-structure compatibility (fold recognition) searches in multidimensional sequence-structure space. Individual amino acid residues in protein structures are represented by their C{sup {alpha}} atoms; thus each protein is described as a collection of points in three-dimensional space. Delaunay tessellation of a protein generates an aggregate of space-filling, irregular tetrahedra, or Delaunay simplices. Statistical analysis of quadruplet residue compositions of all Delaunay simplices in a representative dataset of protein structures leads to a novel four body contact residue potential expressed as log likelihood factor q. The q factors are calculated for native 20 letter amino acid alphabet and several reduced alphabets. Two sequence structure compatibility functions are computed as (i) the sum of q factors for all Delaunay simplices in a given protein, or (ii) 3D-1D Delaunay tessellation profiles where the individual residue profile value is calculated as the sum of q factors for all simplices that share this vertex residue. Both threading functions have been implemented in structure-recognizes-sequence and sequence-recognizes-structure protocols for protein fold recognition. We find that both profile and total score based threading functions can distinguish both the native fold from incorrect folds for a sequence, and the native sequence from non-native sequences for a fold. 25 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  6. Pertactin β-helix folding mechanism suggests common themes for the secretion and folding of autotransporter proteins

    PubMed Central

    Junker, Mirco; Schuster, Christopher C.; McDonnell, Andrew V.; Sorg, Kelli A.; Finn, Mary C.; Berger, Bonnie; Clark, Patricia L.

    2006-01-01

    Many virulence factors secreted from pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria are autotransporter proteins. The final step of autotransporter secretion is C → N-terminal threading of the passenger domain through the outer membrane (OM), mediated by a cotranslated C-terminal porin domain. The native structure is formed only after this final secretion step, which requires neither ATP nor a proton gradient. Sequence analysis reveals that, despite size, sequence, and functional diversity among autotransporter passenger domains, >97% are predicted to form parallel β-helices, indicating this structural topology may be important for secretion. We report the folding behavior of pertactin, an autotransporter passenger domain from Bordetella pertussis. The pertactin β-helix folds reversibly in isolation, but folding is much slower than expected based on size and native-state topology. Surprisingly, pertactin is not prone to aggregation during folding, even though folding is extremely slow. Interestingly, equilibrium denaturation results in the formation of a partially folded structure, a stable core comprising the C-terminal half of the protein. Examination of the pertactin crystal structure does not reveal any obvious reason for the enhanced stability of the C terminus. In vivo, slow folding would prevent premature folding of the passenger domain in the periplasm, before OM secretion. Moreover, the extra stability of the C-terminal rungs of the β-helix might serve as a template for the formation of native protein during OM secretion; hence, vectorial folding of the β-helix could contribute to the energy-independent translocation mechanism. Coupled with the sequence analysis, the results presented here suggest a general mechanism for autotransporter secretion. PMID:16549796

  7. GroEL-Assisted Protein Folding: Does It Occur Within the Chaperonin Inner Cavity?

    PubMed Central

    Marchenkov, Victor V.; Semisotnov, Gennady V.

    2009-01-01

    The folding of protein molecules in the GroEL inner cavity under the co-chaperonin GroES lid is widely accepted as a crucial event of GroEL-assisted protein folding. This review is focused on the data showing that GroEL-assisted protein folding may proceed out of the complex with the chaperonin. The models of GroEL-assisted protein folding assuming ligand-controlled dissociation of nonnative proteins from the GroEL surface and their folding in the bulk solution are also discussed. PMID:19564940

  8. Protein folding and protein metallocluster studies using synchrotron small angler X-ray scattering

    SciTech Connect

    Eliezer, D.

    1994-06-01

    Proteins, biological macromolecules composed of amino-acid building blocks, possess unique three dimensional shapes or conformations which are intimately related to their biological function. All of the information necessary to determine this conformation is stored in a protein`s amino acid sequence. The problem of understanding the process by which nature maps protein amino-acid sequences to three-dimensional conformations is known as the protein folding problem, and is one of the central unsolved problems in biophysics today. The possible applications of a solution are broad, ranging from the elucidation of thousands of protein structures to the rational modification and design of protein-based drugs. The scattering of X-rays by matter has long been useful as a tool for the characterization of physical properties of materials, including biological samples. The high photon flux available at synchrotron X-ray sources allows for the measurement of scattering cross-sections of dilute and/or disordered samples. Such measurements do not yield the detailed geometrical information available from crystalline samples, but do allow for lower resolution studies of dynamical processes not observable in the crystalline state. The main focus of the work described here has been the study of the protein folding process using time-resolved small-angle x-ray scattering measurements. The original intention was to observe the decrease in overall size which must accompany the folding of a protein from an extended conformation to its compact native state. Although this process proved too fast for the current time-resolution of the technique, upper bounds were set on the probable compaction times of several small proteins. In addition, an interesting and unexpected process was detected, in which the folding protein passes through an intermediate state which shows a tendency to associate. This state is proposed to be a kinetic molten globule folding intermediate.

  9. Efficient conformational space exploration in ab initio protein folding simulation.

    PubMed

    Ullah, Ahammed; Ahmed, Nasif; Pappu, Subrata Dey; Shatabda, Swakkhar; Ullah, A Z M Dayem; Rahman, M Sohel

    2015-08-01

    Ab initio protein folding simulation largely depends on knowledge-based energy functions that are derived from known protein structures using statistical methods. These knowledge-based energy functions provide us with a good approximation of real protein energetics. However, these energy functions are not very informative for search algorithms and fail to distinguish the types of amino acid interactions that contribute largely to the energy function from those that do not. As a result, search algorithms frequently get trapped into the local minima. On the other hand, the hydrophobic-polar (HP) model considers hydrophobic interactions only. The simplified nature of HP energy function makes it limited only to a low-resolution model. In this paper, we present a strategy to derive a non-uniform scaled version of the real 20×20 pairwise energy function. The non-uniform scaling helps tackle the difficulty faced by a real energy function, whereas the integration of 20×20 pairwise information overcomes the limitations faced by the HP energy function. Here, we have applied a derived energy function with a genetic algorithm on discrete lattices. On a standard set of benchmark protein sequences, our approach significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods for similar models. Our approach has been able to explore regions of the conformational space which all the previous methods have failed to explore. Effectiveness of the derived energy function is presented by showing qualitative differences and similarities of the sampled structures to the native structures. Number of objective function evaluation in a single run of the algorithm is used as a comparison metric to demonstrate efficiency. PMID:26361554

  10. Efficient conformational space exploration in ab initio protein folding simulation

    PubMed Central

    Ullah, Ahammed; Ahmed, Nasif; Pappu, Subrata Dey; Shatabda, Swakkhar; Ullah, A. Z. M. Dayem; Rahman, M. Sohel

    2015-01-01

    Ab initio protein folding simulation largely depends on knowledge-based energy functions that are derived from known protein structures using statistical methods. These knowledge-based energy functions provide us with a good approximation of real protein energetics. However, these energy functions are not very informative for search algorithms and fail to distinguish the types of amino acid interactions that contribute largely to the energy function from those that do not. As a result, search algorithms frequently get trapped into the local minima. On the other hand, the hydrophobic–polar (HP) model considers hydrophobic interactions only. The simplified nature of HP energy function makes it limited only to a low-resolution model. In this paper, we present a strategy to derive a non-uniform scaled version of the real 20×20 pairwise energy function. The non-uniform scaling helps tackle the difficulty faced by a real energy function, whereas the integration of 20×20 pairwise information overcomes the limitations faced by the HP energy function. Here, we have applied a derived energy function with a genetic algorithm on discrete lattices. On a standard set of benchmark protein sequences, our approach significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art methods for similar models. Our approach has been able to explore regions of the conformational space which all the previous methods have failed to explore. Effectiveness of the derived energy function is presented by showing qualitative differences and similarities of the sampled structures to the native structures. Number of objective function evaluation in a single run of the algorithm is used as a comparison metric to demonstrate efficiency. PMID:26361554

  11. Flexibility damps macromolecular crowding effects on protein folding dynamics: Application to the murine prion protein (121-231)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergasa-Caceres, Fernando; Rabitz, Herschel A.

    2014-01-01

    A model of protein folding kinetics is applied to study the combined effects of protein flexibility and macromolecular crowding on protein folding rate and stability. It is found that the increase in stability and folding rate promoted by macromolecular crowding is damped for proteins with highly flexible native structures. The model is applied to the folding dynamics of the murine prion protein (121-231). It is found that the high flexibility of the native isoform of the murine prion protein (121-231) reduces the effects of macromolecular crowding on its folding dynamics. The relevance of these findings for the pathogenic mechanism are discussed.

  12. Kinetic folding mechanism of an integral membrane protein examined by pulsed oxidative labeling and mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Pan, Yan; Brown, Leonid; Konermann, Lars

    2011-07-01

    We report the application of pulsed oxidative labeling for deciphering the folding mechanism of a membrane protein. SDS-denatured bacteriorhodopsin (BR) was refolded by mixing with bicelles in the presence of free retinal. At various time points (20 ms to 1 day), the protein was exposed to a microsecond ·OH pulse that induces oxidative modifications at solvent-accessible methionine side chains. The extent of labeling was determined by mass spectrometry. These measurements were complemented by stopped-flow spectroscopy. Major time-dependent changes in solvent accessibility were detected for M20 (helix A) and M118 (helix D). Our kinetic data indicate a sequential folding mechanism, consistent with models previously suggested by others on the basis of optical data. Yet, ·OH labeling provides additional structural insights. An initial folding intermediate I(1) gets populated within 20 ms, concomitantly with formation of helix A. Subsequent structural consolidation leads to a transient species I(2). Noncovalent retinal binding to I(2) induces folding of helix D, thereby generating an intermediate I(R). In the absence of retinal, the latter transition does not take place. Hence, formation of helix D depends on retinal binding, whereas this is not the case for helix A. As the cofactor settles deeper into its binding pocket, a final transient species I(R) is generated. This intermediate converts into native BR within minutes by formation of the retinal-K216 Schiff base linkage. The combination of pulsed covalent labeling and optical spectroscopy employed here should also be suitable for exploring the folding mechanisms of other membrane proteins. PMID:21570983

  13. Protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum: lessons from the human chorionic gonadotropin beta subunit.

    PubMed Central

    Ruddon, R. W.; Sherman, S. A.; Bedows, E.

    1996-01-01

    There have been few studies of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum of intact mammalian cells. In the one case where the in vivo and in vitro folding pathways of a mammalian secretory protein have been compared, the folding of the human chorionic gonadotropin beta subunit (hCG-beta), the order of formation of the detected folding intermediates is the same. The rate and efficiency with which multidomain proteins such as hCG-beta fold to native structure in intact cells is higher than in vitro, although intracellular rates of folding of the beta subunit can be approached in vitro in the presence of an optimal redox potential and protein disulfide isomerase. Understanding how proteins fold in vivo may provide a new way to diagnose and treat human illnesses that occur due to folding defects. PMID:8844836

  14. Sequential Closure of Loop Structures Forms the Folding Nucleus during the Refolding Transition of the Escherichia coli Adenylate Kinase Molecule.

    PubMed

    Orevi, Tomer; Rahamim, Gil; Amir, Dan; Kathuria, Sagar; Bilsel, Osman; Matthews, C Robert; Haas, Elisha

    2016-01-12

    The ensemble of conformers of globular protein molecules immediately following transfer from unfolding to folding conditions is assumed to be collapsed though still disordered, as the first steps of the folding pathway are initiated. In order to test the hypothesis that long loop closure transitions are part of the initiation of the folding pathway, our groups are studying the initiation of the folding transition of a model protein by time-resolved excitation energy transfer (trFRET) detected fast kinetics experiments. Site-specific double labeling is used to study the timing of conformational transitions of individual loop forming chain segments at the microsecond time regime. Previously, it was shown that at least three long loops in the Escherichia coli adenylate kinase (AK) molecule close within the first 5 ms of folding of AK, while the main global folding transition occurs in a time regime of seconds. In order to enhance the time resolution of the kinetics experiments to the microsecond time regime and determine the rate of closure of the two N terminal loops (loop I residues 1-26 and loop II residues 29-72), we applied a continuous flow based double kinetics experiment. These measurements enabled us to obtain a microsecond series of transient time dependent distributions of distances between the ends of the labeled loops. Analysis of the trFRET experiments show that the N terminal loop (loop I) is closed within less than 60 μs after the initiation of refolding. Loop II is also mostly closed within that time step but shows an additional small reduction of the mean end-to-end distance in a second phase at a rate of 0.005 μs(-1). This second phase can either reflect tightening of a loosely closed loop in the ensemble of conformers or may reflect two subpopulations in the ensemble, which differ in the rate of closure of loop II, but not in the rate of closure of loop I. This study shows the very fast closure of long loops in the otherwise disordered backbone

  15. Common Structural Transitions in Explicit-Solvent Simulations of Villin Headpiece Folding

    PubMed Central

    Freddolino, Peter L.; Schulten, Klaus

    2009-01-01

    Abstract Molecular dynamics simulations of protein folding can provide very high-resolution data on the folding process; however, due to computational challenges most studies of protein folding have been limited to small peptides, or made use of approximations such as Gō potentials or implicit solvent models. We have performed a set of molecular dynamics simulations totaling >50 μs on the villin headpiece subdomain, one of the most stable and fastest-folding naturally occurring proteins, in explicit solvent. We find that the wild-type villin headpiece reliably folds to a native conformation on timescales similar to experimentally observed folding, but that a fast folding double-norleucine mutant shows significantly more heterogeneous behavior. Along with other recent simulation studies, we note the occurrence of nonnative structures intermediates, which may yield a nativelike signal in the fluorescence measurements typically used to study villin folding. Based on the wild-type simulations, we propose alternative approaches to measure the formation of the native state. PMID:19843466

  16. A versatile selection system for folding competent proteins using genetic complementation in a eukaryotic host

    PubMed Central

    Lyngsø, Christina; Kjaerulff, Søren; Müller, Sven; Bratt, Tomas; Mortensen, Uffe H; Dal Degan, Florence

    2010-01-01

    Recombinant expression of native or modified eukaryotic proteins is pivotal for structural and functional studies and for industrial and pharmaceutical production of proteins. However, it is often impeded by the lack of proper folding. Here, we present a stringent and broadly applicable eukaryotic in vivo selection system for folded proteins. It is based on genetic complementation of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe growth marker gene invertase fused C-terminally to a protein library. The fusion proteins are directed to the secretion system, utilizing the ability of the eukaryotic protein quality-control systems to retain misfolded proteins in the ER and redirect them for cytosolic degradation, thereby only allowing folded proteins to reach the cell surface. Accordingly, the folding potential of the tested protein determines the ability of autotrophic colony growth. This system was successfully demonstrated using a complex insertion mutant library of TNF-α, from which different folding competent mutant proteins were uncovered. PMID:20082307

  17. A general method for the prediction of the three dimensional structure and folding pathway of globular proteins: Application to designed helical proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kolinski, Andrzej; Godzik, Adam; Skolnick, Jeffrey

    1993-05-01

    Starting from amino acid sequence alone, a general approach for simulating folding into the molten globule or rigid, native state depending on sequence is described. In particular, the 3D folds of two simple designed proteins have been predicted using a Monte Carlo folding algorithm. The model employs a very flexible hybrid lattice representation of the protein conformation, and fast lattice dynamics. A full rotamer library for side group conformations, and potentials of mean force of short and long range interactions have been extracted from the statistics of a high resolution set of nonhomologous, 3D structures of globular proteins. The simulated folding process starts from an arbitrary random conformation and relatively rapidly assembles a well defined four helix bundle. The very cooperative folding of the model systems is facilitated by the proper definition of the model protein hydrogen bond network, and multibody interactions of the side groups. The two sequences studied exhibit very different behavior. The first one, in excellent agreement with experiment, folds to a thermodynamically very stable four helix bundle that has all the properties postulated for the molten globule state. The second protein, having a more heterogeneous sequence, at lower temperature undergoes a transition from the molten globule state to the unique native state exhibiting a fixed pattern of side group packing. This marks the first time that the ability to predict a molten globule or a unique native state from sequence alone has been achieved. The implications for the general solution of the protein folding problem are briefly discussed.

  18. Machine learning algorithms for predicting protein folding rates and stability of mutant proteins: comparison with statistical methods.

    PubMed

    Gromiha, M Michael; Huang, Liang-Tsung

    2011-09-01

    Machine learning algorithms have wide range of applications in bioinformatics and computational biology such as prediction of protein secondary structures, solvent accessibility, binding site residues in protein complexes, protein folding rates, stability of mutant proteins, and discrimination of proteins based on their structure and function. In this work, we focus on two aspects of predictions: (i) protein folding rates and (ii) stability of proteins upon mutations. We briefly introduce the concepts of protein folding rates and stability along with available databases, features for prediction methods and measures for prediction performance. Subsequently, the development of structure based parameters and their relationship with protein folding rates will be outlined. The structure based parameters are helpful to understand the physical basis for protein folding and stability. Further, basic principles of major machine learning techniques will be mentioned and their applications for predicting protein folding rates and stability of mutant proteins will be illustrated. The machine learning techniques could achieve the highest accuracy of predicting protein folding rates and stability. In essence, statistical methods and machine learning algorithms are complimenting each other for understanding and predicting protein folding rates and the stability of protein mutants. The available online resources on protein folding rates and stability will be listed. PMID:21787301

  19. Protein folding and conformational stress in microbial cells producing recombinant proteins: a host comparative overview

    PubMed Central

    Gasser, Brigitte; Saloheimo, Markku; Rinas, Ursula; Dragosits, Martin; Rodríguez-Carmona, Escarlata; Baumann, Kristin; Giuliani, Maria; Parrilli, Ermenegilda; Branduardi, Paola; Lang, Christine; Porro, Danilo; Ferrer, Pau; Tutino, Maria Luisa; Mattanovich, Diethard; Villaverde, Antonio

    2008-01-01

    Different species of microorganisms including yeasts, filamentous fungi and bacteria have been used in the past 25 years for the controlled production of foreign proteins of scientific, pharmacological or industrial interest. A major obstacle for protein production processes and a limit to overall success has been the abundance of misfolded polypeptides, which fail to reach their native conformation. The presence of misfolded or folding-reluctant protein species causes considerable stress in host cells. The characterization of such adverse conditions and the elicited cell responses have permitted to better understand the physiology and molecular biology of conformational stress. Therefore, microbial cell factories for recombinant protein production are depicted here as a source of knowledge that has considerably helped to picture the extremely rich landscape of in vivo protein folding, and the main cellular players of this complex process are described for the most important cell factories used for biotechnological purposes. PMID:18394160

  20. Parameter Optimization for the Gaussian Model of Folded Proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erman, Burak; Erkip, Albert

    2000-03-01

    Recently, we proposed an analytical model of protein folding (B. Erman, K. A. Dill, J. Chem. Phys, 112, 000, 2000) and showed that this model successfully approximates the known minimum energy configurations of two dimensional HP chains. All attractions (covalent and non-covalent) as well as repulsions were treated as if the monomer units interacted with each other through linear spring forces. Since the governing potential of the linear springs are derived from a Gaussian potential, the model is called the ''Gaussian Model''. The predicted conformations from the model for the hexamer and various 9mer sequences all lie on the square lattice, although the model does not contain information about the lattice structure. Results of predictions for chains with 20 or more monomers also agreed well with corresponding known minimum energy lattice structures. However, these predicted conformations did not lie exactly on the square lattice. In the present work, we treat the specific problem of optimizing the potentials (the strengths of the spring constants) so that the predictions are in better agreement with the known minimum energy structures.

  1. Comparing Protein Folding In vitro and In vivo: Foldability Meets the Fitness Challenge

    PubMed Central

    Hingorani, Karan S.; Gierasch, Lila M.

    2014-01-01

    In this review, we compare and contrast current knowledge about in-vitro and in-vivo protein folding. Major advances in understanding fundamental principles underlying protein folding in optimized in-vitro conditions have yielded detailed physicochemical principles of folding landscapes for small, single domain proteins. In addition, there has been increased research focusing on the key features of protein folding in the cell that differentiate it from in-vitro folding, such as co-translational folding, chaperone-facilitated folding, and folding in crowded conditions with many weak interactions. Yet these two research areas have not been bridged effectively in research carried out to date. This review points to gaps between the two that are ripe for future research. Moreover, we emphasize the biological selection pressures that impact protein folding in-vivo and how fitness drives the evolution of protein sequences in ways that may place foldability in tension with other requirements on a given protein. We suggest that viewing the physicochemical process of protein folding through the lens of evolution will unveil new insights and pose novel challenges about in-cell folding landscapes. PMID:24434632

  2. Monitoring Backbone Hydrogen-Bond Formation in β-Barrel Membrane Protein Folding.

    PubMed

    Raschle, Thomas; Rios Flores, Perla; Opitz, Christian; Müller, Daniel J; Hiller, Sebastian

    2016-05-10

    β-barrel membrane proteins are key components of the outer membrane of bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts. Their three-dimensional structure is defined by a network of backbone hydrogen bonds between adjacent β-strands. Here, we employ hydrogen-deuterium (H/D) exchange in combination with NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to monitor backbone hydrogen bond formation during folding of the outer membrane protein X (OmpX) from E. coli in detergent micelles. Residue-specific kinetics of interstrand hydrogen-bond formation were found to be uniform in the entire β-barrel and synchronized to formation of the tertiary structure. OmpX folding thus propagates via a long-lived conformational ensemble state in which all backbone amide protons exchange with the solvent and engage in hydrogen bonds only transiently. Stable formation of the entire OmpX hydrogen bond network occurs downhill of the rate-limiting transition state and thus appears cooperative on the overall folding time scale. PMID:27062600

  3. Protein oxidative folding in the intermembrane mitochondrial space: more than protein trafficking.

    PubMed

    Fraga, Hugo; Ventura, Salvador

    2012-05-01

    The process of oxidative folding in the intermembrane mitochondrial space (IMS) is an exciting field of research because folding is simultaneously coupled to protein translocation and functional regulation. Contrary to the endoplasmatic reticulum ER where several chaperones of the disulfide isomerase family exist, oxidative folding in the IMS is exclusively catalyzed by the oxoreductase Mia40 that recognizes a group of proteins with characteristic cysteine motifs organized in twin CX(3)C, twin CX(9)C or CX(2)C motifs. In this review, we discuss the structural and biochemical studies leading to our current understanding of the Mia40 pathway as well as the open questions on the field. In fact, despite significant advances, several key points on the Mia40 pathway remain to clarify namely on the molecular mechanism trough which substrate oxidative folding is catalyzed. This issue is receiving increasing attention since failures in the import, sorting and folding of mitochondrial proteins is related to an increasing number of debilitating human disorders. PMID:22612783

  4. Traversing the folding pathway of proteins using temperature-aided cascade molecular dynamics with conformation-dependent charges.

    PubMed

    Jani, Vinod; Sonavane, Uddhavesh; Joshi, Rajendra

    2016-07-01

    Protein folding is a multi-micro second time scale event and involves many conformational transitions. Crucial conformational transitions responsible for biological functions of biomolecules are difficult to capture using current state-of-the-art molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Protein folding, being a stochastic process, witnesses these transitions as rare events. Many new methodologies have been proposed for observing these rare events. In this work, a temperature-aided cascade MD is proposed as a technique for studying the conformational transitions. Folding studies for Engrailed homeodomain and Immunoglobulin domain B of protein A have been carried out. Using this methodology, the unfolded structures with RMSD of 20 Å were folded to a structure with RMSD of 2 Å. Three sets of cascade MD runs were carried out using implicit solvation, explicit solvation, and charge updation scheme. In the charge updation scheme, charges based on the conformation obtained are calculated and are updated in the topology file. In all the simulations, the structure of 2 Å was reached within a few nanoseconds using these methods. Umbrella sampling has been performed using snapshots from the temperature-aided cascade MD simulation trajectory to build an entire conformational transition pathway. The advantage of the method is that the possible pathways for a particular reaction can be explored within a short duration of simulation time and the disadvantage is that the knowledge of the start and end state is required. The charge updation scheme adds the polarization effects in the force fields. This improves the electrostatic interaction among the atoms, which may help the protein to fold faster. PMID:26872480

  5. Phase diagram of a semiflexible polymer chain in a θ solvent: Application to protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doniach, S.; Garel, T.; Orland, H.

    1996-07-01

    We consider a lattice model of a semiflexible homopolymer chain in a bad solvent. Beside the temperature T, this model is described by (i) a curvature energy ɛh, representing the stiffness of the chain; (ii) a nearest-neighbor attractive energy ɛv, representing the solvent; and (iii) the monomer density ρ=N/Ω, where N and Ω denote, respectively, the number of monomers and the number of lattice sites. This model is a simplified view of the protein folding problem, which encompasses the geometrical competition between secondary structures (the curvature term modelling helix formation) and the global compactness (modeled here by the attractive energy), but contains no side chain information. By allowing the monomer density ρ to depart from unity one has made a first (albeit naive) step to include the role of the water. In previous analytical studies, we considered only the (fully compact) case ρ=1, and found a first order freezing transition towards a crystalline ground state (also called the native state in the protein literature). In this paper, we extend this calculation to the description of both compact and noncompact phases. The analysis is done first at a mean-field level. We then find that the transition from the high temperature swollen coil state to the crystalline ground state is a two-step process for which (i) there is first a θ collapse transition towards a compact ``liquid'' globule, and (ii) at low temperature, this ``liquid'' globule undergoes a discontinuous freezing transition. The mean-field value of the θ collapse temperature is found to be independent of the curvature energy ɛh. This mean-field analysis is improved by a variational bound, which confirms the independence of the θ collapse temperature with respect to ɛh. This result is confirmed by a Monte Carlo simulation, although with a much lower value of the θ temperature. This lowering of the collapse transition allows the possibility (for large ɛh) of a direct first order

  6. Autotransporters: The Cellular Environment Reshapes a Folding Mechanism to Promote Protein Transport

    PubMed Central

    Braselmann, Esther; Clark, Patricia L.

    2012-01-01

    We know very little about how the cellular environment affects protein folding mechanisms. Here, we focus on one unique aspect of that environment that is difficult to recapitulate in the test tube: the effect of a folding vector. When protein folding is initiated at one end of the polypeptide chain, folding starts from a much smaller ensemble of conformations than during refolding of a full-length polypeptide chain. But to what extent can vectorial folding affect protein folding kinetics and the conformations of folding intermediates? We focus on recent studies of autotransporter proteins, the largest class of virulence proteins from pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria. Autotransporter proteins are secreted across the bacterial inner membrane from N→C-terminus, which, like refolding in vitro, retards folding. But in contrast, upon C→N-terminal secretion across the outer membrane autotransporter folding proceeds orders of magnitude faster. The potential impact of vectorial folding on the folding mechanisms of other proteins is also discussed. PMID:23687560

  7. Structure determination of archaea-specific ribosomal protein L46a reveals a novel protein fold

    SciTech Connect

    Feng, Yingang; Song, Xiaxia; Lin, Jinzhong; Xuan, Jinsong; Cui, Qiu; Wang, Jinfeng

    2014-07-18

    Highlights: • The archaea-specific ribosomal protein L46a has no homology to known proteins. • Three dimensional structure and backbone dynamics of L46a were determined by NMR. • The structure of L46a represents a novel protein fold. • A potential rRNA-binding surface on L46a was identified. • The potential position of L46a on the ribosome was proposed. - Abstract: Three archaea-specific ribosomal proteins recently identified show no sequence homology with other known proteins. Here we determined the structure of L46a, the most conserved one among the three proteins, from Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 using NMR spectroscopy. The structure presents a twisted β-sheet formed by the N-terminal part and two helices at the C-terminus. The L46a structure has a positively charged surface which is conserved in the L46a protein family and is the potential rRNA-binding site. Searching homologous structures in Protein Data Bank revealed that the structure of L46a represents a novel protein fold. The backbone dynamics identified by NMR relaxation experiments reveal significant flexibility at the rRNA binding surface. The potential position of L46a on the ribosome was proposed by fitting the structure into a previous electron microscopy map of the ribosomal 50S subunit, which indicated that L46a contacts to domain I of 23S rRNA near a multifunctional ribosomal protein L7ae.

  8. The Folding of a Family of Three-Helix Bundle Proteins: Spectrin R15 Has a Robust Folding Nucleus, Unlike Its Homologous Neighbours☆

    PubMed Central

    Kwa, Lee Gyan; Wensley, Beth G.; Alexander, Crispin G.; Browning, Stuart J.; Lichman, Benjamin R.; Clarke, Jane

    2014-01-01

    Three homologous spectrin domains have remarkably different folding characteristics. We have previously shown that the slow-folding R16 and R17 spectrin domains can be altered to resemble the fast folding R15, in terms of speed of folding (and unfolding), landscape roughness and folding mechanism, simply by substituting five residues in the core. Here we show that, by contrast, R15 cannot be engineered to resemble R16 and R17. It is possible to engineer a slow-folding version of R15, but our analysis shows that this protein neither has a rougher energy landscape nor does change its folding mechanism. Quite remarkably, R15 appears to be a rare example of a protein with a folding nucleus that does not change in position or in size when its folding nucleus is disrupted. Thus, while two members of this protein family are remarkably plastic, the third has apparently a restricted folding landscape. PMID:24373753

  9. In-Situ Observation of Membrane Protein Folding during Cell-Free Expression

    PubMed Central

    Fitter, Jörg; Büldt, Georg; Heberle, Joachim; Schlesinger, Ramona; Ataka, Kenichi

    2016-01-01

    Proper insertion, folding and assembly of functional proteins in biological membranes are key processes to warrant activity of a living cell. Here, we present a novel approach to trace folding and insertion of a nascent membrane protein leaving the ribosome and penetrating the bilayer. Surface Enhanced IR Absorption Spectroscopy selectively monitored insertion and folding of membrane proteins during cell-free expression in a label-free and non-invasive manner. Protein synthesis was performed in an optical cell containing a prism covered with a thin gold film with nanodiscs on top, providing an artificial lipid bilayer for folding. In a pilot experiment, the folding pathway of bacteriorhodopsin via various secondary and tertiary structures was visualized. Thus, a methodology is established with which the folding reaction of other more complex membrane proteins can be observed during protein biosynthesis (in situ and in operando) at molecular resolution. PMID:26978519

  10. Repeat-protein folding: new insights into origins of cooperativity, stability, and topology

    PubMed Central

    Kloss, Ellen; Courtemanche, Naomi; Barrick, Doug

    2008-01-01

    Although our understanding of globular protein folding continues to advance, the irregular tertiary structures and high cooperativity of globular proteins complicates energetic dissection. Recently, proteins with regular, repetitive tertiary structures have been identified that sidestep limitations imposed by globular protein architecture. Here we review recent studies of repeat-protein folding. These studies uniquely advance our understanding of both the energetics and kinetics of protein folding. Equilibrium studies provide detailed maps of local stabilities, access to energy landscapes, insights into cooperativity, determination of nearest-neighbor interaction parameters using statistical thermodynamics, relationships between consensus sequences and repeat-protein stability. Kinetic studies provide insight into the influence of short-range topology on folding rates, the degree to which folding proceeds by parallel (versus localized) pathways, and the factors that select among multiple potential pathways. The recent application of force spectroscopy to repeat-protein unfolding is providing a unique route to test and extend many of these findings. PMID:17963718

  11. Mathematics, Thermodynamics, and Modeling to Address Ten Common Misconceptions about Protein Structure, Folding, and Stability

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robic, Srebrenka

    2010-01-01

    To fully understand the roles proteins play in cellular processes, students need to grasp complex ideas about protein structure, folding, and stability. Our current understanding of these topics is based on mathematical models and experimental data. However, protein structure, folding, and stability are often introduced as descriptive, qualitative…

  12. A New Heuristic Algorithm for Protein Folding in the HP Model.

    PubMed

    Traykov, Metodi; Angelov, Slav; Yanev, Nicola

    2016-08-01

    This article presents an efficient heuristic for protein folding. The protein folding problem is to predict the compact three-dimensional structure of a protein based on its amino acid sequence. The focus is on an original integer programming model derived from a platform used for Contact Map Overlap problem. PMID:27153764

  13. Single-molecule spectroscopy of protein folding in a chaperonin cage

    PubMed Central

    Hofmann, Hagen; Hillger, Frank; Pfeil, Shawn H.; Hoffmann, Armin; Streich, Daniel; Haenni, Dominik; Nettels, Daniel; Lipman, Everett A.; Schuler, Benjamin

    2010-01-01

    Molecular chaperones are known to be essential for avoiding protein aggregation in vivo, but it is still unclear how they affect protein folding mechanisms. We use single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer to follow the folding of a protein inside the GroEL/GroES chaperonin cavity over a time range from milliseconds to hours. Our results show that confinement in the chaperonin decelerates the folding of the C-terminal domain in the substrate protein rhodanese, but leaves the folding rate of the N-terminal domain unaffected. Microfluidic mixing experiments indicate that strong interactions of the substrate with the cavity walls impede the folding process, but the folding hierarchy is preserved. Our results imply that no universal chaperonin mechanism exists. Rather, a competition between intra- and intermolecular interactions determines the folding rates and mechanisms of a substrate inside the GroEL/GroES cage. PMID:20547872

  14. A collaborative visual analytics suite for protein folding research.

    PubMed

    Harvey, William; Park, In-Hee; Rübel, Oliver; Pascucci, Valerio; Bremer, Peer-Timo; Li, Chenglong; Wang, Yusu

    2014-09-01

    Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is a crucial tool for understanding principles behind important biochemical processes such as protein folding and molecular interaction. With the rapidly increasing power of modern computers, large-scale MD simulation experiments can be performed regularly, generating huge amounts of MD data. An important question is how to analyze and interpret such massive and complex data. One of the (many) challenges involved in analyzing MD simulation data computationally is the high-dimensionality of such data. Given a massive collection of molecular conformations, researchers typically need to rely on their expertise and prior domain knowledge in order to retrieve certain conformations of interest. It is not easy to make and test hypotheses as the data set as a whole is somewhat "invisible" due to its high dimensionality. In other words, it is hard to directly access and examine individual conformations from a sea of molecular structures, and to further explore the entire data set. There is also no easy and convenient way to obtain a global view of the data or its various modalities of biochemical information. To this end, we present an interactive, collaborative visual analytics tool for exploring massive, high-dimensional molecular dynamics simulation data sets. The most important utility of our tool is to provide a platform where researchers can easily and effectively navigate through the otherwise "invisible" simulation data sets, exploring and examining molecular conformations both as a whole and at individual levels. The visualization is based on the concept of a topological landscape, which is a 2D terrain metaphor preserving certain topological and geometric properties of the high dimensional protein energy landscape. In addition to facilitating easy exploration of conformations, this 2D terrain metaphor also provides a platform where researchers can visualize and analyze various properties (such as contact density) overlayed on the

  15. Thermodynamics of downhill folding: multi-probe analysis of PDD, a protein that folds over a marginal free energy barrier.

    PubMed

    Naganathan, Athi N; Muñoz, Victor

    2014-07-31

    Downhill folding proteins fold in microseconds by crossing a very low or no free energy barrier (<3 RT), and exhibit a complex unfolding behavior in equilibrium. Such unfolding complexity is due to the weak thermodynamic coupling that exists between the various structural segments of these proteins, and it is manifested in unfolding curves that differ depending on the structural probe employed to monitor the process. Probe-dependent unfolding has important practical implications because it permits one to investigate the folding energy landscape in detail using multiprobe thermodynamic experiments. This type of thermodynamic behavior has been investigated in depth on the protein BBL, an example of extreme (one-state) downhill folding in which there is no free energy barrier at any condition, including the denaturation midpoint. However, an open question is, to what extent is such thermodynamic behavior observed on less extreme downhill folders? Here we perform a multiprobe spectroscopic characterization of the microsecond folder PDD, a structural and functional homologue of BBL that folds within the downhill regime, but is not an example of one-state downhill folding; rather at the denaturation midpoint PDD folds by crossing an incipient free energy barrier. Model-free analysis of the unfolding curves from four different spectroscopic probes together with differential scanning calorimetry reveals a dispersion of ∼9 K in the apparent melting temperature and also marked differences in unfolding broadness (from ∼50 to ∼130 kJ mol(-1) when analyzed with a two-state model), confirming that such properties are also observed on less extreme downhill folders. We subsequently perform a global quantitative analysis of the unfolding data of PDD using the same ME statistical mechanical model that was used before for the BBL domain. The analysis shows that this simple model captures all of the features observed on the unfolding of PDD (i.e., the intensity and temperature

  16. Folding of a LysM Domain: Entropy-Enthalpy Compensation in the Transition State of an Ideal Two-state Folder

    PubMed Central

    Nickson, Adrian A.; Stoll, Kate E.; Clarke, Jane

    2008-01-01

    Protein-engineering methods (Φ-values) were used to investigate the folding transition state of a lysin motif (LysM) domain from Escherichia coli membrane-bound lytic murein transglycosylase D. This domain consists of just 48 structured residues in a symmetrical βααβ arrangement and is the smallest αβ protein yet investigated using these methods. An extensive mutational analysis revealed a highly robust folding pathway with no detectable transition state plasticity, indicating that LysM is an example of an ideal two-state folder. The pattern of Φ-values denotes a highly polarised transition state, with significant formation of the helices but no structure within the β-sheet. Remarkably, this transition state remains polarised after circularisation of the domain, and exhibits an identical Φ-value pattern; however, the interactions within the transition state are uniformly weaker in the circular variant. This observation is supported by results from an Eyring analysis of the folding rates of the two proteins. We propose that the folding pathway of LysM is dominated by enthalpic rather than entropic considerations, and suggest that the lower entropy cost of formation of the circular transition state is balanced, to some extent, by the lower enthalpy of contacts within this structure. PMID:18538343

  17. Substrate protein folds while it is bound to the ATP-independent chaperone Spy.

    PubMed

    Stull, Frederick; Koldewey, Philipp; Humes, Julia R; Radford, Sheena E; Bardwell, James C A

    2016-01-01

    Chaperones assist in the folding of many proteins in the cell. Although the most well-studied chaperones use cycles of ATP binding and hydrolysis to assist in protein folding, a number of chaperones have been identified that promote folding in the absence of high-energy cofactors. Precisely how ATP-independent chaperones accomplish this feat is unclear. Here we characterized the kinetic mechanism of substrate folding by the small ATP-independent chaperone Spy from Escherichia coli. Spy rapidly associates with its substrate, immunity protein 7 (Im7), thereby eliminating Im7's potential for aggregation. Remarkably, Spy then allows Im7 to fully fold into its native state while it remains bound to the surface of the chaperone. These results establish a potentially widespread mechanism whereby ATP-independent chaperones assist in protein refolding. They also provide compelling evidence that substrate proteins can fold while being continuously bound to a chaperone. PMID:26619265

  18. Thermodynamics, kinetics, and salt-dependence of folding of YopM, a large leucine-rich repeat protein

    PubMed Central

    Kloss, Ellen; Barrick, Doug

    2011-01-01

    Small globular proteins have many contacts between residues that are distant in primary sequence. These contacts create a complex network between sequence-distant segments of secondary structure, which may be expected to promote the cooperative folding of globular proteins. Although repeat proteins, which are made up of tandem modular units, lack sequence-distant contacts, several of considerable length have been shown to undergo cooperative two-state folding. To explore the limits of cooperativity in repeat proteins, we have studied the unfolding of YopM, a leucine-rich repeat (LRR) protein of over 400 residues. Despite its large size and modular architecture (15 repeats), YopM equilibrium unfolding is highly cooperative, and shows a very strong dependence on urea concentration. In contrast, kinetic studies of YopM folding indicate a mechanism that includes one or more transient intermediates. The urea dependence of the folding and unfolding rates suggests a relatively small transition state ensemble. As with the urea dependence, we have found an extreme dependence of the free energy of unfolding on salt concentration. This salt dependence likely results from general screening of a large number of unfavorable columbic interactions in the folded state, rather than from specific cation binding. PMID:18793647

  19. Protein folding as a driving force for dual protein targeting in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Kalderon, Bella; Pines, Ophry

    2014-01-01

    It is well documented that in eukaryotic cells molecules of one protein can be located in several subcellular locations, a phenomenon termed dual targeting, dual localization, or dual distribution. The differently localized identical or nearly identical proteins are termed “echoforms.” Our conventional definition of dual targeted proteins refers to situations in which one of the echoforms is translocated through/into a membrane. Thus, dual targeted proteins are recognized by at least one organelle's receptors and translocation machineries within the lipid bilayer. In this review we attempt to evaluate mechanisms and situations in which protein folding is the major determinant of dual targeting and of the relative distribution levels of echoforms in the subcellular compartments of the eukaryotic cell. We show that the decisive folding step can occur prior, during or after translocation through the bilayer of a biological membrane. This phenomenon involves folding catalysts in the cell such as chaperones, proteases and modification enzymes, and targeting processes such as signal recognition, translocation through membranes, trapping, retrotranslocation and reverse translocation. PMID:25988164

  20. Native proteins trap high-energy transit conformations

    PubMed Central

    Brereton, Andrew E.; Karplus, P. Andrew

    2015-01-01

    During protein folding and as part of some conformational changes that regulate protein function, the polypeptide chain must traverse high-energy barriers that separate the commonly adopted low-energy conformations. How distortions in peptide geometry allow these barrier-crossing transitions is a fundamental open question. One such important transition involves the movement of a non-glycine residue between the left side of the Ramachandran plot (that is, ϕ < 0°) and the right side (that is, ϕ > 0°). We report that high-energy conformations with ϕ ~ 0°, normally expected to occur only as fleeting transition states, are stably trapped in certain highly resolved native protein structures and that an analysis of these residues provides a detailed, experimentally derived map of the bond angle distortions taking place along the transition path. This unanticipated information lays to rest any uncertainty about whether such transitions are possible and how they occur, and in doing so lays a firm foundation for theoretical studies to better understand the transitions between basins that have been little studied but are integrally involved in protein folding and function. Also, the context of one such residue shows that even a designed highly stable protein can harbor substantial unfavorable interactions. PMID:26601321

  1. Connecting thermal and mechanical protein (un)folding landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Li; Noel, Jeffrey; Sulkowska, Joanna; Levine, Herbert; Onuchic, José

    2015-03-01

    Molecular dynamics simulations supplement single-molecule pulling experiments by providing the possibility of examining the full free energy landscape using many coordinates. Here, we use an all-atom structure-based model to study the force and temperature dependence of the unfolding of the protein filamin by applying force at both termini. The unfolding time-force relation τ(F) indicates that the unfolding behavior can be characterized into three regimes: barrier-limited low- and intermediate-force regimes, and a barrierless high-force regime. Slope changes of τ(F) separate the three regimes. We show that the behavior of τ(F) can be understood from a two-dimensional free energy landscape projected onto the extension X and the fraction of native contacts Q. In the low-force regime, the unfolding rate is roughly force-independent due to the small (even negative) separation in X between the native ensemble and transition state ensemble (TSE). In the intermediate-force regime, force sufficiently separates the TSE from the native ensemble such that τ(F) roughly follows an exponential relation. The TSE becomes increasingly structured with force. The high-force regime is characterized by barrierless unfolding, approaching a time limit of around 10 μs.

  2. Folding and Purification of Insoluble (Inclusion Body) Proteins from Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Wingfield, Paul T; Palmer, Ira; Liang, Shu-Mei

    2014-01-01

    Heterologous expression of recombinant proteins in E. coli often results in the formation of insoluble and inactive protein aggregates, commonly referred to as inclusion bodies. To obtain the native (i.e., correctly folded) and hence active form of the protein from such aggregates, four steps are usually followed: (1) the cells are lysed, (2) the cell wall and outer membrane components are removed, (3) the aggregates are solubilized (or extracted) with strong protein denaturants, and (4) the solubilized, denatured proteins are folded with concomitant oxidation of reduced cysteine residues into the correct disulfide bonds to obtain the native protein. This unit features three different approaches to the final step of protein folding and purification. In the first, guanidine·HCl is used as the denaturant, after which the solubilized protein is folded (before purification) in an "oxido-shuffling" buffer system to increase the rate of protein oxidation. In the second, acetic acid is used to solubilize the protein, which is then partially purified by gel filtration before folding; the protein is then folded and oxidized by simple dialysis against water. Thirdly, folding and purification of a fusion protein using metal-chelate affinity chromatography are described. PMID:25367010

  3. The N-terminal to C-terminal motif in protein folding and function.

    PubMed

    Krishna, Mallela M G; Englander, S Walter

    2005-01-25

    Essentially all proteins known to fold kinetically in a two-state manner have their N- and C-terminal secondary structural elements in contact, and the terminal elements often dock as part of the experimentally measurable initial folding step. Conversely, all N-C no-contact proteins studied so far fold by non-two-state kinetics. By comparison, about half of the single domain proteins in the Protein Data Bank have their N- and C-terminal elements in contact, more than expected on a random probability basis but not nearly enough to account for the bias in protein folding. Possible reasons for this bias relate to the mechanisms for initial protein folding, native state stability, and final turnover. PMID:15657118

  4. Model for coupled insertion and folding of membrane-spanning proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hausrath, Andrew C.

    2014-08-01

    Current understanding of the forces directing the folding of integral membrane proteins is very limited compared to the detailed picture available for water-soluble proteins. While mechanistic studies of the folding process in vitro have been conducted for only a small number of membrane proteins, the available evidence indicates that their folding process is thermodynamically driven like that of soluble proteins. In vivo, however, the majority of integral membrane proteins are installed in membranes by dedicated machinery, suggesting that the cellular systems may act to facilitate and regulate the spontaneous physical process of folding. Both the in vitro folding process and the in vivo pathway must navigate an energy landscape dominated by the energetically favorable burial of hydrophobic segments in the membrane interior and the opposition to folding due to the need for passage of polar segments across the membrane. This manuscript describes a simple, exactly solvable model which incorporates these essential features of membrane protein folding. The model is used to compare the folding time under conditions which depict both the in vitro and in vivo pathways. It is proposed that the cellular complexes responsible for insertion of membrane proteins act by lowering the energy barrier for passage of polar regions through the membrane, thereby allowing the chain to more rapidly achieve the folded state.

  5. Dynamics of Protein Folding and Cofactor Binding Monitored by Single-Molecule Force Spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Yi; Li, Hongbin

    2011-01-01

    Many proteins in living cells require cofactors to carry out their biological functions. To reach their functional states, these proteins need to fold into their unique three-dimensional structures in the presence of their cofactors. Two processes, folding of the protein and binding of cofactors, intermingle with each other, making the direct elucidation of the folding mechanism of proteins in the presence of cofactors challenging. Here we use single-molecule atomic force microscopy to directly monitor the folding and cofactor binding dynamics of an engineered metal-binding protein G6-53 at the single-molecule level. Using the mechanical stability of different conformers of G6-53 as sensitive probes, we directly identified different G6-53 conformers (unfolded, apo- and Ni2+-bound) populated along the folding pathway of G6-53 in the presence of its cofactor Ni2+. By carrying out single-molecule atomic force microscopy refolding experiments, we monitored kinetic evolution processes of these different conformers. Our results suggested that the majority of G6-53 folds through a binding-after-folding mechanism, whereas a small fraction follows a binding-before-folding pathway. Our study opens an avenue to utilizing force spectroscopy techniques to probe the folding dynamics of proteins in the presence of cofactors at the single-molecule level, and we anticipated that this method can be used to study a wide variety of proteins requiring cofactors for their function. PMID:22004755

  6. Trimeric transmembrane domain interactions in paramyxovirus fusion proteins: roles in protein folding, stability, and function.

    PubMed

    Smith, Everett Clinton; Smith, Stacy E; Carter, James R; Webb, Stacy R; Gibson, Kathleen M; Hellman, Lance M; Fried, Michael G; Dutch, Rebecca Ellis

    2013-12-13

    Paramyxovirus fusion (F) proteins promote membrane fusion between the viral envelope and host cell membranes, a critical early step in viral infection. Although mutational analyses have indicated that transmembrane (TM) domain residues can affect folding or function of viral fusion proteins, direct analysis of TM-TM interactions has proved challenging. To directly assess TM interactions, the oligomeric state of purified chimeric proteins containing the Staphylococcal nuclease (SN) protein linked to the TM segments from three paramyxovirus F proteins was analyzed by sedimentation equilibrium analysis in detergent and buffer conditions that allowed density matching. A monomer-trimer equilibrium best fit was found for all three SN-TM constructs tested, and similar fits were obtained with peptides corresponding to just the TM region of two different paramyxovirus F proteins. These findings demonstrate for the first time that class I viral fusion protein TM domains can self-associate as trimeric complexes in the absence of the rest of the protein. Glycine residues have been implicated in TM helix interactions, so the effect of mutations at Hendra F Gly-508 was assessed in the context of the whole F protein. Mutations G508I or G508L resulted in decreased cell surface expression of the fusogenic form, consistent with decreased stability of the prefusion form of the protein. Sedimentation equilibrium analysis of TM domains containing these mutations gave higher relative association constants, suggesting altered TM-TM interactions. Overall, these results suggest that trimeric TM interactions are important driving forces for protein folding, stability and membrane fusion promotion. PMID:24178297

  7. Cooperative Protein Folding by Two Protein Thiol Disulfide Oxidoreductases and ERO1 in Soybean1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Okuda, Aya; Masuda, Taro; Koishihara, Katsunori; Mita, Ryuta; Iwasaki, Kensuke; Hara, Kumiko; Naruo, Yurika; Hirose, Akiho; Tsuchi, Yuichiro

    2016-01-01

    Most proteins produced in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of eukaryotic cells fold via disulfide formation (oxidative folding). Oxidative folding is catalyzed by protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) and PDI-related ER protein thiol disulfide oxidoreductases (ER oxidoreductases). In yeast and mammals, ER oxidoreductin-1s (Ero1s) supply oxidizing equivalent to the active centers of PDI. In this study, we expressed recombinant soybean Ero1 (GmERO1a) and found that GmERO1a oxidized multiple soybean ER oxidoreductases, in contrast to mammalian Ero1s having a high specificity for PDI. One of these ER oxidoreductases, GmPDIM, associated in vivo and in vitro with GmPDIL-2, was unable to be oxidized by GmERO1a. We therefore pursued the possible cooperative oxidative folding by GmPDIM, GmERO1a, and GmPDIL-2 in vitro and found that GmPDIL-2 synergistically accelerated oxidative refolding. In this process, GmERO1a preferentially oxidized the active center in the a′ domain among the a, a′, and b domains of GmPDIM. A disulfide bond introduced into the active center of the a′ domain of GmPDIM was shown to be transferred to the active center of the a domain of GmPDIM and the a domain of GmPDIM directly oxidized the active centers of both the a or a′ domain of GmPDIL-2. Therefore, we propose that the relay of an oxidizing equivalent from one ER oxidoreductase to another may play an essential role in cooperative oxidative folding by multiple ER oxidoreductases in plants. PMID:26645455

  8. A unified mechanism for protein folding: predetermined pathways with optional errors.

    PubMed

    Krishna, Mallela M G; Englander, S Walter

    2007-03-01

    There is a fundamental conflict between two different views of how proteins fold. Kinetic experiments and theoretical calculations are often interpreted in terms of different population fractions folding through different intermediates in independent unrelated pathways (IUP model). However, detailed structural information indicates that all of the protein population folds through a sequence of intermediates predetermined by the foldon substructure of the target protein and a sequential stabilization principle. These contrary views can be resolved by a predetermined pathway--optional error (PPOE) hypothesis. The hypothesis is that any pathway intermediate can incorporate a chance misfolding error that blocks folding and must be reversed for productive folding to continue. Different fractions of the protein population will then block at different steps, populate different intermediates, and fold at different rates, giving the appearance of multiple unrelated pathways. A test of the hypothesis matches the two models against extensive kinetic folding results for hen lysozyme which have been widely cited in support of independent parallel pathways. The PPOE model succeeds with fewer fitting constants. The fitted PPOE reaction scheme leads to known folding behavior, whereas the IUP properties are contradicted by experiment. The appearance of a conflict with multipath theoretical models seems to be due to their different focus, namely on multitrack microscopic behavior versus cooperative macroscopic behavior. The integration of three well-documented principles in the PPOE model (cooperative foldons, sequential stabilization, optional errors) provides a unifying explanation for how proteins fold and why they fold in that way. PMID:17322530

  9. Kinetic Network Study of the Diversity and Temperature Dependence of Trp-Cage Folding Pathways: Combining Transition Path Theory with Stochastic Simulations

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Weihua; Gallicchio, Emilio; Deng, Nanjie; Andrec, Michael; Levy, Ronald M.

    2011-01-01

    We present a new approach to study a multitude of folding pathways and different folding mechanisms for the 20-residue mini-protein Trp-Cage using the combined power of replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations for conformational sampling, Transition Path Theory (TPT) for constructing folding pathways and stochastic simulations for sampling the pathways in a high dimensional structure space. REMD simulations of Trp-Cage with 16 replicas at temperatures between 270K and 566K are carried out with an all-atom force field (OPLSAA) and an implicit solvent model (AGBNP). The conformations sampled from all temperatures are collected. They form a discretized state space that can be used to model the folding process. The equilibrium population for each state at a target temperature can be calculated using the Weighted-Histogram-Analysis Method (WHAM). By connecting states with similar structures and creating edges satisfying detailed balance conditions, we construct a kinetic network that preserves the equilibrium population distribution of the state space. After defining the folded and unfolded macrostates, committor probabilities (Pfold) are calculated by solving a set of linear equations for each node in the network and pathways are extracted together with their fluxes using the TPT algorithm. By clustering the pathways into folding “tubes”, a more physically meaningful picture of the diversity of folding routes emerges. Stochastic simulations are carried out on the network and a procedure is developed to project sampled trajectories onto the folding tubes. The fluxes through the folding tubes calculated from the stochastic trajectories are in good agreement with the corresponding values obtained from the TPT analysis. The temperature dependence of the ensemble of Trp-Cage folding pathways is investigated. Above the folding temperature, a large number of diverse folding pathways with comparable fluxes flood the energy landscape. At low temperature

  10. Transform and relax sampling for highly anisotropic systems: Application to protein domain motion and folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kitao, Akio

    2011-07-01

    Transform and relax sampling (TRS) is proposed as a conformational sampling method to enhance "soft" fluctuation in highly anisotropic systems using molecular dynamics simulation. This method consists of three stages; transform, relax, and sampling. In the transform stage, molecular dynamics simulation is performed with randomly assigned force bias to enhance the fluctuations along relatively soft collective movements, as expected from the linear response theory. After relaxing the heated system to equilibrium without force bias in the relax stage, Monte Carlo-type determination is made as to whether the generated state is accepted or not. The sampling stage is then conducted for conformational sampling by conventional molecular dynamics simulation. TRS is first applied for the idealized multidimensional double-well Cα model to mimic protein open-close transition. Subsequently, it is applied to three different all-atom protein systems in an explicit solvent model; T4 lysozyme, glutamine binding protein, and a mini-protein chignolin. Investigation of structural variations in the hinge angle of T4 lysozyme in crystals is demonstrated by TRS. The liganded close structure of the glutamine binding protein is sampled starting from the unliganded open form. Chignolin is shown to fold into a native structure multiple times starting from highly extended structures within 100 ns. It is concluded that TRS sampled a reasonable conformational space within a relatively short simulation time in these cases. Possible future extensions of TRS are also discussed.

  11. Using hydroxyl radical footprinting to explore the free energy landscape of protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Calabrese, Antonio N.; Ault, James R.; Radford, Sheena E.; Ashcroft, Alison E.

    2015-01-01

    Characterisation of the conformational states adopted during protein folding, including globally unfolded/disordered structures and partially folded intermediate species, is vital to gain fundamental insights into how a protein folds. In this work we employ fast photochemical oxidation of proteins (FPOP) to map the structural changes that occur in the folding of the four-helical bacterial immunity protein, Im7. Oxidative footprinting coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) is used to probe changes in the solvent accessibility of amino acid side-chains concurrent with the folding process, by quantifying the degree of oxidation experienced by the wild-type protein relative to a kinetically trapped, three-helical folding intermediate and an unfolded variant that lacks secondary structure. Analysis of the unfolded variant by FPOP–MS shows oxidative modifications consistent with the species adopting a solution conformation with a high degree of solvent accessibility. The folding intermediate, by contrast, experiences increased levels of oxidation relative to the wild-type, native protein only in regions destabilised by the amino acid substitutions introduced. The results demonstrate the utility of FPOP–MS to characterise protein variants in different conformational states and to provide insights into protein folding mechanisms that are complementary to measurements such as hydrogen/deuterium exchange labelling and Φ-value analysis. PMID:25746386

  12. Pharmacological chaperone reshapes the energy landscape for folding and aggregation of the prion protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, Amar Nath; Neupane, Krishna; Rezajooei, Negar; Cortez, Leonardo M.; Sim, Valerie L.; Woodside, Michael T.

    2016-06-01

    The development of small-molecule pharmacological chaperones as therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases has proven challenging, partly because their mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we study Fe-TMPyP, a tetrapyrrole that binds to the prion protein PrP and inhibits misfolding, examining its effects on PrP folding at the single-molecule level with force spectroscopy. Single PrP molecules are unfolded with and without Fe-TMPyP present using optical tweezers. Ligand binding to the native structure increases the unfolding force significantly and alters the transition state for unfolding, making it more brittle and raising the barrier height. Fe-TMPyP also binds the unfolded state, delaying native refolding. Furthermore, Fe-TMPyP binding blocks the formation of a stable misfolded dimer by interfering with intermolecular interactions, acting in a similar manner to some molecular chaperones. The ligand thus promotes native folding by stabilizing the native state while also suppressing interactions driving aggregation.

  13. Pharmacological chaperone reshapes the energy landscape for folding and aggregation of the prion protein

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Amar Nath; Neupane, Krishna; Rezajooei, Negar; Cortez, Leonardo M.; Sim, Valerie L.; Woodside, Michael T.

    2016-01-01

    The development of small-molecule pharmacological chaperones as therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases has proven challenging, partly because their mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we study Fe-TMPyP, a tetrapyrrole that binds to the prion protein PrP and inhibits misfolding, examining its effects on PrP folding at the single-molecule level with force spectroscopy. Single PrP molecules are unfolded with and without Fe-TMPyP present using optical tweezers. Ligand binding to the native structure increases the unfolding force significantly and alters the transition state for unfolding, making it more brittle and raising the barrier height. Fe-TMPyP also binds the unfolded state, delaying native refolding. Furthermore, Fe-TMPyP binding blocks the formation of a stable misfolded dimer by interfering with intermolecular interactions, acting in a similar manner to some molecular chaperones. The ligand thus promotes native folding by stabilizing the native state while also suppressing interactions driving aggregation. PMID:27346148

  14. Pharmacological chaperone reshapes the energy landscape for folding and aggregation of the prion protein.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Amar Nath; Neupane, Krishna; Rezajooei, Negar; Cortez, Leonardo M; Sim, Valerie L; Woodside, Michael T

    2016-01-01

    The development of small-molecule pharmacological chaperones as therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases has proven challenging, partly because their mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we study Fe-TMPyP, a tetrapyrrole that binds to the prion protein PrP and inhibits misfolding, examining its effects on PrP folding at the single-molecule level with force spectroscopy. Single PrP molecules are unfolded with and without Fe-TMPyP present using optical tweezers. Ligand binding to the native structure increases the unfolding force significantly and alters the transition state for unfolding, making it more brittle and raising the barrier height. Fe-TMPyP also binds the unfolded state, delaying native refolding. Furthermore, Fe-TMPyP binding blocks the formation of a stable misfolded dimer by interfering with intermolecular interactions, acting in a similar manner to some molecular chaperones. The ligand thus promotes native folding by stabilizing the native state while also suppressing interactions driving aggregation. PMID:27346148

  15. A growing toolbox of techniques for studying β-barrel outer membrane protein folding and biogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Horne, Jim E.; Radford, Sheena E.

    2016-01-01

    Great strides into understanding protein folding have been made since the seminal work of Anfinsen over 40 years ago, but progress in the study of membrane protein folding has lagged behind that of their water soluble counterparts. Researchers in these fields continue to turn to more advanced techniques such as NMR, mass spectrometry, molecular dynamics (MD) and single molecule methods to interrogate how proteins fold. Our understanding of β-barrel outer membrane protein (OMP) folding has benefited from these advances in the last decade. This class of proteins must traverse the periplasm and then insert into an asymmetric lipid membrane in the absence of a chemical energy source. In this review we discuss old, new and emerging techniques used to examine the process of OMP folding and biogenesis in vitro and describe some of the insights and new questions these techniques have revealed. PMID:27284045

  16. Real-time Redox Measurements during Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Reveal Interlinked Protein Folding Functions

    PubMed Central

    Merksamer, Philip I.; Trusina, Ala; Papa, Feroz R.

    2008-01-01

    SUMMARY Disruption of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes unfolded proteins to accumulate, triggering the unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR outputs in turn decrease ER unfolded proteins to close a negative feedback loop. However, because it is infeasible to directly measure the concentration of unfolded proteins in vivo, cells are generically described as experiencing “ER stress” whenever the UPR is active. Because ER redox potential is optimized for oxidative protein folding, we reasoned that measureable redox changes should accompany unfolded protein accumulation. To test this concept, we employed fluorescent protein reporters to dynamically measure ER redox status and UPR activity in single cells. Using these tools, we show that diverse stressors, both experimental and physiological, compromise ER protein oxidation when UPR-imposed homeostatic control is lost. Using genetic analysis we uncovered redox heterogeneities in isogenic cell populations, and revealed functional interlinks between ER protein folding, modification, and quality control systems. PMID:19026441

  17. The Folding of de Novo Designed Protein DS119 via Molecular Dynamics Simulations

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Moye; Hu, Jie; Zhang, Zhuqing

    2016-01-01

    As they are not subjected to natural selection process, de novo designed proteins usually fold in a manner different from natural proteins. Recently, a de novo designed mini-protein DS119, with a βαβ motif and 36 amino acids, has folded unusually slowly in experiments, and transient dimers have been detected in the folding process. Here, by means of all-atom replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations, several comparably stable intermediate states were observed on the folding free-energy landscape of DS119. Conventional molecular dynamics (CMD) simulations showed that when two unfolded DS119 proteins bound together, most binding sites of dimeric aggregates were located at the N-terminal segment, especially residues 5–10, which were supposed to form β-sheet with its own C-terminal segment. Furthermore, a large percentage of individual proteins in the dimeric aggregates adopted conformations similar to those in the intermediate states observed in REMD simulations. These results indicate that, during the folding process, DS119 can easily become trapped in intermediate states. Then, with diffusion, a transient dimer would be formed and stabilized with the binding interface located at N-terminals. This means that it could not quickly fold to the native structure. The complicated folding manner of DS119 implies the important influence of natural selection on protein-folding kinetics, and more improvement should be achieved in rational protein design. PMID:27128902

  18. Recognition of 27-Class Protein Folds by Adding the Interaction of Segments and Motif Information

    PubMed Central

    Feng, Zhenxing; Hu, Xiuzhen

    2014-01-01

    The recognition of protein folds is an important step for the prediction of protein structure and function. After the recognition of 27-class protein folds in 2001 by Ding and Dubchak, prediction algorithms, prediction parameters, and new datasets for the prediction of protein folds have been improved. However, the influences of interactions from predicted secondary structure segments and motif information on protein folding have not been considered. Therefore, the recognition of 27-class protein folds with the interaction of segments and motif information is very important. Based on the 27-class folds dataset built by Liu et al., amino acid composition, the interactions of secondary structure segments, motif frequency, and predicted secondary structure information were extracted. Using the Random Forest algorithm and the ensemble classification strategy, 27-class protein folds and corresponding structural classification were identified by independent test. The overall accuracy of the testing set and structural classification measured up to 78.38% and 92.55%, respectively. When the training set and testing set were combined, the overall accuracy by 5-fold cross validation was 81.16%. In order to compare with the results of previous researchers, the method above was tested on Ding and Dubchak's dataset which has been widely used by many previous researchers, and an improved overall accuracy 70.24% was obtained. PMID:25136571

  19. Protein Folding Simulation of Mutant Go Models of the Wild-Type Trp-cage Protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Linhananta, Apichart; Liu, Junmin

    2008-03-01

    For the past three decades, Go models of protein folding have played important roles in the understanding of how proteins fold from random conformations to their unique native structures. Unfortunately Go models reliance on known NMR or x-ray structures to construct Go interaction potentials severely limit their predictive powers. In this work, we introduce a novel method for constructing Go interaction potentials of mutant proteins based on Go interaction potentials of wild type proteins. As a template we employ the all-atom Go model of the 20-residue Trp-cage protein (A. Linhananta, J. Boer and I. MacKay, J. Chem. Phys., 2005, 122, 114901) as the wild type Go model. Trp-cage mutants are constructed by replacing a Trp-cage residue with a different residue. In particular the Pro-12 residue of the Trp-cage is substituted by Trp-12 to produce the Trp2-cage mutant, whose native structure is not yet known. Monte Carlo simulations, using CHARMM force fields, are performed to determine the ground-state structure mutant. The resulting mutant structures are used to construct the Go interaction potential of the Trp2-cage mutant Go model.

  20. Intact protein folding in the glutathione-depleted endoplasmic reticulum implicates alternative protein thiol reductants.

    PubMed

    Tsunoda, Satoshi; Avezov, Edward; Zyryanova, Alisa; Konno, Tasuku; Mendes-Silva, Leonardo; Pinho Melo, Eduardo; Harding, Heather P; Ron, David

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) requires efficient protein thiol oxidation, but also relies on a parallel reductive process to edit disulfides during the maturation or degradation of secreted proteins. To critically examine the widely held assumption that reduced ER glutathione fuels disulfide reduction, we expressed a modified form of a cytosolic glutathione-degrading enzyme, ChaC1, in the ER lumen. ChaC1(CtoS) purged the ER of glutathione eliciting the expected kinetic defect in oxidation of an ER-localized glutathione-coupled Grx1-roGFP2 optical probe, but had no effect on the disulfide editing-dependent maturation of the LDL receptor or the reduction-dependent degradation of misfolded alpha-1 antitrypsin. Furthermore, glutathione depletion had no measurable effect on induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR); a sensitive measure of ER protein folding homeostasis. These findings challenge the importance of reduced ER glutathione and suggest the existence of alternative electron donor(s) that maintain the reductive capacity of the ER.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03421.001. PMID:25073928

  1. Intact protein folding in the glutathione-depleted endoplasmic reticulum implicates alternative protein thiol reductants

    PubMed Central

    Tsunoda, Satoshi; Avezov, Edward; Zyryanova, Alisa; Konno, Tasuku; Mendes-Silva, Leonardo; Pinho Melo, Eduardo; Harding, Heather P; Ron, David

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) requires efficient protein thiol oxidation, but also relies on a parallel reductive process to edit disulfides during the maturation or degradation of secreted proteins. To critically examine the widely held assumption that reduced ER glutathione fuels disulfide reduction, we expressed a modified form of a cytosolic glutathione-degrading enzyme, ChaC1, in the ER lumen. ChaC1CtoS purged the ER of glutathione eliciting the expected kinetic defect in oxidation of an ER-localized glutathione-coupled Grx1-roGFP2 optical probe, but had no effect on the disulfide editing-dependent maturation of the LDL receptor or the reduction-dependent degradation of misfolded alpha-1 antitrypsin. Furthermore, glutathione depletion had no measurable effect on induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR); a sensitive measure of ER protein folding homeostasis. These findings challenge the importance of reduced ER glutathione and suggest the existence of alternative electron donor(s) that maintain the reductive capacity of the ER. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03421.001 PMID:25073928

  2. Nature’s favorite building block: Deciphering folding and capsid assembly of proteins with the HK97-fold

    PubMed Central

    Suhanovsky, Margaret M.; Teschke, Carolyn M.

    2015-01-01

    Summary For many (if not all) bacterial and archaeal tailed viruses and eukaryotic Herpesvirdae the HK97-fold serves as the major architectural element in icosahedral capsid formation while still enabling the conformational flexibility required during assembly and maturation. Auxiliary proteins or Δ-domains strictly control assembly of multiple, identical, HK97-like subunits into procapsids with specific icosahedral symmetries, rather than aberrant non-icosahedral structures. Procapsids are precursor structures that mature into capsids in a process involving release of auxiliary proteins (or cleavage of Δ-domains), dsDNA packaging, and conformational rearrangement of the HK97-like subunits. Some coat proteins built on the ubiquitous HK97-fold also have accessory domains or loops that impart specific functions, such as increased monomer, procapsid, or capsid stability. In this review, we analyze the numerous HK97-like coat protein structures that are emerging in the literature (over 40 at time of writing) by comparing their topology, additional domains, and their assembly and misassembly reactions. PMID:25864106

  3. A bias-exchange approach to protein folding.

    PubMed

    Piana, Stefano; Laio, Alessandro

    2007-05-01

    By suitably extending a recent approach [Bussi, G.; et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 13435] we introduce a powerful methodology that allows the parallel reconstruction of the free energy of a system in a virtually unlimited number of variables. Multiple metadynamics simulations of the same system at the same temperature are performed, biasing each replica with a time-dependent potential constructed in a different set of collective variables. Exchanges between the bias potentials in the different variables are periodically allowed according to a replica exchange scheme. Due to the efficaciously multidimensional nature of the bias the method allows exploring complex free energy landscapes with high efficiency. The usefulness of the method is demonstrated by performing an atomistic simulation in explicit solvent of the folding of a Triptophane cage miniprotein. It is shown that the folding free energy landscape can be fully characterized starting from an extended conformation with use of only 40 ns of simulation on 8 replicas. PMID:17419610

  4. The Skp chaperone helps fold soluble proteins in vitro by inhibiting aggregation.

    PubMed

    Entzminger, Kevin C; Chang, Christine; Myhre, Ryan O; McCallum, Katie C; Maynard, Jennifer A

    2012-06-19

    The periplasmic seventeen kilodalton protein (Skp) chaperone has been characterized primarily for its role in outer membrane protein (OMP) biogenesis, during which the jellyfish-like trimeric protein encapsulates partially folded OMPs, protecting them from the aqueous environment until delivery to the BAM outer membrane protein insertion complex. However, Skp is increasingly recognized as a chaperone that also assists in folding soluble proteins in the bacterial periplasm. In this capacity, Skp coexpression increases the active yields of many recombinant proteins and bacterial virulence factors. Using a panel of single-chain antibodies and a single-chain T-cell receptor (collectively termed scFvs) possessing varying stabilities and biophysical characteristics, we performed in vivo expression and in vitro folding and aggregation assays in the presence or absence of Skp. For Skp-sensitive scFvs, the presence of Skp during in vitro refolding assays reduced aggregation but did not alter the observed folding rates, resulting in a higher overall yield of active protein. Of the proteins analyzed, Skp sensitivity in all assays correlated with the presence of folding intermediates, as observed with urea denaturation studies. These results are consistent with Skp acting as a holdase, sequestering partially folded intermediates and thereby preventing aggregation. Because not all soluble proteins are sensitive to Skp coexpression, we hypothesize that the presence of a long-lived protein folding intermediate renders a protein sensitive to Skp. Improved understanding of the bacterial periplasmic protein folding machinery may assist in high-level recombinant protein expression and may help identify novel approaches to block bacterial virulence. PMID:22650963

  5. New force replica exchange method and protein folding pathways probed by force-clamp technique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kouza, Maksim; Hu, Chin-Kun; Li, Mai Suan

    2008-01-01

    We have developed a new extended replica exchange method to study thermodynamics of a system in the presence of external force. Our idea is based on the exchange between different force replicas to accelerate the equilibrium process. This new approach was applied to obtain the force-temperature phase diagram and other thermodynamical quantities of the three-domain ubiquitin. Using the Cα-Go model and the Langevin dynamics, we have shown that the refolding pathways of single ubiquitin depend on which terminus is fixed. If the N end is fixed then the folding pathways are different compared to the case when both termini are free, but fixing the C terminal does not change them. Surprisingly, we have found that the anchoring terminal does not affect the pathways of individual secondary structures of three-domain ubiquitin, indicating the important role of the multidomain construction. Therefore, force-clamp experiments, in which one end of a protein is kept fixed, can probe the refolding pathways of a single free-end ubiquitin if one uses either the polyubiquitin or a single domain with the C terminus anchored. However, it is shown that anchoring one end does not affect refolding pathways of the titin domain I27, and the force-clamp spectroscopy is always capable to predict folding sequencing of this protein. We have obtained the reasonable estimate for unfolding barrier of ubiquitin, using the microscopic theory for the dependence of unfolding time on the external force. The linkage between residue Lys48 and the C terminal of ubiquitin is found to have the dramatic effect on the location of the transition state along the end-to-end distance reaction coordinate, but the multidomain construction leaves the transition state almost unchanged. We have found that the maximum force in the force-extension profile from constant velocity force pulling simulations depends on temperature nonlinearly. However, for some narrow temperature interval this dependence becomes linear, as

  6. Solvation and desolvation effects in protein folding: native flexibility, kinetic cooperativity and enthalpic barriers under isostability conditions.

    PubMed

    Liu, Zhirong; Chan, Hue Sun

    2005-11-01

    As different parts of a protein chain approach one another during folding, they are expected to encounter desolvation barriers before optimal packing is achieved. This impediment originates from the water molecule's finite size, which entails a net energetic cost for water exclusion when the formation of compensating close intraprotein contacts is not yet complete. Based on recent advances, we extend our exploration of these microscopic elementary desolvation barriers' roles in the emergence of generic properties of protein folding. Using continuum Gō-like C(alpha) chain models of chymotrypsin inhibitor 2 (CI2) and barnase as examples, we underscore that elementary desolvation barriers between a protein's constituent groups can significantly reduce native conformational fluctuations relative to model predictions that neglected these barriers. An increasing height of elementary desolvation barriers leads to thermodynamically more cooperative folding/unfolding transitions (i.e., higher overall empirical folding barriers) and higher degrees of kinetic cooperativity as manifested by more linear rate-stability relationships under constant temperature. Applying a spatially non-uniform thermodynamic parametrization we recently introduced for the pairwise C(alpha) potentials of mean force, the present barnase model further illustrates that desolvation is a probable physical underpinning for the experimentally observed high intrinsic enthalpic folding barrier under isostability conditions. PMID:16280624

  7. Protein folding: independent unrelated pathways or predetermined pathway with optional errors.

    PubMed

    Bédard, Sabrina; Krishna, Mallela M G; Mayne, Leland; Englander, S Walter

    2008-05-20

    The observation of heterogeneous protein folding kinetics has been widely interpreted in terms of multiple independent unrelated pathways (IUP model), both experimentally and in theoretical calculations. However, direct structural information on folding intermediates and their properties now indicates that all of a protein population folds through essentially the same stepwise pathway, determined by cooperative native-like foldon units and the way that the foldons fit together in the native protein. It is essential to decide between these fundamentally different folding mechanisms. This article shows, contrary to previous supposition, that the heterogeneous folding kinetics observed for the staphylococcal nuclease protein (SNase) does not require alternative parallel pathways. SNase folding kinetics can be fit equally well by a single predetermined pathway that allows for optional misfolding errors, which are known to occur ubiquitously in protein folding. Structural, kinetic, and thermodynamic information for the folding intermediates and pathways of many proteins is consistent with the predetermined pathway-optional error (PPOE) model but contrary to the properties implied in IUP models. PMID:18480257

  8. From local structure to a global framework: recognition of protein folds

    PubMed Central

    Joseph, Agnel Praveen; de Brevern, Alexandre G.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding has been a major area of research for many years. Nonetheless, the mechanisms leading to the formation of an active biological fold are still not fully apprehended. The huge amount of available sequence and structural information provides hints to identify the putative fold for a given sequence. Indeed, protein structures prefer a limited number of local backbone conformations, some being characterized by preferences for certain amino acids. These preferences largely depend on the local structural environment. The prediction of local backbone conformations has become an important factor to correctly identifying the global protein fold. Here, we review the developments in the field of local structure prediction and especially their implication in protein fold recognition. PMID:24740960

  9. Fold of the conserved DTC domain in deltex proteins

    SciTech Connect

    Obiero, Josiah; Walker, John R.; Dhe-Paganon, Sirano

    2012-04-30

    Human Deltex 3-like (DTX3L) is a member of the Deltex family of proteins. Initially identified as a B-lymphoma and BAL-associated protein, DTX3L is an E3 ligase that regulates subcellular localization of its partner protein, BAL, by a dynamic nucleocytoplasmic trafficking mechanism. Unlike other members of the Deltex family of proteins, DTX3L lacks the highly basic N-terminal motif and the central proline-rich motif present in other Deltex proteins, and instead contains other unique N-terminal domains. The C-terminal domains are, however, homologous with other members of the Deltex family of proteins; these include a RING domain and a previously unidentified C-terminal domain. In this study, we report the high-resolution crystal structure of this previously uncharacterized C-terminal domain of human DTX3L, which we term the Deltex C-terminal domain.

  10. Glucocorticoids alleviate intestinal ER stress by enhancing protein folding and degradation of misfolded proteins

    PubMed Central

    Das, Indrajit; Png, Chin Wen; Oancea, Iulia; Hasnain, Sumaira Z.; Lourie, Rohan; Proctor, Martina; Eri, Rajaraman D.; Sheng, Yong; Crane, Denis I.; Florin, Timothy H.

    2013-01-01

    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in intestinal secretory cells has been linked with colitis in mice and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Endogenous intestinal glucocorticoids are important for homeostasis and glucocorticoid drugs are efficacious in IBD. In Winnie mice with intestinal ER stress caused by misfolding of the Muc2 mucin, the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX) suppressed ER stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), substantially restoring goblet cell Muc2 production. In mice lacking inflammation, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist increased ER stress, and DEX suppressed ER stress induced by the N-glycosylation inhibitor, tunicamycin (Tm). In cultured human intestinal secretory cells, in a glucocorticoid receptor-dependent manner, DEX suppressed ER stress and UPR activation induced by blocking N-glycosylation, reducing ER Ca2+ or depleting glucose. DEX up-regulated genes encoding chaperones and elements of ER-associated degradation (ERAD), including EDEM1. Silencing EDEM1 partially inhibited DEX’s suppression of misfolding-induced ER stress, showing that DEX enhances ERAD. DEX inhibited Tm-induced MUC2 precursor accumulation, promoted production of mature mucin, and restored ER exit and secretion of Winnie mutant recombinant Muc2 domains, consistent with enhanced protein folding. In IBD, glucocorticoids are likely to ameliorate ER stress by promoting correct folding of secreted proteins and enhancing removal of misfolded proteins from the ER. PMID:23650437

  11. Folding-unfolding transitions of Rv3221c on the pressure-temperature plane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somkuti, Judit; Jain, Sriyans; Ramachandran, Srinivasan; ászló Smeller, L.

    2013-06-01

    Rv3221c is a biotin-binding protein found in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It has been reported that an elevated temperature is needed for it to adopt a folded conformation. We determined the complete pressure-temperature phase diagram, and determined the thermodynamical parameters of the denaturation. The phase diagram follows well the Hawley theory. The secondary structure of the protein was found to contain predominantly beta sheet. The pressure unfolding was partially reversible, resulting in pressure-sensitive aggregates, besides the correctly refolded and biotin-bound fraction of proteins.

  12. Machine Learning: How Much Does It Tell about Protein Folding Rates?

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Heng-Chang; Bogatyreva, Natalya S.; Filion, Guillaume J.; Ivankov, Dmitry N.

    2015-01-01

    The prediction of protein folding rates is a necessary step towards understanding the principles of protein folding. Due to the increasing amount of experimental data, numerous protein folding models and predictors of protein folding rates have been developed in the last decade. The problem has also attracted the attention of scientists from computational fields, which led to the publication of several machine learning-based models to predict the rate of protein folding. Some of them claim to predict the logarithm of protein folding rate with an accuracy greater than 90%. However, there are reasons to believe that such claims are exaggerated due to large fluctuations and overfitting of the estimates. When we confronted three selected published models with new data, we found a much lower predictive power than reported in the original publications. Overly optimistic predictive powers appear from violations of the basic principles of machine-learning. We highlight common misconceptions in the studies claiming excessive predictive power and propose to use learning curves as a safeguard against those mistakes. As an example, we show that the current amount of experimental data is insufficient to build a linear predictor of logarithms of folding rates based on protein amino acid composition. PMID:26606303

  13. Swfoldrate: predicting protein folding rates from amino acid sequence with sliding window method.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Xiang; Xiao, Xuan; Wu, Zhi-cheng; Wang, Pu; Lin, Wei-zhong

    2013-01-01

    Protein folding is the process by which a protein processes from its denatured state to its specific biologically active conformation. Understanding the relationship between sequences and the folding rates of proteins remains an important challenge. Most previous methods of predicting protein folding rate require the tertiary structure of a protein as an input. In this study, the long-range and short-range contact in protein were used to derive extended version of the pseudo amino acid composition based on sliding window method. This method is capable of predicting the protein folding rates just from the amino acid sequence without the aid of any structural class information. We systematically studied the contributions of individual features to folding rate prediction. The optimal feature selection procedures are adopted by means of combining the forward feature selection and sequential backward selection method. Using the jackknife cross validation test, the method was demonstrated on the large dataset. The predictor was achieved on the basis of multitudinous physicochemical features and statistical features from protein using nonlinear support vector machine (SVM) regression model, the method obtained an excellent agreement between predicted and experimentally observed folding rates of proteins. The correlation coefficient is 0.9313 and the standard error is 2.2692. The prediction server is freely available at http://www.jci-bioinfo.cn/swfrate/input.jsp. PMID:22933332

  14. Local rules for protein folding on a triangular lattice and generalized hydrophobicity in the HP model

    SciTech Connect

    Agarwala, R.; Batzoglou, S.; Dancik, V.

    1997-06-01

    We consider the problem of determining the three-dimensional folding of a protein given its one-dimensional amino acid sequence. We use the HP model for protein folding proposed by Dill, which models protein as a chain of amino acid residues that are either hydrophobic or polar, and hydrophobic interactions are the dominant initial driving force for the protein folding. Hart and Istrail gave approximation algorithms for folding proteins on the cubic lattice under HP model. In this paper, we examine the choice of a lattice by considering its algorithmic and geometric implications and argue that triangular lattice is a more reasonable choice. We present a set of folding rules for a triangular lattice and analyze the approximation ratio which they achieve. In addition, we introduce a generalization of the HP model to account for residues having different levels of hydrophobicity. After describing the biological foundation for this generalization, we show that in the new model we are able to achieve similar constant factor approximation guarantees on the triangular lattice as were achieved in the standard HP model. While the structures derived from our folding rules are probably still far from biological reality, we hope that having a set of folding rules with different properties will yield more interesting folds when combined.

  15. Structure-approximating inverse protein folding problem in the 2D HP model.

    PubMed

    Gupta, Arvind; Manuch, Ján; Stacho, Ladislav

    2005-12-01

    The inverse protein folding problem is that of designing an amino acid sequence which has a particular native protein fold. This problem arises in drug design where a particular structure is necessary to ensure proper protein-protein interactions. In this paper, we show that in the 2D HP model of Dill it is possible to solve this problem for a broad class of structures. These structures can be used to closely approximate any given structure. One of the most important properties of a good protein (in drug design) is its stability--the aptitude not to fold simultaneously into other structures. We show that for a number of basic structures, our sequences have a unique fold. PMID:16379538

  16. Chemical and biological approaches synergize to ameliorate protein-folding diseases.

    PubMed

    Mu, Ting-Wei; Ong, Derrick Sek Tong; Wang, Ya-Juan; Balch, William E; Yates, John R; Segatori, Laura; Kelly, Jeffery W

    2008-09-01

    Loss-of-function diseases are often caused by a mutation in a protein traversing the secretory pathway that compromises the normal balance between protein folding, trafficking, and degradation. We demonstrate that the innate cellular protein homeostasis, or proteostasis, capacity can be enhanced to fold mutated enzymes that would otherwise misfold and be degraded, using small molecule proteostasis regulators. Two proteostasis regulators are reported that alter the composition of the proteostasis network in the endoplasmic reticulum through the unfolded protein response, increasing the mutant folded protein concentration that can engage the trafficking machinery, restoring function to two nonhomologous mutant enzymes associated with distinct lysosomal storage diseases. Coapplication of a pharmacologic chaperone and a proteostasis regulator exhibits synergy because of the former's ability to further increase the concentration of trafficking-competent mutant folded enzymes. It may be possible to ameliorate loss-of-function diseases by using proteostasis regulators alone or in combination with a pharmacologic chaperone. PMID:18775310

  17. Fast closure of N-terminal long loops but slow formation of β strands precedes the folding transition state of Escherichia coli adenylate kinase.

    PubMed

    Orevi, Tomer; Ben Ishay, Eldad; Gershanov, Sivan Levin; Dalak, Mayan Ben; Amir, Dan; Haas, Elisha

    2014-05-20

    The nature of the earliest steps of the initiation of the folding pathway of globular proteins is still controversial. To elucidate the role of early closure of long loop structures in the folding transition, we studied the folding kinetics of subdomain structures in Escherichia coli adenylate kinase (AK) using Förster type resonance excitation energy transfer (FRET)-based methods. The overall folding rate of the AK molecule and of several segments that form native β strands is 0.5 ± 0.3 s(-1), in sharp contrast to the 1000-fold faster closure of three long loop structures in the CORE domain. A FRET-based "double kinetics" analysis revealed complex transient changes in the initially closed N-terminal loop structure that then opens and closes again at the end of the folding pathway. The study of subdomain folding in situ suggests a hierarchic ordered folding mechanism, in which early and rapid cross-linking by hydrophobic loop closure provides structural stabilization at the initiation of the folding pathway. PMID:24787383

  18. Picosecond to nanosecond dynamics provide a source of conformational entropy for protein folding.

    PubMed

    Stadler, Andreas M; Demmel, Franz; Ollivier, Jacques; Seydel, Tilo

    2016-08-01

    Myoglobin can be trapped in fully folded structures, partially folded molten globules, and unfolded states under stable equilibrium conditions. Here, we report an experimental study on the conformational dynamics of different folded conformational states of apo- and holomyoglobin in solution. Global protein diffusion and internal molecular motions were probed by neutron time-of-flight and neutron backscattering spectroscopy on the picosecond and nanosecond time scales. Global protein diffusion was found to depend on the α-helical content of the protein suggesting that charges on the macromolecule increase the short-time diffusion of protein. With regard to the molten globules, a gel-like phase due to protein entanglement and interactions with neighbouring macromolecules was visible due to a reduction of the global diffusion coefficients on the nanosecond time scale. Diffusion coefficients, residence and relaxation times of internal protein dynamics and root mean square displacements of localised internal motions were determined for the investigated structural states. The difference in conformational entropy ΔSconf of the protein between the unfolded and the partially or fully folded conformations was extracted from the measured root mean square displacements. Using thermodynamic parameters from the literature and the experimentally determined ΔSconf values we could identify the entropic contribution of the hydration shell ΔShydr of the different folded states. Our results point out the relevance of conformational entropy of the protein and the hydration shell for stability and folding of myoglobin. PMID:27425443

  19. Overexpression and purification of folded domain of prostate cancer related proteins MSMB and PSA.

    PubMed

    Tiwary, Mohini; Agarwal, Nipanshu; Dinda, Amit; Yadav, Subhash C

    2016-05-01

    Overexpression of domains of a human protein using recombinant DNA technology has been challenging because individual domains intend to accumulate as non-soluble aggregate when expressed separately. Studies on identifying right sequences for a domain to be able to fold independently may help understand the folding pattern and underlying protein-engineering events to isolate the functional domains of a protein. In this report, individual domains of prostate cancer related biomarkers; MSMB and PSA were overexpressed in bacterial system and purified in their folded forms using affinity chromatography. The western blotting experiment using domain specific antibodies further confirmed these proteins. The designed nucleotide sequences domains were truncated using fold index software and folding were predicted by phyre2 and I-TASSER software. Other parameters were optimized for their overexpression and purification using Co-NTA affinity chromatography. Purified domains of each protein showed secondary structures such as α + β type for PSA, α/β and β type for the each domains of PSA and MSMB respectively. This is the first report on producing PSA and MSMB individual domains in functional folded forms. This study may help produce the folded domain of many such proteins to be used for better diagnostic purpose. PMID:27038170

  20. Interaction of SecB with intermediates along the folding pathway of maltose-binding protein.

    PubMed Central

    Diamond, D. L.; Strobel, S.; Chun, S. Y.; Randall, L. L.

    1995-01-01

    SecB, a molecular chaperone involved in protein export in Escherichia coli, displays the remarkable ability to selectively bind many different polypeptide ligands whose only common feature is that of being nonnative. The selectivity is explained in part by a kinetic partitioning between the folding of a polypeptide and its association with SecB. SecB has no affinity for native, stably folded polypeptides but interacts tightly with polypeptides that are nonnative. In order to better understand the nature of the binding, we have examined the interaction of SecB with intermediates along the folding pathway of maltose-binding protein. Taking advantage of forms of maltose-binding protein that are altered in their folding properties, we show that the first intermediate in folding, represented by the collapsed state, binds to SecB, and that the polypeptide remains active as a ligand until it crosses the final energy barrier to attain the native state. PMID:7549876

  1. Dynamics of the GroEL-protein complex: effects of nucleotides and folding mutants.

    PubMed

    Sparrer, H; Lilie, H; Buchner, J

    1996-04-26

    Chaperonins are a ubiquitous class of ring-shaped oligomeric protein complexes that are of crucial importance for protein folding in vivo. Analysis of the underlying functional principles had relied mainly on model proteins the (un)folding of which is dominated by irreversible side-reactions. We used maltose-binding protein (MBP) as a substrate protein for GroEL, since the refolding of this protein is completely reversible and thus allows a detailed analysis of the molecular parameters that determine the interaction of GroEL with non-native protein. We show that MBP folding intermediates are effectively trapped by GroEL in a diffusion-controlled reaction. This complex is stabilized via unspecific hydrophobic interactions. Stabilization energies for wild-type MBP increasing linearly with ionic strength from 50 kJ/mol to 60 kJ/mol. Depending on the intrinsic folding rate and the hydrophobicity of the substrate protein, the interaction of GroEL with MBP folding intermediates leads to a dramatically decreased apparent refolding rate of MBP (wild-type) or a complete suppression of folding (MBP folding mutant Y283D). On the basis of our data, a quantitative kinetic model of the GroEL-mediated folding cycle is proposed, which allows simulation of the partial reactions of the binding and release cycles under all conditions tested. In the presence of ATP and non-hydrolysable analogues, MBP is effectively released from GroEL, since the overall dissociation constant is reduced by three orders of magnitude. Interestingly, binding of nucleotide does not change the off rate by more than a factor of 3. However the on-rate is decreased by at least two orders of magnitude. Therefore, the rebinding reaction is prevented and folding occurs in solution. PMID:8613994

  2. Systematic characterization of protein folding pathways using diffusion maps: Application to Trp-cage miniprotein

    SciTech Connect

    Kim, Sang Beom; Dsilva, Carmeline J.; Debenedetti, Pablo G.; Kevrekidis, Ioannis G.

    2015-02-28

    Understanding the mechanisms by which proteins fold from disordered amino-acid chains to spatially ordered structures remains an area of active inquiry. Molecular simulations can provide atomistic details of the folding dynamics which complement experimental findings. Conventional order parameters, such as root-mean-square deviation and radius of gyration, provide structural information but fail to capture the underlying dynamics of the protein folding process. It is therefore advantageous to adopt a method that can systematically analyze simulation data to extract relevant structural as well as dynamical information. The nonlinear dimensionality reduction technique known as diffusion maps automatically embeds the high-dimensional folding trajectories in a lower-dimensional space from which one can more easily visualize folding pathways, assuming the data lie approximately on a lower-dimensional manifold. The eigenvectors that parametrize the low-dimensional space, furthermore, are determined systematically, rather than chosen heuristically, as is done with phenomenological order parameters. We demonstrate that diffusion maps can effectively characterize the folding process of a Trp-cage miniprotein. By embedding molecular dynamics simulation trajectories of Trp-cage folding in diffusion maps space, we identify two folding pathways and intermediate structures that are consistent with the previous studies, demonstrating that this technique can be employed as an effective way of analyzing and constructing protein folding pathways from molecular simulations.

  3. Systematic characterization of protein folding pathways using diffusion maps: Application to Trp-cage miniprotein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Sang Beom; Dsilva, Carmeline J.; Kevrekidis, Ioannis G.; Debenedetti, Pablo G.

    2015-02-01

    Understanding the mechanisms by which proteins fold from disordered amino-acid chains to spatially ordered structures remains an area of active inquiry. Molecular simulations can provide atomistic details of the folding dynamics which complement experimental findings. Conventional order parameters, such as root-mean-square deviation and radius of gyration, provide structural information but fail to capture the underlying dynamics of the protein folding process. It is therefore advantageous to adopt a method that can systematically analyze simulation data to extract relevant structural as well as dynamical information. The nonlinear dimensionality reduction technique known as diffusion maps automatically embeds the high-dimensional folding trajectories in a lower-dimensional space from which one can more easily visualize folding pathways, assuming the data lie approximately on a lower-dimensional manifold. The eigenvectors that parametrize the low-dimensional space, furthermore, are determined systematically, rather than chosen heuristically, as is done with phenomenological order parameters. We demonstrate that diffusion maps can effectively characterize the folding process of a Trp-cage miniprotein. By embedding molecular dynamics simulation trajectories of Trp-cage folding in diffusion maps space, we identify two folding pathways and intermediate structures that are consistent with the previous studies, demonstrating that this technique can be employed as an effective way of analyzing and constructing protein folding pathways from molecular simulations.

  4. Thermodynamic linkage analysis of pH-induced folding and unfolding transitions of i-motifs.

    PubMed

    Kim, Byul G; Chalikian, Tigran V

    2016-09-01

    We describe the pH-induced folding/unfolding transitions of i-motifs by a linkage thermodynamics-based formalism in terms of three pKa's of cytosines, namely, an apparent pKa in the unfolded conformation, pKau, and two apparent pKa's in the folded state, pKaf1 and pKaf2. For the 5'-TTACCCACCCTACCCACCCTCA-3' sequence from the human c-MYC oncogene promoter region, the values of pKau, pKaf1, and pKaf2 are 4.8, 6.0, and 3.6, respectively. With these pKa's, we calculate the differential number of protons bound to the folded and unfolded states as a function of pH. Analysis along these lines offers an alternative interpretation to the experimentally observed shift in the pH-induced unfolded-to-i-motif transitions to neutral pH in the presence of cosolvents and crowders. PMID:27322499

  5. Mathematics, thermodynamics, and modeling to address ten common misconceptions about protein structure, folding, and stability.

    PubMed

    Robic, Srebrenka

    2010-01-01

    To fully understand the roles proteins play in cellular processes, students need to grasp complex ideas about protein structure, folding, and stability. Our current understanding of these topics is based on mathematical models and experimental data. However, protein structure, folding, and stability are often introduced as descriptive, qualitative phenomena in undergraduate classes. In the process of learning about these topics, students often form incorrect ideas. For example, by learning about protein folding in the context of protein synthesis, students may come to an incorrect conclusion that once synthesized on the ribosome, a protein spends its entire cellular life time in its fully folded native confirmation. This is clearly not true; proteins are dynamic structures that undergo both local fluctuations and global unfolding events. To prevent and address such misconceptions, basic concepts of protein science can be introduced in the context of simple mathematical models and hands-on explorations of publicly available data sets. Ten common misconceptions about proteins are presented, along with suggestions for using equations, models, sequence, structure, and thermodynamic data to help students gain a deeper understanding of basic concepts relating to protein structure, folding, and stability. PMID:20810950

  6. Trigger Factor Reduces the Force Exerted on the Nascent Chain by a Cotranslationally Folding Protein.

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Ola B; Müller-Lucks, Annika; Kramer, Günter; Bukau, Bernd; von Heijne, Gunnar

    2016-03-27

    Cotranslational protein folding can generate pulling forces on the nascent chain that can affect the instantaneous translation rate and thereby possibly feed back on the folding process. Such feedback would represent a new way of coupling translation and folding, different from coupling based on, for example, codon usage. However, to date, we have carried out the experiments used to measure pulling forces generated by cotranslational protein folding either in reconstituted in vitro translation systems lacking chaperones, in ill-defined cell lysates, or in vivo; hence, the effects of chaperones on force generation by folding are unknown. Here, we have studied the cotranslational folding of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) in the absence and in the presence of the chaperones trigger factor (TF) and GroEL/ES. DHFR was tethered to the ribosome via a C-terminal linker of varying length, ending with the SecM translational arrest peptide that serves as an intrinsic force sensor reporting on the force generated on the nascent chain when DHFR folds. We find that DHFR folds into its native structure only when it has emerged fully outside the ribosome and that TF and GroEL alone substantially reduces the force generated on the nascent chain by the folding of DHFR, while GroEL/ES has no effect. TF therefore weakens the possible coupling between cotranslational folding and translation. PMID:26906929

  7. Microsecond Rearrangements of Hydrophobic Clusters in an Initially Collapsed Globule Prime Structure Formation during the Folding of a Small Protein.

    PubMed

    Goluguri, Rama Reddy; Udgaonkar, Jayant B

    2016-07-31

    Determining how polypeptide chain collapse initiates structure formation during protein folding is a long standing goal. It has been challenging to characterize experimentally the dynamics of the polypeptide chain, which lead to the formation of a compact kinetic molten globule (MG) in about a millisecond. In this study, the sub-millisecond events that occur early during the folding of monellin from the guanidine hydrochloride-unfolded state have been characterized using multiple fluorescence and fluorescence resonance energy transfer probes. The kinetic MG is shown to form in a noncooperative manner from the unfolded (U) state as a result of at least three different processes happening during the first millisecond of folding. Initial chain compaction completes within the first 37μs, and further compaction occurs only after structure formation commences at a few milliseconds of folding. The transient nonnative and native-like hydrophobic clusters with side chains of certain residues buried form during the initial chain collapse and the nonnative clusters quickly disassemble. Subsequently, partial chain desolvation occurs, leading to the formation of a kinetic MG. The initial chain compaction and subsequent chain rearrangement appear to be barrierless processes. The two structural rearrangements within the collapsed globule appear to prime the protein for the actual folding transition. PMID:27370109

  8. A Segmentation-Based Method to Extract Structural and Evolutionary Features for Protein Fold Recognition.

    PubMed

    Dehzangi, Abdollah; Paliwal, Kuldip; Lyons, James; Sharma, Alok; Sattar, Abdul

    2014-01-01

    Protein fold recognition (PFR) is considered as an important step towards the protein structure prediction problem. Despite all the efforts that have been made so far, finding an accurate and fast computational approach to solve the PFR still remains a challenging problem for bioinformatics and computational biology. In this study, we propose the concept of segmented-based feature extraction technique to provide local evolutionary information embedded in position specific scoring matrix (PSSM) and structural information embedded in the predicted secondary structure of proteins using SPINE-X. We also employ the concept of occurrence feature to extract global discriminatory information from PSSM and SPINE-X. By applying a support vector machine (SVM) to our extracted features, we enhance the protein fold prediction accuracy for 7.4 percent over the best results reported in the literature. We also report 73.8 percent prediction accuracy for a data set consisting of proteins with less than 25 percent sequence similarity rates and 80.7 percent prediction accuracy for a data set with proteins belonging to 110 folds with less than 40 percent sequence similarity rates. We also investigate the relation between the number of folds and the number of features being used and show that the number of features should be increased to get better protein fold prediction results when the number of folds is relatively large. PMID:26356019

  9. A hybrid MD-kMC algorithm for folding proteins in explicit solvent.

    PubMed

    Peter, Emanuel Karl; Shea, Joan-Emma

    2014-04-14

    We present a novel hybrid MD-kMC algorithm that is capable of efficiently folding proteins in explicit solvent. We apply this algorithm to the folding of a small protein, Trp-Cage. Different kMC move sets that capture different possible rate limiting steps are implemented. The first uses secondary structure formation as a relevant rate event (a combination of dihedral rotations and hydrogen-bonding formation and breakage). The second uses tertiary structure formation events through formation of contacts via translational moves. Both methods fold the protein, but via different mechanisms and with different folding kinetics. The first method leads to folding via a structured helical state, with kinetics fit by a single exponential. The second method leads to folding via a collapsed loop, with kinetics poorly fit by single or double exponentials. In both cases, folding times are faster than experimentally reported values, The secondary and tertiary move sets are integrated in a third MD-kMC implementation, which now leads to folding of the protein via both pathways, with single and double-exponential fits to the rates, and to folding rates in good agreement with experimental values. The competition between secondary and tertiary structure leads to a longer search for the helix-rich intermediate in the case of the first pathway, and to the emergence of a kinetically trapped long-lived molten-globule collapsed state in the case of the second pathway. The algorithm presented not only captures experimentally observed folding intermediates and kinetics, but yields insights into the relative roles of local and global interactions in determining folding mechanisms and rates. PMID:24499973

  10. A highly stable protein chimera built from fragments of different folds.

    PubMed

    Shanmugaratnam, Sooruban; Eisenbeis, Simone; Höcker, Birte

    2012-11-01

    Proteins increased in complexity during the course of evolution. Domains as well as subdomain-sized fragments were recruited and adapted to form new proteins and novel folds. This concept can be used in engineering to construct new proteins. We previously reported the combination of fragments from two ancient protein folds, a flavodoxin-like and a (βα)₈-barrel protein. Here we report two further attempts at engineering a chimeric protein from fragments of these folds. While one of the constructs showed a high tendency to aggregate, the other turned out to be a highly stable, well-structured protein. In terms of stability against heat and chemical denaturation this chimera, named NarLHisF, is superior to the earlier presented CheYHisF. This is the second instance of a chimera build from two different protein folds, which demonstrates how easily recombination can lead to the development and diversification of new proteins--a mechanism that most likely occurred frequently in the course of evolution. Based on the results of the failed and the successful chimera, we discuss important considerations for a general design strategy for fold chimeras. PMID:23081840

  11. Redox regulation of protein folding in the mitochondrial intermembrane space

    PubMed Central

    Koehler, Carla M.; Tienson, Heather L.

    2014-01-01

    Protein translocation pathways to the mitochondrial matrix and inner membrane have been well characterized. However, translocation into the intermembrane space, which was thought to be simply a modification of the traditional translocation pathways, is complex. The mechanism by which a subset of intermembrane space proteins, those with disulfide bonds, are translocated has been largely unknown until recently. Specifically, the intermembrane space proteins with disulfide bonds are imported via the mitochondrial intermembrane space assembly (MIA) pathway. Substrates are imported via a disulfide exchange relay with two components Mia40 and Erv1. This new breakthrough has resulted in novel concepts for assembly of proteins in the intermembrane space, suggesting that this compartment may be similar to that of the endoplasmic reticulum and the prokaryotic periplasm. As a better understanding of this pathway emerges, new paradigms for thiol-disulfide exchange mechanisms may be developed. Given that the intermembrane space is important for disease processes including apoptosis and neurodegeneration, new roles in regulation by oxidation–reduction chemistry seem likely to be relevant. PMID:18761382

  12. Hands-on Force Spectroscopy: Weird Springs and Protein Folding

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Euler, Manfred

    2008-01-01

    A force spectroscopy model experiment is presented using a low-cost tensile apparatus described earlier. Force-extension measurements of twisted rubber bands are obtained. They exhibit a complex nonlinear elastic behaviour that resembles atomic force spectroscopy investigations of molecules of titin, a muscle protein. The model experiments open up…

  13. De Novo Evolutionary Emergence of a Symmetrical Protein Is Shaped by Folding Constraints.

    PubMed

    Smock, Robert G; Yadid, Itamar; Dym, Orly; Clarke, Jane; Tawfik, Dan S

    2016-01-28

    Molecular evolution has focused on the divergence of molecular functions, yet we know little about how structurally distinct protein folds emerge de novo. We characterized the evolutionary trajectories and selection forces underlying emergence of β-propeller proteins, a globular and symmetric fold group with diverse functions. The identification of short propeller-like motifs (<50 amino acids) in natural genomes indicated that they expanded via tandem duplications to form extant propellers. We phylogenetically reconstructed 47-residue ancestral motifs that form five-bladed lectin propellers via oligomeric assembly. We demonstrate a functional trajectory of tandem duplications of these motifs leading to monomeric lectins. Foldability, i.e., higher efficiency of folding, was the main parameter leading to improved functionality along the entire evolutionary trajectory. However, folding constraints changed along the trajectory: initially, conflicts between monomer folding and oligomer assembly dominated, whereas subsequently, upon tandem duplication, tradeoffs between monomer stability and foldability took precedence. PMID:26806127

  14. Complex Pathways in Folding of Protein G Explored by Simulation and Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Lapidus, Lisa J.; Acharya, Srabasti; Schwantes, Christian R.; Wu, Ling; Shukla, Diwakar; King, Michael; DeCamp, Stephen J.; Pande, Vijay S.

    2014-01-01

    The B1 domain of protein G has been a classic model system of folding for decades, the subject of numerous experimental and computational studies. Most of the experimental work has focused on whether the protein folds via an intermediate, but the evidence is mostly limited to relatively slow kinetic observations with a few structural probes. In this work we observe folding on the submillisecond timescale with microfluidic mixers using a variety of probes including tryptophan fluorescence, circular dichroism, and photochemical oxidation. We find that each probe yields different kinetics and compare these observations with a Markov State Model constructed from large-scale molecular dynamics simulations and find a complex network of states that yield different kinetics for different observables. We conclude that there are many folding pathways before the final folding step and that these paths do not have large free energy barriers. PMID:25140430

  15. De Novo Evolutionary Emergence of a Symmetrical Protein Is Shaped by Folding Constraints

    PubMed Central

    Smock, Robert G.; Yadid, Itamar; Dym, Orly; Clarke, Jane; Tawfik, Dan S.

    2016-01-01

    Summary Molecular evolution has focused on the divergence of molecular functions, yet we know little about how structurally distinct protein folds emerge de novo. We characterized the evolutionary trajectories and selection forces underlying emergence of β-propeller proteins, a globular and symmetric fold group with diverse functions. The identification of short propeller-like motifs (<50 amino acids) in natural genomes indicated that they expanded via tandem duplications to form extant propellers. We phylogenetically reconstructed 47-residue ancestral motifs that form five-bladed lectin propellers via oligomeric assembly. We demonstrate a functional trajectory of tandem duplications of these motifs leading to monomeric lectins. Foldability, i.e., higher efficiency of folding, was the main parameter leading to improved functionality along the entire evolutionary trajectory. However, folding constraints changed along the trajectory: initially, conflicts between monomer folding and oligomer assembly dominated, whereas subsequently, upon tandem duplication, tradeoffs between monomer stability and foldability took precedence. PMID:26806127

  16. Acceleration of protein folding by four orders of magnitude through a single amino acid substitution

    PubMed Central

    Roderer, Daniel J. A.; Schärer, Martin A.; Rubini, Marina; Glockshuber, Rudi

    2015-01-01

    Cis prolyl peptide bonds are conserved structural elements in numerous protein families, although their formation is energetically unfavorable, intrinsically slow and often rate-limiting for folding. Here we investigate the reasons underlying the conservation of the cis proline that is diagnostic for the fold of thioredoxin-like thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases. We show that replacement of the conserved cis proline in thioredoxin by alanine can accelerate spontaneous folding to the native, thermodynamically most stable state by more than four orders of magnitude. However, the resulting trans alanine bond leads to small structural rearrangements around the active site that impair the function of thioredoxin as catalyst of electron transfer reactions by more than 100-fold. Our data provide evidence for the absence of a strong evolutionary pressure to achieve intrinsically fast folding rates, which is most likely a consequence of proline isomerases and molecular chaperones that guarantee high in vivo folding rates and yields. PMID:26121966

  17. Acceleration of protein folding by four orders of magnitude through a single amino acid substitution.

    PubMed

    Roderer, Daniel J A; Schärer, Martin A; Rubini, Marina; Glockshuber, Rudi

    2015-01-01

    Cis prolyl peptide bonds are conserved structural elements in numerous protein families, although their formation is energetically unfavorable, intrinsically slow and often rate-limiting for folding. Here we investigate the reasons underlying the conservation of the cis proline that is diagnostic for the fold of thioredoxin-like thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases. We show that replacement of the conserved cis proline in thioredoxin by alanine can accelerate spontaneous folding to the native, thermodynamically most stable state by more than four orders of magnitude. However, the resulting trans alanine bond leads to small structural rearrangements around the active site that impair the function of thioredoxin as catalyst of electron transfer reactions by more than 100-fold. Our data provide evidence for the absence of a strong evolutionary pressure to achieve intrinsically fast folding rates, which is most likely a consequence of proline isomerases and molecular chaperones that guarantee high in vivo folding rates and yields. PMID:26121966

  18. Single-molecule observation of protein folding in symmetric GroEL-(GroES)2 complexes.

    PubMed

    Takei, Yodai; Iizuka, Ryo; Ueno, Taro; Funatsu, Takashi

    2012-11-30

    The chaperonin, GroEL, is an essential molecular chaperone that mediates protein folding together with its cofactor, GroES, in Escherichia coli. It is widely believed that the two rings of GroEL alternate between the folding active state coupled to GroES binding during the reaction cycle. In other words, an asymmetric GroEL-GroES complex (the bullet-shaped complex) is formed throughout the cycle, whereas a symmetric GroEL-(GroES)(2) complex (the football-shaped complex) is not formed. We have recently shown that the football-shaped complex coexists with the bullet-shaped complex during the reaction cycle. However, how protein folding proceeds in the football-shaped complex remains poorly understood. Here, we used GFP as a substrate to visualize protein folding in the football-shaped complex by single-molecule fluorescence techniques. We directly showed that GFP folding occurs in both rings of the football-shaped complex. Remarkably, the folding was a sequential two-step reaction, and the kinetics were in excellent agreement with those in the bullet-shaped complex. These results demonstrate that the same reactions take place independently in both rings of the football-shaped complex to facilitate protein folding. PMID:23048033

  19. Single-molecule Observation of Protein Folding in Symmetric GroEL-(GroES)2 Complexes*

    PubMed Central

    Takei, Yodai; Iizuka, Ryo; Ueno, Taro; Funatsu, Takashi

    2012-01-01

    The chaperonin, GroEL, is an essential molecular chaperone that mediates protein folding together with its cofactor, GroES, in Escherichia coli. It is widely believed that the two rings of GroEL alternate between the folding active state coupled to GroES binding during the reaction cycle. In other words, an asymmetric GroEL-GroES complex (the bullet-shaped complex) is formed throughout the cycle, whereas a symmetric GroEL-(GroES)2 complex (the football-shaped complex) is not formed. We have recently shown that the football-shaped complex coexists with the bullet-shaped complex during the reaction cycle. However, how protein folding proceeds in the football-shaped complex remains poorly understood. Here, we used GFP as a substrate to visualize protein folding in the football-shaped complex by single-molecule fluorescence techniques. We directly showed that GFP folding occurs in both rings of the football-shaped complex. Remarkably, the folding was a sequential two-step reaction, and the kinetics were in excellent agreement with those in the bullet-shaped complex. These results demonstrate that the same reactions take place independently in both rings of the football-shaped complex to facilitate protein folding. PMID:23048033

  20. Residue-specific analysis of frustration in the folding landscape of repeat beta/alpha protein apoflavodoxin.

    PubMed

    Stagg, Loren; Samiotakis, Antonios; Homouz, Dirar; Cheung, Margaret S; Wittung-Stafshede, Pernilla

    2010-02-12

    Flavodoxin adopts the common repeat beta/alpha topology and folds in a complex kinetic reaction with intermediates. To better understand this reaction, we analyzed a set of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans apoflavodoxin variants with point mutations in most secondary structure elements by in vitro and in silico methods. By equilibrium unfolding experiments, we first revealed how different secondary structure elements contribute to overall protein resistance to heat and urea. Next, using stopped-flow mixing coupled with far-UV circular dichroism, we probed how individual residues affect the amount of structure formed in the experimentally detected burst-phase intermediate. Together with in silico folding route analysis of the same point-mutated variants and computation of growth in nucleation size during early folding, computer simulations suggested the presence of two competing folding nuclei at opposite sides of the central beta-strand 3 (i.e., at beta-strands 1 and 4), which cause early topological frustration (i.e., misfolding) in the folding landscape. Particularly, the extent of heterogeneity in folding nuclei growth correlates with the in vitro burst-phase circular dichroism amplitude. In addition, phi-value analysis (in vitro and in silico) of the overall folding barrier to apoflavodoxin's native state revealed that native-like interactions in most of the beta-strands must form in transition state. Our study reveals that an imbalanced competition between the two sides of apoflavodoxin's central beta-sheet directs initial misfolding, while proper alignment on both sides of beta-strand 3 is necessary for productive folding. PMID:19913555

  1. Microscopic theory of protein folding rates. I. Fine structure of the free energy profile and folding routes from a variational approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Portman, John J.; Takada, Shoji; Wolynes, Peter G.

    2001-03-01

    A microscopic theory of the free energy barriers and folding routes for minimally frustrated proteins is presented, greatly expanding on the presentation of the variational approach outlined previously [J. J. Portman, S. Takada, and P. G. Wolynes, Phys. Rev. Lett. 81, 5237 (1998)]. We choose the λ-repressor protein as an illustrative example and focus on how the polymer chain statistics influence free energy profiles and partially ordered ensembles of structures. In particular, we investigate the role of chain stiffness on the free energy profile and folding routes. We evaluate the applicability of simpler approximations in which the conformations of the protein molecule along the folding route are restricted to have residues that are either entirely folded or unfolded in contiguous stretches. We find that the folding routes obtained from only one contiguous folded region corresponds to a chain with a much greater persistence length than appropriate for natural protein chains, while the folding route obtained from two contiguous folded regions is able to capture the relatively folded regions calculated within the variational approach. The free energy profiles obtained from the contiguous sequence approximations have larger barriers than the more microscopic variational theory which is understood as a consequence of partial ordering.

  2. A new tool for protein fold recognition: A Bayesian heuristic threading algorithm.

    SciTech Connect

    Crawford, O.

    1997-10-01

    This paper presents a new threading algorithm, designed to be used in protein fold recognition. Its purpose is to contribute toward the goal of predicting three-dimensional structures of proteins from knowledge of their amino-acid sequences alone. Sequences for new proteins are being discovered at a rapid rate, as a result of the Human Genome Project, and related genome research. Understanding of protein folding, and especially the ability to predict the 3D fold from the sequence, is crucial to the understanding of the function of these new proteins. This is considered by many to be the most important problem in contemporary molecular biology. Numerical tests of the speed and reliability of the algorithm are described, along with comparisons with two popular threading algorithms. For the systems examined, the new method constitutes a significant improvement.

  3. Folding Factors and Partners for the Intrinsically Disordered Protein Micro-Exon Gene 14 (MEG-14)

    PubMed Central

    Lopes, Jose Luiz S.; Orcia, Debora; Araujo, Ana Paula U.; DeMarco, Ricardo; Wallace, B.A.

    2013-01-01

    The micro-exon genes (MEG) of Schistosoma mansoni, a parasite responsible for the second most widely spread tropical disease, code for small secreted proteins with sequences unique to the Schistosoma genera. Bioinformatics analyses suggest the soluble domain of the MEG-14 protein will be largely disordered, and using synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy, its secondary structure was shown to be essentially completely unfolded in aqueous solution. It does, however, show a strong propensity to fold into more ordered structures under a wide range of conditions. Partial folding was produced by increasing temperature (in a reversible process), contrary to the behavior of most soluble proteins. Furthermore, significant folding was observed in the presence of negatively charged lipids and detergents, but not in zwitterionic or neutral lipids or detergents. Absorption onto a surface followed by dehydration stimulated it to fold into a helical structure, as it did when the aqueous solution was replaced by nonaqueous solvents. Hydration of the dehydrated folded protein was accompanied by complete unfolding. These results support the identification of MEG-14 as a classic intrinsically disordered protein, and open the possibility of its interaction/folding with different partners and factors being related to multifunctional roles and states within the host. PMID:23746524

  4. Improvement of Structure-Based Potentials for Protein Folding by Native and Nonnative Hydrogen Bonds

    PubMed Central

    Enciso, Marta; Rey, Antonio

    2011-01-01

    Pure Gō models (where every native interaction equally stabilizes the folded state) have widely proved their convenience in the computational investigation of protein folding. However, a chemistry-based description of the real interactions also provides a desirable tune in the analysis of the folding process, and thus some hybrid Gō potentials that combine both aspects have been proposed. Among all the noncovalent interactions that contribute to protein folding, hydrogen bonds are the only ones with a partial covalent character. This feature makes them directional and, thus, more difficult to model as part of the coarse-grained descriptions that are typically employed in Gō models. Thanks to a simplified but rigorous representation of backbone hydrogen bonds that we have recently proposed, we present in this article a combined potential (Gō + backbone hydrogen bond) to study the thermodynamics of protein folding in the frame of very simple simulation models. We show that the explicit inclusion of hydrogen bonds leads to a systematic improvement in the description of protein folding. We discuss a representative set of examples (from two-state folders to downhill proteins, with different types of native structures) that reveal a relevant agreement with experimental data. PMID:21943429

  5. Folding and signaling share the same pathway in a photoreceptor protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoff, Wouter D.

    2002-03-01

    The photoreceptor photoactive yellow protein (PYP) was used as a model system to study receptor activation and protein folding. Refolding was studied by stopped-flow absorbance spectroscopy for PYP with either a trans or a cis chromophore. Chromophore trans to cis isomerization, the mechanism of light detection by PYP, greatly affects the protein folding process. When the cis chromophore is present, the unfolded state refolding proceeds through the putative signaling state of PYP as an on-pathway intermediate. In addition, moderate denaturant concentrations result in the specific unfolding of the signaling state of PYP. Thus, the signaling state is common to the pathways of folding and signaling. This provides a novel avenue for the study of protein folding. We demonstrate how this approach can be used to establish whether a folding intermediate is on-pathway or off-pathway. The results also reveal transient partial unfolding as a molecular mechanism for signaling. The signaling intermediate of PYP exhibits properties characteristic of a molten globule, providing a challenge for the current paradigm for the relay of signals along a signal transduction chain by highly specific interactions between fully folded proteins.

  6. Single molecule fluorescence studies of transition paths in DNA hairpin folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truex, Katherine; Chung, Hoi Sung; Louis, John; Eaton, William

    DNA hairpins are the simplest structures for investigating fundamental aspects of nucleic acid folding mechanisms. For two-state hairpins, all of the mechanistic information on how the hairpin folds is contained in the transition path (TP), the rare event in single molecule trajectories when the free energy barrier between folded and unfolded states is actually crossed. The only previous experimental study of TPs in nucleic acids used optical tweezer measurements and Szabo's analytical theory for diffusive barrier crossing to reconstruct the free energy surface for an indirect determination of average TP times (Neupane et al. PRL 2012). We used confocal single molecule FRET and maximum likelihood analysis of photon trajectories to determine an upper bound of 2.5 μs for the average TP time of a DNA hairpin (Truex et al., PRL 2015), compared to the value of 4 μs predicted by Neupane et al., providing an important test of energy landscape theory. Current experiments are aimed at eventually characterizing structural changes during TPs, which will provide a very demanding test of mechanisms predicted by both theoretical models and simulations.

  7. Integral and differential form of the protein folding problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tramontano, Anna

    2004-07-01

    The availability of the complete genomic sequences of many species, including human, has raised enormous expectations in medicine, pharmacology, ecology, biotechnology and forensic sciences. However, knowledge is only a first step toward understanding, and we are only at the early stage of a scientific process that might lead us to satisfy all the expectations raised by the genomic projects. In this review I will discuss the present status of computational methods that attempt to infer the unique three-dimensional structure of proteins from their amino acid sequences. Although this problem has been defined as the “holy grail” of biology, it represents only one of the many hurdles in our path towards the understanding of life at a molecular level.

  8. Protein fold recognition using HMM-HMM alignment and dynamic programming.

    PubMed

    Lyons, James; Paliwal, Kuldip K; Dehzangi, Abdollah; Heffernan, Rhys; Tsunoda, Tatsuhiko; Sharma, Alok

    2016-03-21

    Detecting three dimensional structures of protein sequences is a challenging task in biological sciences. For this purpose, protein fold recognition has been utilized as an intermediate step which helps in classifying a novel protein sequence into one of its folds. The process of protein fold recognition encompasses feature extraction of protein sequences and feature identification through suitable classifiers. Several feature extractors are developed to retrieve useful information from protein sequences. These features are generally extracted by constituting protein's sequential, physicochemical and evolutionary properties. The performance in terms of recognition accuracy has also been gradually improved over the last decade. However, it is yet to reach a well reasonable and accepted level. In this work, we first applied HMM-HMM alignment of protein sequence from HHblits to extract profile HMM (PHMM) matrix. Then we computed the distance between respective PHMM matrices using kernalized dynamic programming. We have recorded significant improvement in fold recognition over the state-of-the-art feature extractors. The improvement of recognition accuracy is in the range of 2.7-11.6% when experimented on three benchmark datasets from Structural Classification of Proteins. PMID:26801876

  9. Prediction of the optimal set of contacts to fold the smallest knotted protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dabrowski-Tumanski, P.; Jarmolinska, A. I.; Sulkowska, J. I.

    2015-09-01

    Knotted protein chains represent a new motif in protein folds. They have been linked to various diseases, and recent extensive analysis of the Protein Data Bank shows that they constitute 1.5% of all deposited protein structures. Despite thorough theoretical and experimental investigations, the role of knots in proteins still remains elusive. Nonetheless, it is believed that knots play an important role in mechanical and thermal stability of proteins. Here, we perform a comprehensive analysis of native, shadow-specific and non-native interactions which describe free energy landscape of the smallest knotted protein (PDB id 2efv). We show that the addition of shadow-specific contacts in the loop region greatly enhances folding kinetics, while the addition of shadow-specific contacts along the C-terminal region (H3 or H4) results in a new folding route with slower kinetics. By means of direct coupling analysis (DCA) we predict non-native contacts which also can accelerate kinetics. Next, we show that the length of the C-terminal knot tail is responsible for the shape of the free energy barrier, while the influence of the elongation of the N-terminus is not significant. Finally, we develop a concept of a minimal contact map sufficient for 2efv protein to fold and analyze properties of this protein using this map.

  10. Fluorescent In Situ Folding Control for Rapid Optimization of Cell-Free Membrane Protein Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Müller-Lucks, Annika; Bock, Sinja; Wu, Binghua; Beitz, Eric

    2012-01-01

    Cell-free synthesis is an open and powerful tool for high-yield protein production in small reaction volumes predestined for high-throughput structural and functional analysis. Membrane proteins require addition of detergents for solubilization, liposomes, or nanodiscs. Hence, the number of parameters to be tested is significantly higher than with soluble proteins. Optimization is commonly done with respect to protein yield, yet without knowledge of the protein folding status. This approach contains a large inherent risk of ending up with non-functional protein. We show that fluorophore formation in C-terminal fusions with green fluorescent protein (GFP) indicates the folding state of a membrane protein in situ, i.e. within the cell-free reaction mixture, as confirmed by circular dichroism (CD), proteoliposome reconstitution and functional assays. Quantification of protein yield and in-gel fluorescence intensity imply suitability of the method for membrane proteins of bacterial, protozoan, plant, and mammalian origin, representing vacuolar and plasma membrane localization, as well as intra- and extracellular positioning of the C-terminus. We conclude that GFP-fusions provide an extension to cell-free protein synthesis systems eliminating the need for experimental folding control and, thus, enabling rapid optimization towards membrane protein quality. PMID:22848743

  11. A single aromatic core mutation converts a designed “primitive” protein from halophile to mesophile folding

    PubMed Central

    Longo, Liam M; Tenorio, Connie A; Kumru, Ozan S; Middaugh, C Russell; Blaber, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The halophile environment has a number of compelling aspects with regard to the origin of structured polypeptides (i.e., proteogenesis) and, instead of a curious niche that living systems adapted into, the halophile environment is emerging as a candidate “cradle” for proteogenesis. In this viewpoint, a subsequent halophile-to-mesophile transition was a key step in early evolution. Several lines of evidence indicate that aromatic amino acids were a late addition to the codon table and not part of the original “prebiotic” set comprising the earliest polypeptides. We test the hypothesis that the availability of aromatic amino acids could facilitate a halophile-to-mesophile transition by hydrophobic core-packing enhancement. The effects of aromatic amino acid substitutions were evaluated in the core of a “primitive” designed protein enriched for the 10 prebiotic amino acids (A,D,E,G,I,L,P,S,T,V)—having an exclusively prebiotic core and requiring halophilic conditions for folding. The results indicate that a single aromatic amino acid substitution is capable of eliminating the requirement of halophile conditions for folding of a “primitive” polypeptide. Thus, the availability of aromatic amino acids could have facilitated a critical halophile-to-mesophile protein folding adaptation—identifying a selective advantage for the incorporation of aromatic amino acids into the codon table. PMID:25297559

  12. Using D-amino acids to delineate the mechanism of protein folding: Application to Trp-cage

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Culik, Robert M.; Annavarapu, Srinivas; Nanda, Vikas; Gai, Feng

    2013-08-01

    Using the miniprotein Trp-cage as a model, we show that D-amino acids can be used to facilitate the delineation of protein folding mechanism. Specifically, we study the folding-unfolding kinetics of three Trp-cage mutants where the native glycine residue near the C-terminus of the α-helix is replaced by a D-amino acid. A previous study showed that these mutations increase the Trp-cage stability, due to a terminal capping effect. Our results show that the stabilizing effect of D-asparagine and D-glutamine originates almost exclusively from a decrease in the unfolding rate, while the D-alanine mutation results in a similar decrease in the unfolding rate, but it also increases the folding rate. Together, these results support a folding mechanism wherein the α-helix formation in the transition state is nucleated at the N-terminus, whereas those long-range native interactions stabilizing this helix are developed at the downhill side of the folding free energy barrier.

  13. The Role of Electrostatic Interactions in Folding of β-Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Caitlin M.; Dyer, R. Brian

    2016-01-01

    Atomic-level molecular dynamic simulations are capable of fully folding structurally diverse proteins; however, they are limited in their ability to accurately represent electrostatic interactions. Here we have experimentally tested the role of charged residues on stability and folding kinetics of one of the most widely simulated β-proteins, the WW domain. The folding of wild type Pin1 WW domain, which has two positively charged residues in the first turn, was compared to the fast folding mutant FiP35 Pin1, which introduces a negative charge into the first turn. A combination of FTIR spectroscopy and laser-induced temperature-jump coupled with infrared spectroscopy was used to probe changes in the amide I region. The relaxation dynamics of the peptide backbone, β-sheets and β-turns, and negatively charged aspartic acid side chain of FiP35 were measured independently by probing the corresponding bands assigned in the amide I region. Folding is initiated in the turns and the β-sheets form last. While the global folding mechanism is in good agreement with simulation predictions, we observe changes in the protonation state of aspartic acid during folding that have not been captured by simulation methods. The protonation state of aspartic acid is coupled to protein folding; the apparent pKa of aspartic acid in the folded protein is 6.4. The dynamics of the aspartic acid follow the dynamics of the intermediate phase, supporting assignment of this phase to formation of the first hairpin. These results demonstrate the importance of electrostatic interactions in turn stability and formation of extended β-sheet structures. PMID:26750867

  14. The Role of Electrostatic Interactions in Folding of β-Proteins.

    PubMed

    Davis, Caitlin M; Dyer, R Brian

    2016-02-01

    Atomic-level molecular dynamic simulations are capable of fully folding structurally diverse proteins; however, they are limited in their ability to accurately represent electrostatic interactions. Here we have experimentally tested the role of charged residues on stability and folding kinetics of one of the most widely simulated β-proteins, the WW domain. The folding of wild type Pin1 WW domain, which has two positively charged residues in the first turn, was compared to the fast folding mutant FiP35 Pin1, which introduces a negative charge into the first turn. A combination of FTIR spectroscopy and laser-induced temperature-jump coupled with infrared spectroscopy was used to probe changes in the amide I region. The relaxation dynamics of the peptide backbone, β-sheets and β-turns, and negatively charged aspartic acid side chain of FiP35 were measured independently by probing the corresponding bands assigned in the amide I region. Folding is initiated in the turns and the β-sheets form last. While the global folding mechanism is in good agreement with simulation predictions, we observe changes in the protonation state of aspartic acid during folding that have not been captured by simulation methods. The protonation state of aspartic acid is coupled to protein folding; the apparent pKa of aspartic acid in the folded protein is 6.4. The dynamics of the aspartic acid follow the dynamics of the intermediate phase, supporting assignment of this phase to formation of the first hairpin. These results demonstrate the importance of electrostatic interactions in turn stability and formation of extended β-sheet structures. PMID:26750867

  15. Quantification of Drive-Response Relationships Between Residues During Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Qi, Yifei; Im, Wonpil

    2013-01-01

    Mutual correlation and cooperativity are commonly used to describe residue-residue interactions in protein folding/function. However, these metrics do not provide any information on the causality relationships between residues. Such drive-response relationships are poorly studied in protein folding/function and difficult to measure experimentally due to technical limitations. In this study, using the information theory transfer entropy (TE) that provides a direct measurement of causality between two times series, we have quantified the drive-response relationships between residues in the folding/unfolding processes of four small proteins generated by molecular dynamics simulations. Instead of using a time-averaged single TE value, the time-dependent TE is measured with the Q-scores based on residue-residue contacts and with the statistical significance analysis along the folding/unfolding processes. The TE analysis is able to identify the driving and responding residues that are different from the highly correlated residues revealed by the mutual information analysis. In general, the driving residues have more regular secondary structures, are more buried, and show greater effects on the protein stability as well as folding and unfolding rates. In addition, the dominant driving and responding residues from the TE analysis on the whole trajectory agree with those on a single folding event, demonstrating that the drive-response relationships are preserved in the non-equilibrium process. Our study provides detailed insights into the protein folding process and has potential applications in protein engineering and interpretation of time-dependent residue-based experimental observables for protein function. PMID:24223527

  16. Kinetics and energetics of the translocation of maltose binding protein folding mutants.

    PubMed

    Tomkiewicz, Danuta; Nouwen, Nico; Driessen, Arnold J M

    2008-03-14

    Protein translocation in Escherichia coli is mediated by the translocase that, in its minimal form, comprises a protein-conducting pore (SecYEG) and a motor protein (SecA). The SecYEG complex forms a narrow channel in the membrane that allows passage of secretory proteins (preproteins) in an unfolded state only. It has been suggested that the SecA requirement for translocation depends on the folding stability of the mature preprotein domain. Here we studied the effects of the signal sequence and SecB on the folding and translocation of folding stabilizing and destabilizing mutants of the mature maltose binding protein (MBP). Although the mutations affect the folding of the precursor form of MBP, these are drastically overruled by the combined unfolding stabilization of the signal sequence and SecB. Consequently, the translocation kinetics, the energetics and the SecA and SecB dependence of the folding mutants are indistinguishable from those of wild-type preMBP. These data indicate that unfolding of the mature domain of preMBP is likely not a rate-determining step in translocation when the protein is targeted to the translocase via SecB. PMID:18241889

  17. Beta-Barrel Scaffold of Fluorescent Proteins: Folding, Stability and Role in Chromophore Formation

    PubMed Central

    Stepanenko, Olesya V.; Stepanenko, Olga V.; Kuznetsova, Irina M.; Verkhusha, Vladislav V.; Turoverov, Konstantin K.

    2013-01-01

    This review focuses on the current view of the interaction between the β-barrel scaffold of fluorescent proteins and their unique chromophore located in the internal helix. The chromophore originates from the polypeptide chain and its properties are influenced by the surrounding protein matrix of the β-barrel. On the other hand, it appears that a chromophore tightens the β-barrel scaffold and plays a crucial role in its stability. Furthermore, the presence of a mature chromophore causes hysteresis of protein unfolding and refolding. We survey studies measuring protein unfolding and refolding using traditional methods as well as new approaches, such as mechanical unfolding and reassembly of truncated fluorescent proteins. We also analyze models of fluorescent protein unfolding and refolding obtained through different approaches, and compare the results of protein folding in vitro to co-translational folding of a newly synthesized polypeptide chain. PMID:23351712

  18. Bridging Experiments and Native-Centric Simulations of a Downhill Folding Protein.

    PubMed

    Naganathan, Athi N; De Sancho, David

    2015-11-25

    Experiments and atomistic simulations have independently contributed to the mechanistic understanding of protein folding. However, a coherent detailed picture explicitly combining both is currently lacking, a problem that seriously limits the amount of information that can be extracted. An alternative to atomistic models with physics-based potentials is the native-centric (i.e., Go̅ type) coarse-grained models, which for many years have been successfully employed to qualitatively understand features of protein folding energy landscapes. Again, quantitative validation of Go̅ models against experimental equilibrium unfolding curves is often not attempted. Here we use an atomistic topology-based model to study the folding mechanism of PDD, a protein that folds over a marginal thermodynamic barrier of ∼0.5 kBT at midpoint conditions. We find that the simulations are in exquisite agreement with several equilibrium experimental measurements including differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), an observable that is possibly the most challenging to reproduce from explicit-chain models. The dynamics, inferred using a detailed Markov state model, display a classical Chevron-like trend with a continuum of relaxation times under both folding and unfolding conditions, a signature feature of downhill folding. The number of populated microstates and the connectivity between them are shown to be temperature dependent with a maximum near the thermal denaturation midpoint, thus linking the macroscopic observation of a peak in the DSC profile of downhill folding proteins and the underlying microstate dynamics. The mechanistic picture derived from our analysis thus sheds light on the intricate and tunable nature of the downhill protein folding ensembles. In parallel, our work highlights the power of coarse-grained models to reproduce experiments at a quantitative level while also pointing at specific directions for their improvement. PMID:26524123

  19. Topography of funneled landscapes determines the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jin; Oliveira, Ronaldo J.; Chu, Xiakun; Whitford, Paul C.; Chahine, Jorge; Han, Wei; Wang, Erkang; Onuchic, José N.; Leite, Vitor B.P.

    2012-01-01

    The energy landscape approach has played a fundamental role in advancing our understanding of protein folding. Here, we quantify protein folding energy landscapes by exploring the underlying density of states. We identify three quantities essential for characterizing landscape topography: the stabilizing energy gap between the native and nonnative ensembles δE, the energetic roughness ΔE, and the scale of landscape measured by the entropy S. We show that the dimensionless ratio between the gap, roughness, and entropy of the system accurately predicts the thermodynamics, as well as the kinetics of folding. Large Λ implies that the energy gap (or landscape slope towards the native state) is dominant, leading to more funneled landscapes. We investigate the role of topological and energetic roughness for proteins of different sizes and for proteins of the same size, but with different structural topologies. The landscape topography ratio Λ is shown to be monotonically correlated with the thermodynamic stability against trapping, as characterized by the ratio of folding temperature versus trapping temperature. Furthermore, Λ also monotonically correlates with the folding kinetic rates. These results provide the quantitative bridge between the landscape topography and experimental folding measurements. PMID:23019359

  20. Introducing the Levinthal's Protein Folding Paradox and Its Solution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martínez, Leandro

    2014-01-01

    The protein folding (Levinthal's) paradox states that it would not be possible in a physically meaningful time to a protein to reach the native (functional) conformation by a random search of the enormously large number of possible structures. This paradox has been solved: it was shown that small biases toward the native conformation result…

  1. Protein folding in hydrophobic-polar lattice model: a flexible ant-colony optimization approach.

    PubMed

    Hu, Xiao-Min; Zhang, Jun; Xiao, Jing; Li, Yun

    2008-01-01

    This paper proposes a flexible ant colony (FAC) algorithm for solving protein folding problems based on the hydrophobic-polar square lattice model. Collaborations of novel pheromone and heuristic strategies in the proposed algorithm make it more effective in predicting structures of proteins compared with other state-of-the-art algorithms. PMID:18537736

  2. Exploring the mechanisms used by promiscuous chaperones to assist protein folding in the cell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jewett, Andrew I.

    There are two popular theories to explain how molecular chaperones boost the yield of folded protein in the cell: According to the Anfinsen cage model, (ACM) chaperonins protect denatured proteins from aggregation. A competing theory, the iterative annealing model (IAM) claims that ATP regulated chaperone binding and release accelerates folding by freeing proteins from long-lived kinetic traps. We present experimental and kinetic evidence to argue that the IAM is not a complete picture of how the GroEL/ES chaperonin works. Surprisingly some substrate proteins experience folding rate enhancements without undergoing multiple rounds of ATP-induced binding and release from the chaperonin. An explanation of this data requires going beyond the ACM and IAM models. Our work uses molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the folding of a highly frustrated protein within a chaperonin cavity. The chaperonin interior is modeled by a sphere with variable degree of attraction to the protein inside. We demonstrate that this cavity, similar to the weakly hydrophobic interior of the GroEL cavity upon complexion with ATP and GroES, is sufficient to accelerate the folding of a frustrated protein by more than an order of magnitude. Our simulations uncover a novel form of the IAM in which the substrate exhibits spontaneous binding and release from the wall of the chaperonin cage. This mimics the behavior observed in the standard IAM, with the difference that thermal fluctuations, rather than ATP, allow the substrate to unbind from the chaperone. An growing number of smaller cageless chaperones have been discovered that can assist protein folding without the consumption of ATP, including artificial "minichaperones" (fragments of larger chaperones). It is tempting to speculate that the same thermally-driven IAM mechanism could play a role with these chaperones as well. We performed additional simulations of protein folding outside the sphere. We find that in order to accelerate

  3. The GroEL-GroES Chaperonin Machine: A Nano-Cage for Protein Folding.

    PubMed

    Hayer-Hartl, Manajit; Bracher, Andreas; Hartl, F Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    The bacterial chaperonin GroEL and its cofactor GroES constitute the paradigmatic molecular machine of protein folding. GroEL is a large double-ring cylinder with ATPase activity that binds non-native substrate protein (SP) via hydrophobic residues exposed towards the ring center. Binding of the lid-shaped GroES to GroEL displaces the bound protein into an enlarged chamber, allowing folding to occur unimpaired by aggregation. GroES and SP undergo cycles of binding and release, regulated allosterically by the GroEL ATPase. Recent structural and functional studies are providing insights into how the physical environment of the chaperonin cage actively promotes protein folding, in addition to preventing aggregation. Here, we review different models of chaperonin action and discuss issues of current debate. PMID:26422689

  4. Contribution of Charged Groups to the Enthalpic Stabilization of the Folded States of Globular Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Dadarlat, Voichita M.; Post, Carol Beth

    2016-01-01

    In this paper we use the results from all atom MD simulations of proteins and peptides to assess individual contribution of charged atomic groups to the enthalpic stability of the native state of globular proteins and investigate how the distribution of charged atomic groups in terms of solvent accessibility relates to protein enthalpic stability. The contributions of charged groups is calculated using a comparison of nonbonded interaction energy terms from equilibrium simulations of charged amino acid dipeptides in water (the “unfolded state”) and charged amino acids in globular proteins (the “folded state”). Contrary to expectation, the analysis shows that many buried, charged atomic groups contribute favorably to protein enthalpic stability. The strongest enthalpic contributions favoring the folded state come from the carboxylate (COO−) groups of either Glu or Asp. The contributions from Arg guanidinium groups are generally somewhat stabilizing, while NH3+ groups from Lys contribute little toward stabilizing the folded state. The average enthalpic gain due to the transfer of a methyl group in an apolar amino acid from solution to the protein interior is described for comparison. Notably, charged groups that are less exposed to solvent contribute more favorably to protein native-state enthalpic stability than charged groups that are solvent exposed. While solvent reorganization/release has favorable contributions to folding for all charged atomic groups, the variation in folded state stability among proteins comes mainly from the change in the nonbonded interaction energy of charged groups between the unfolded and folded states. A key outcome is that the calculated enthalpic stabilization is found to be inversely proportional to the excess charge density on the surface, in support of an hypothesis proposed previously. PMID:18303881

  5. The molten globule of β(2)-microglobulin accumulated at pH 4 and its role in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Mukaiyama, Atsushi; Nakamura, Takashi; Makabe, Koki; Maki, Kosuke; Goto, Yuji; Kuwajima, Kunihiro

    2013-01-23

    The acid transition of β(2)-microglobulin (β2m) was studied by tryptophan fluorescence, peptide circular dichroism, and NMR spectroscopy. The protein exhibits a three-state transition with an equilibrium intermediate accumulated at pH4 (25°C). The pH4 intermediate has typical characteristics of the molten globule (MG) state; it showed a native-like secondary structure without specific side-chain tertiary structure, and the hydrodynamic radius determined by pulse field gradient NMR was only 20% larger than that of the native state. The accumulation of the pH4 intermediate is very analogous to the behavior of apomyoglobin, for which the pH4 MG has been well characterized, although β2m, a β-protein, is structurally very different from α-helical apomyoglobin. NMR pH titration of histidine residues of β2m has also indicated that His84 has an abnormally low pK(a) value in the native state. From the pH dependence of the unfolding transition, the protonations of this histidine and 10 weakly abnormal carboxylates triggered the transition from the native to the MG state. This behavior is again analogous to that of apomyoglobin, suggesting a common mechanism of production of the pH4 MG. In contrast to the folding of apomyoglobin, in which the MG was equivalent to the burst-phase kinetic folding intermediate, the burst-phase refolding intermediate of β2m, detected by stopped-flow circular dichroism, was significantly more structured than the pH4 intermediate. It is proposed that the folding of β2m from its acid-denatured state takes place in the following order: denatured state→MG→burst-phase intermediate→native state. PMID:23154171

  6. Protein structure, stability and folding in the cell -- in silico biophysical approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheung, Margaret

    2010-03-01

    How the crowded environment inside a cell affects the structural conformation of a protein with aspherical shape is a vital question because the geometry of proteins and protein-protein complexes are far from globules in vivo. Here we address this question by combining computational and experimental studies of a spherical protein (i.e. apoflavodoxin), a football-shaped protein (i.e., Borrelia burgdorferi VlsE) and a dumbbell-shaped protein (i.e. calmodulin) under crowded, cell-like conditions. The results show that macromolecular crowding affects protein folding dynamics as well as an overall protein shape associated with changes in secondary structures. Our work demonstrates the malleability of ``native'' proteins and implies that crowding-induced shape changes may be important for protein function and malfunction in vivo.

  7. MOLECULAR GENETIC AND BIOCHEMICAL APPROACHES FOR DEFINING LIPID-DEPENDENT MEMBRANE PROTEIN FOLDING

    PubMed Central

    Dowhan, William; Bogdanov, Mikhail

    2011-01-01

    We provide an overview of lipid-dependent polytopic membrane protein folding and topogenesis. Lipid dependence of this process was determined by employing Escherichia coli cells in which specific lipids can be eliminated, substituted, tightly titrated or controlled temporally during membrane protein synthesis and assembly. The secondary transport protein lactose permease (LacY) was used to establish general principles underlying the molecular basis of lipid-dependent effects on protein domain folding, protein transmembrane domain (TM) orientation, and function. These principles were then extended to several other secondary transport proteins of E. coli. The methods used to follow proper conformational organization of protein domains and the topological organization of protein TMs in whole cells and membranes are described. The proper folding of an extramembrane domain of LacY that is crucial for energy dependent uphill transport function depends on specific lipids acting as non-protein molecular chaperones. Correct TM topogenesis is dependent on charge interactions between the cytoplasmic surface of membrane proteins and a proper balance of the membrane surface net charge defined by the lipid head groups. Short-range interactions between the nascent protein chain and the translocon are necessary but not sufficient for establishment of final topology. After release from the translocon short-range interactions between lipid head groups and the nascent protein chain, partitioning of protein hydrophobic domains into the membrane bilayer, and long–range interactions within the protein thermodynamically drive final membrane protein organization. Given the diversity of membrane lipid compositions throughout nature, it is tempting to speculate that during the course of evolution the physical and chemical properties of proteins and lipids have co-evolved in the context of the lipid environment of membrane systems in which both are mutually depend on each other for

  8. New insights regarding protein folding as learned from beta-sheets

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Ning; Feng, Yuanming; Gao, Shan; Ruan, Jishou; Zhang, Tao

    2012-01-01

    The folding of denatured proteins into their native conformations is called Anfinsen's dogma, and is the rationale for predicting protein structures based on primary sequences. Through the last 40 years of study, all available algorithms which either predict 3D or 2D protein structures, or predict the rate of protein folding based on the amino acid sequence alone, are limited in accuracy (80 %). This fact has led some researchers to look for the lost information, from mRNA to protein sequences, and it encourages us to rethink the rationale of Anfinsen's dogma. In this study, we focus on the relationship between the strand and its partners. We find two rules based on a non-redundant dataset taken from the PDB database. We refer to these two rules as the “first coming first pairing” rule and the “loveless” rule. The first coming first pairing rule indicates that a given strand prefers to pair with the next strand, if the connected region is flexible enough. The loveless rule means that the affinities between a given strand and another strand are comparable to the affinity between the given strand and its partner. Of course, the affinities between the given strand and a helix/coil peptide are significantly less than the affinity between the given strand and its partner. These two rules suggest that in protein folding, we have folding taking place during translation, and suggest also that a denatured protein is not the same as its primary sequence. Rechecking the original Anfinsen experiments, we find that the method used to denature protein in the experiment simply breaks the disulfide bonds, while the helices and sheets remain intact. In other words, denatured proteins still retain all helices and beta sheets, while the primary sequence does not. Although further verification via biological experiments is needed, our results as shown in this study may reveal a new insight for studying protein folding.

  9. Principles of protein folding--a perspective from simple exact models.

    PubMed Central

    Dill, K. A.; Bromberg, S.; Yue, K.; Fiebig, K. M.; Yee, D. P.; Thomas, P. D.; Chan, H. S.

    1995-01-01

    General principles of protein structure, stability, and folding kinetics have recently been explored in computer simulations of simple exact lattice models. These models represent protein chains at a rudimentary level, but they involve few parameters, approximations, or implicit biases, and they allow complete explorations of conformational and sequence spaces. Such simulations have resulted in testable predictions that are sometimes unanticipated: The folding code is mainly binary and delocalized throughout the amino acid sequence. The secondary and tertiary structures of a protein are specified mainly by the sequence of polar and nonpolar monomers. More specific interactions may refine the structure, rather than dominate the folding code. Simple exact models can account for the properties that characterize protein folding: two-state cooperativity, secondary and tertiary structures, and multistage folding kinetics--fast hydrophobic collapse followed by slower annealing. These studies suggest the possibility of creating "foldable" chain molecules other than proteins. The encoding of a unique compact chain conformation may not require amino acids; it may require only the ability to synthesize specific monomer sequences in which at least one monomer type is solvent-averse. PMID:7613459

  10. A simple model for calculating the kinetics of protein folding from three-dimensional structures.

    PubMed

    Muñoz, V; Eaton, W A

    1999-09-28

    An elementary statistical mechanical model was used to calculate the folding rates for 22 proteins from their known three-dimensional structures. In this model, residues come into contact only after all of the intervening chain is in the native conformation. An additional simplifying assumption is that native structure grows from localized regions that then fuse to form the complete native molecule. The free energy function for this model contains just two contributions-conformational entropy of the backbone and the energy of the inter-residue contacts. The matrix of inter-residue interactions is obtained from the atomic coordinates of the three-dimensional structure. For the 18 proteins that exhibit two-state equilibrium and kinetic behavior, profiles of the free energy versus the number of native peptide bonds show two deep minima, corresponding to the native and denatured states. For four proteins known to exhibit intermediates in folding, the free energy profiles show additional deep minima. The calculated rates of folding the two-state proteins, obtained by solving a diffusion equation for motion on the free energy profiles, reproduce the experimentally determined values surprisingly well. The success of these calculations suggests that folding speed is largely determined by the distribution and strength of contacts in the native structure. We also calculated the effect of mutations on the folding kinetics of chymotrypsin inhibitor 2, the most intensively studied two-state protein, with some success. PMID:10500173

  11. Managing the protein folding demands in the endoplasmic reticulum of plants.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jian-Xiang; Howell, Stephen H

    2016-07-01

    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress occurs in plants during certain developmental stages or under adverse environmental conditions, as a result of the accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in the ER. To minimize the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER, a protein quality control (PQC) system monitors protein folding and eliminates misfolded proteins through either ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD) or autophagy. ER stress elicits the unfolded protein response (UPR), which enhances the operation in plant cells of the ER protein folding machinery and the PQC system. The UPR also reduces protein folding demands in the ER by degrading mRNAs encoding secretory proteins. In plants subjected to severe or chronic stress, UPR promotes programmed cell death (PCD). Progress in the field in recent years has provided insights into the regulatory networks and signaling mechanisms of the ER stress responses in plants. In addition, novel physiological functions of the ER stress responses in plants for coordinating plant growth and development with changing environment have been recently revealed. PMID:26990454

  12. Three-fold rotational defects in two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yung-Chang; Björkman, Torbjörn; Komsa, Hannu-Pekka; Teng, Po-Yuan; Yeh, Chao-Hui; Huang, Fei-Sheng; Lin, Kuan-Hung; Jadczak, Joanna; Huang, Ying-Sheng; Chiu, Po-Wen; Krasheninnikov, Arkady V.; Suenaga, Kazu

    2015-01-01

    As defects frequently govern the properties of crystalline solids, the precise microscopic knowledge of defect atomic structure is of fundamental importance. We report a new class of point defects in single-layer transition metal dichalcogenides that can be created through 60° rotations of metal–chalcogen bonds in the trigonal prismatic lattice, with the simplest among them being a three-fold symmetric trefoil-like defect. The defects, which are inherently related to the crystal symmetry of transition metal dichalcogenides, can expand through sequential bond rotations, as evident from in situ scanning transmission electron microscopy experiments, and eventually form larger linear defects consisting of aligned 8–5–5–8 membered rings. First-principles calculations provide insights into the evolution of rotational defects and show that they give rise to p-type doping and local magnetic moments, but weakly affect mechanical characteristics of transition metal dichalcogenides. Thus, controllable introduction of rotational defects can be used to engineer the properties of these materials. PMID:25832503

  13. Three-fold rotational defects in two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Yung-Chang; Björkman, Torbjörn; Komsa, Hannu-Pekka; Teng, Po-Yuan; Yeh, Chao-Hui; Huang, Fei-Sheng; Lin, Kuan-Hung; Jadczak, Joanna; Huang, Ying-Sheng; Chiu, Po-Wen; Krasheninnikov, Arkady V.; Suenaga, Kazu

    2015-04-01

    As defects frequently govern the properties of crystalline solids, the precise microscopic knowledge of defect atomic structure is of fundamental importance. We report a new class of point defects in single-layer transition metal dichalcogenides that can be created through 60° rotations of metal-chalcogen bonds in the trigonal prismatic lattice, with the simplest among them being a three-fold symmetric trefoil-like defect. The defects, which are inherently related to the crystal symmetry of transition metal dichalcogenides, can expand through sequential bond rotations, as evident from in situ scanning transmission electron microscopy experiments, and eventually form larger linear defects consisting of aligned 8-5-5-8 membered rings. First-principles calculations provide insights into the evolution of rotational defects and show that they give rise to p-type doping and local magnetic moments, but weakly affect mechanical characteristics of transition metal dichalcogenides. Thus, controllable introduction of rotational defects can be used to engineer the properties of these materials.

  14. THE DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN SECRETED PROTEIN FOLDING AND ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM-ASSOCIATED DEGRADATION IN HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY

    PubMed Central

    Guerriero, Christopher J.; Brodsky, Jeffrey L.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding is a complex, error-prone process that often results in an irreparable protein by-product. These by-products can be recognized by cellular quality control machineries and targeted for proteasome-dependent degradation. The folding of proteins in the secretory pathway adds another layer to the protein folding “problem,” as the endoplasmic reticulum maintains a unique chemical environment within the cell. In fact, a growing number of diseases are attributed to defects in secretory protein folding, and many of these by-products are targeted for a process known as endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Since its discovery, research on the mechanisms underlying the ERAD pathway has provided new insights into how ERAD contributes to human health during both normal and diseases states. Links between ERAD and disease are evidenced from the loss of protein function as a result of degradation, chronic cellular stress when ERAD fails to keep up with misfolded protein production, and the ability of some pathogens to coopt the ERAD pathway. The growing number of ERAD substrates has also illuminated the differences in the machineries used to recognize and degrade a vast array of potential clients for this pathway. Despite all that is known about ERAD, many questions remain, and new paradigms will likely emerge. Clearly, the key to successful disease treatment lies within defining the molecular details of the ERAD pathway and in understanding how this conserved pathway selects and degrades an innumerable cast of substrates. PMID:22535891

  15. Nucleic acid chaperons: a theory of an RNA-assisted protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Biro, Jan C

    2005-01-01

    Background Proteins are assumed to contain all the information necessary for unambiguous folding (Anfinsen's principle). However, ab initio structure prediction is often not successful because the amino acid sequence itself is not sufficient to guide between endless folding possibilities. It seems to be a logical to try to find the "missing" information in nucleic acids, in the redundant codon base. Results mRNA energy dot plots and protein residue contact maps were found to be rather similar. The structure of mRNA is also conserved if the protein structure is conserved, even if the sequence similarity is low. These observations led me to suppose that some similarity might exist between nucleic acid and protein folding. I found that amino acid pairs, which are co-located in the protein structure, are preferentially coded by complementary codons. This codon complementarity is not perfect; it is suboptimal where the 1st and 3rd codon residues are complementary to each other in reverse orientation, while the 2nd codon letters may be, but are not necessarily, complementary. Conclusion Partial complementary coding of co-locating amino acids in protein structures suggests that mRNA assists in protein folding and functi