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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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  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 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

  5. 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

  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. 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

  20. 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

  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 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

  11. 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

  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. 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

  10. 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

  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. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  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 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

  6. 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

  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. 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

  18. 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

  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. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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

  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

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  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