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Sample records for protein folding transition

  1. Transition paths, diffusive processes, and preequilibria of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhuqing; Chan, Hue Sun

    2012-12-18

    Fundamental relationships between the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding were investigated using chain models of natural proteins with diverse folding rates by extensive comparisons between the distribution of conformations in thermodynamic equilibrium and the distribution of conformations sampled along folding trajectories. Consistent with theory and single-molecule experiment, duration of the folding transition paths exhibits only a weak correlation with overall folding time. Conformational distributions of folding trajectories near the overall thermodynamic folding/unfolding barrier show significant deviations from preequilibrium. These deviations, the distribution of transition path times, and the variation of mean transition path time for different proteins can all be rationalized by a diffusive process that we modeled using simple Monte Carlo algorithms with an effective coordinate-independent diffusion coefficient. Conformations in the initial stages of transition paths tend to form more nonlocal contacts than typical conformations with the same number of native contacts. This statistical bias, which is indicative of preferred folding pathways, should be amenable to future single-molecule measurements. We found that the preexponential factor defined in the transition state theory of folding varies from protein to protein and that this variation can be rationalized by our Monte Carlo diffusion model. Thus, protein folding physics is different in certain fundamental respects from the physics envisioned by a simple transition-state picture. Nonetheless, transition state theory can be a useful approximate predictor of cooperative folding speed, because the height of the overall folding barrier is apparently a proxy for related rate-determining physical properties.

  2. How cooperative are protein folding and unfolding transitions?

    PubMed

    Malhotra, Pooja; Udgaonkar, Jayant B

    2016-11-01

    A thermodynamically and kinetically simple picture of protein folding envisages only two states, native (N) and unfolded (U), separated by a single activation free energy barrier, and interconverting by cooperative two-state transitions. The folding/unfolding transitions of many proteins occur, however, in multiple discrete steps associated with the formation of intermediates, which is indicative of reduced cooperativity. Furthermore, much advancement in experimental and computational approaches has demonstrated entirely non-cooperative (gradual) transitions via a continuum of states and a multitude of small energetic barriers between the N and U states of some proteins. These findings have been instrumental towards providing a structural rationale for cooperative versus noncooperative transitions, based on the coupling between interaction networks in proteins. The cooperativity inherent in a folding/unfolding reaction appears to be context dependent, and can be tuned via experimental conditions which change the stabilities of N and U. The evolution of cooperativity in protein folding transitions is linked closely to the evolution of function as well as the aggregation propensity of the protein. A large activation energy barrier in a fully cooperative transition can provide the kinetic control required to prevent the accumulation of partially unfolded forms, which may promote aggregation. Nevertheless, increasing evidence for barrier-less "downhill" folding, as well as for continuous "uphill" unfolding transitions, indicate that gradual non-cooperative processes may be ubiquitous features on the free energy landscape of protein folding.

  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. Stable folding core in the folding transition state of an alpha-helical integral membrane protein.

    PubMed

    Curnow, Paul; Di Bartolo, Natalie D; Moreton, Kathleen M; Ajoje, Oluseye O; Saggese, Nicholas P; Booth, Paula J

    2011-08-23

    Defining the structural features of a transition state is important in understanding a folding reaction. Here, we use Φ-value and double mutant analyses to probe the folding transition state of the membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin. We focus on the final C-terminal helix, helix G, of this seven transmembrane helical protein. Φ-values could be derived for 12 amino acid residues in helix G, most of which have low or intermediate values, suggesting that native structure is disrupted at these amino acid positions in the transition state. Notably, a cluster of residues between E204 and M209 all have Φ-values close to zero. Disruption of helix G is further confirmed by a low Φ-value of 0.2 between residues T170 on helix F and S226 on helix G, suggesting the absence of a native hydrogen bond between helices F and G. Φ-values for paired mutations involved in four interhelical hydrogen bonds revealed that all but one of these bonds is absent in the transition state. The unstructured helix G contrasts with Φ-values along helix B that are generally high, implying native structure in helix B in the transition state. Thus helix B seems to constitute part of a stable folding nucleus while the consolidation of helix G is a relatively late folding event. Polarization of secondary structure correlates with sequence position, with a structured helix B near the N terminus contrasting with an unstructured C-terminal helix G.

  5. Predicting folding-unfolding transitions in proteins without a priori knowledge of the folded state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okan, Osman; Turgut, Deniz; Garcia, Angel; Ozisik, Rahmi

    2013-03-01

    The common computational method of studying folding transitions in proteins is to compare simulated conformations against the folded structure, but this method obviously requires the folded structure to be known beforehand. In the current study, we show that the use of bond orientational order parameter (BOOP) Ql [Steinhardt PJ, Nelson DR, Ronchetti M, Phys. Rev. B 1983, 28, 784] is a viable alternative to the commonly adopted root mean squared distance (RMSD) measure in probing conformational transitions. Replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations of the trp-cage protein (with 20 residues) in TIP-3P water were used to compare BOOP against RMSD. The results indicate that the correspondence between BOOP and RMSD time series become stronger with increasing l. We finally show that robust linear models that incorporate different Ql can be parameterized from a given replica run and can be used to study other replica trajectories. This work is partially supported by NSF DUE-1003574.

  6. Dynamics of protein folding: probing the kinetic network of folding-unfolding transitions with experiment and theory.

    PubMed

    Buchner, Ginka S; Murphy, Ronan D; Buchete, Nicolae-Viorel; Kubelka, Jan

    2011-08-01

    The problem of spontaneous folding of amino acid chains into highly organized, biologically functional three-dimensional protein structures continues to challenge the modern science. Understanding how proteins fold requires characterization of the underlying energy landscapes as well as the dynamics of the polypeptide chains in all stages of the folding process. In recent years, important advances toward these goals have been achieved owing to the rapidly growing interdisciplinary interest and significant progress in both experimental techniques and theoretical methods. Improvements in the experimental time resolution led to determination of the timescales of the important elementary events in folding, such as formation of secondary structure and tertiary contacts. Sensitive single molecule methods made possible probing the distributions of the unfolded and folded states and following the folding reaction of individual protein molecules. Discovery of proteins that fold in microseconds opened the possibility of atomic-level theoretical simulations of folding and their direct comparisons with experimental data, as well as of direct experimental observation of the barrier-less folding transition. The ultra-fast folding also brought new questions, concerning the intrinsic limits of the folding rates and experimental signatures of barrier-less "downhill" folding. These problems will require novel approaches for even more detailed experimental investigations of the folding dynamics as well as for the analysis of the folding kinetic data. For theoretical simulations of folding, a main challenge is how to extract the relevant information from overwhelmingly detailed atomistic trajectories. New theoretical methods have been devised to allow a systematic approach towards a quantitative analysis of the kinetic network of folding-unfolding transitions between various configuration states of a protein, revealing the transition states and the associated folding pathways at

  7. Multiple molecule effects on the cooperativity of protein folding transitions in simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, Jacob I.; Moss, Devin J.; Knotts, Thomas A.

    2012-06-01

    Though molecular simulation of proteins has made notable contributions to the study of protein folding and kinetics, disagreement between simulation and experiment still exists. One of the criticisms levied against simulation is its failure to reproduce cooperative protein folding transitions. This weakness has been attributed to many factors such as a lack of polarizability and adequate capturing of solvent effects. This work, however, investigates how increasing the number of proteins simulated simultaneously can affect the cooperativity of folding transitions — a topic that has received little attention previously. Two proteins are studied in this work: phage T4 lysozyme (Protein Data Bank (PDB) ID: 7LZM) and phage 434 repressor (PDB ID: 1R69). The results show that increasing the number of proteins molecules simulated simultaneously leads to an increase in the macroscopic cooperativity for transitions that are inherently cooperative on the molecular level but has little effect on the cooperativity of other transitions. Taken as a whole, the results identify one area of consideration to improving simulations of protein folding.

  8. Multiple molecule effects on the cooperativity of protein folding transitions in simulations.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Jacob I; Moss, Devin J; Knotts, Thomas A

    2012-06-28

    Though molecular simulation of proteins has made notable contributions to the study of protein folding and kinetics, disagreement between simulation and experiment still exists. One of the criticisms levied against simulation is its failure to reproduce cooperative protein folding transitions. This weakness has been attributed to many factors such as a lack of polarizability and adequate capturing of solvent effects. This work, however, investigates how increasing the number of proteins simulated simultaneously can affect the cooperativity of folding transitions--a topic that has received little attention previously. Two proteins are studied in this work: phage T4 lysozyme (Protein Data Bank (PDB) ID: 7LZM) and phage 434 repressor (PDB ID: 1R69). The results show that increasing the number of proteins molecules simulated simultaneously leads to an increase in the macroscopic cooperativity for transitions that are inherently cooperative on the molecular level but has little effect on the cooperativity of other transitions. Taken as a whole, the results identify one area of consideration to improving simulations of protein folding.

  9. Measuring pK(a) values in protein folding transition state ensembles by NMR spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Tollinger, Martin; Kay, Lewis E; Forman-Kay, Julie D

    2005-06-29

    Protein folding kinetic data have been obtained for the marginally stable N-terminal SH3 domain of the Drosophila protein drk as a function of pH in order to investigate the electrostatic properties of Asp8 in the folding transition state ensemble. The slow exchange between folded and unfolded forms of the protein gives rise to separate NMR resonances for both folded and unfolded states at equilibrium. As a result, kinetic data can be derived from magnetization transfer between these two states without the need for denaturants. Using the fact that ionization of Asp8 dominates the electrostatic behavior of the protein between pH 2 and 3, along with pKa values for titrating groups in both folded and unfolded states that have been determined in a previous study, values of 2.9 +/- 0.1 and 3.3 +/- 0.2 are obtained for the pKa of Asp8 in the transition state for the wild-type protein and for a His7Ala mutant, respectively. The data are consistent with the partial formation in the transition state ensemble of an Asp8 side chain carboxylate-a Lys21 backbone amide interaction that represents a highly conserved contact in folded SH3 domains.

  10. 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

  11. Protein folding by a quasi-static-like process: A first-order state transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Chia-Ching; Su, Ya-Chi; Cheng, Ming-Sung; Kan, Lou-Sing

    2002-08-01

    In this paper we report that quasi-static-like processes, in which stable intermediates were introduced carefully and deliberately, may be used to reversibly unfold and refold purified native porcine growth hormone. Through circular dichroism (CD) and dynamic light scattering (DLS), we were able to study the secondary structure conformational changes, tertiary structure thermal stabilities, and the particle size distributions of both the intermediates and the final folded product. The CD data showed that the secondary structure was restored in the initial folding stage, whereas the tertiary structure within the protein was restored one step before the last folding stage, as elucidated by thermal stability experiments. DLS analysis suggested that the average hydrodynamic radii of the folding intermediates shrunk to nativelike size immediately after the first folding stage. Our data suggested that the denaturant-containing protein folding reaction is a first-order-like state transition process. This quasi-static-like process may be useful in the prevention of aggregate formation in protein purification and thus can be used in protein engineering to improve the overall yield from harvesting proteins.

  12. 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).

  13. 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

  14. Transition path times reveal memory effects and anomalous diffusion in the dynamics of protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Satija, Rohit; Das, Atanu; Makarov, Dmitrii E.

    2017-10-01

    Recent single-molecule experiments probed transition paths of biomolecular folding and, in particular, measured the time biomolecules spend while crossing their free energy barriers. A surprising finding from these studies is that the transition barriers crossed by transition paths, as inferred from experimentally observed transition path times, are often lower than the independently determined free energy barriers. Here we explore memory effects leading to anomalous diffusion as a possible origin of this discrepancy. Our analysis of several molecular dynamics trajectories shows that the dynamics of common reaction coordinates used to describe protein folding is subdiffusive, at least at sufficiently short times. We capture this effect using a one-dimensional fractional Brownian motion (FBM) model, in which the system undergoes a subdiffusive process in the presence of a potential of mean force, and show that this model yields much broader distributions of transition path times with stretched exponential long-time tails. Without any adjustable parameters, these distributions agree well with the transition path times computed directly from protein trajectories. We further discuss how the FBM model can be tested experimentally.

  15. Solvation in protein (un)folding of melittin tetramer–monomer transition

    PubMed Central

    Othon, Christina M.; Kwon, Oh-Hoon; Lin, Milo M.; Zewail, Ahmed H.

    2009-01-01

    Protein structural integrity and flexibility are intimately tied to solvation. Here, we examine the effect that changes in bulk and local solvent properties have on protein structure and stability. We observe the change in solvation of an unfolding of the protein model, melittin, in the presence of a denaturant, trifluoroethanol. The peptide system displays a well defined transition in that the tetramer unfolds without disrupting the secondary or tertiary structure. In the absence of local structural perturbation, we are able to reveal exclusively the role of solvation dynamics in protein structure stabilization and the (un)folding pathway. A sudden retardation in solvent dynamics, which is coupled to the change in protein structure, is observed at a critical trifluoroethanol concentration. The large amplitude conformational changes are regulated by the local solvent hydrophobicity and bulk solvent viscosity. PMID:19622745

  16. Solvation in protein (un)folding of melittin tetramer-monomer transition.

    PubMed

    Othon, Christina M; Kwon, Oh-Hoon; Lin, Milo M; Zewail, Ahmed H

    2009-08-04

    Protein structural integrity and flexibility are intimately tied to solvation. Here, we examine the effect that changes in bulk and local solvent properties have on protein structure and stability. We observe the change in solvation of an unfolding of the protein model, melittin, in the presence of a denaturant, trifluoroethanol. The peptide system displays a well defined transition in that the tetramer unfolds without disrupting the secondary or tertiary structure. In the absence of local structural perturbation, we are able to reveal exclusively the role of solvation dynamics in protein structure stabilization and the (un)folding pathway. A sudden retardation in solvent dynamics, which is coupled to the change in protein structure, is observed at a critical trifluoroethanol concentration. The large amplitude conformational changes are regulated by the local solvent hydrophobicity and bulk solvent viscosity.

  17. Generic folding and transition hierarchies for surface adsorption of hydrophobic-polar lattice model proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

    The thermodynamic behavior and structural properties of hydrophobic-polar (HP) lattice proteins interacting with attractive surfaces are studied by means of Wang-Landau sampling. Three benchmark HP sequences (48mer, 67mer, and 103mer) are considered with different types of surfaces, each of which attract either all monomers, only hydrophobic (H) monomers, or only polar (P) monomers, respectively. The diversity of folding behavior in dependence of surface strength is discussed. Analyzing the combined patterns of various structural observables, such as, e.g., the derivatives of the numbers of surface contacts, together with the specific heat, we are able to identify generic categories of folding and transition hierarchies. We also infer a connection between these transition categories and the relative surface strengths, i.e., the ratio of the surface attractive strength to the interchain attraction among H monomers. The validity of our proposed classification scheme is reinforced by the analysis of additional benchmark sequences. We thus believe that the folding hierarchies and identification scheme are generic for HP proteins interacting with attractive surfaces, regardless of chain length, sequence, or surface attraction.

  18. Generic folding and transition hierarchies for surface adsorption of hydrophobic-polar lattice model proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Ying Wai; Wüst, Thomas; Landau, David P.

    2013-01-01

    The thermodynamic behavior and structural properties of hydrophobic-polar (HP) lattice proteins interacting with attractive surfaces are studied by means of Wang-Landau sampling. Three benchmark HP sequences (48mer, 67mer, and 103mer) are considered with different types of surfaces, each of which attract either all monomers, only hydrophobic (H) monomers, or only polar (P) monomers, respectively. The diversity of folding behavior in dependence of surface strength is discussed. Analyzing the combined patterns of various structural observables, such as, e.g., the derivatives of the numbers of surface contacts, together with the specific heat, we are able to identify generic categories of folding and transition hierarchies. We also infer a connection between these transition categories and the relative surface strengths, i.e., the ratio of the surface attractive strength to the interchain attraction among H monomers. The validity of our proposed classification scheme is reinforced by the analysis of additional benchmark sequences. We thus believe that the folding hierarchies and identification scheme are generic for HP proteins interacting with attractive surfaces, regardless of chain length, sequence, or surface attraction.

  19. Protein Flexibilty and Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorpe, Michael

    2003-10-01

    In this talk we apply a novel approach to the exploration of energy landscapes of macromolecules and proteins that uses constraint theory. Constraints fix the bond lengths and bond angles and allow the use of theorems from graph theory to perform a rigid region decomposition of the network of atoms, which identifies the rigid regions, the flexible joints between them and also the stressed regions. We will show movies of the diffusive motion of various proteins. The protein unfolding transition is an example of a rigid to floppy transition and is shown to be more first order than second order because of the self-organized nature of the cross-linked polypeptide chain in the native protein. This approach emphasizes the universality in protein unfolding and allows the folding core and the transition state to be identified. Useful reference are: M.F. Thorpe, Ming Lei, A.J. Rader, Donald J. Jacobs and Leslie A. Kuhn Protein Flexibility Predictions using Graph Theory, Proteins 44, 150 - 165, (2001). A. J. Rader, Brandon M. Hespenheide, Leslie A. Kuhn and M. F. Thorpe Protein Unfolding: Rigidity Lost Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, 3540-3545 (2002). More details of this work can be found via http://physics.asu.edu/mfthorpe

  20. Energy landscape analysis of native folding of the prion protein yields the diffusion constant, transition path time, and rates.

    PubMed

    Yu, Hao; Gupta, Amar Nath; Liu, Xia; Neupane, Krishna; Brigley, Angela M; Sosova, Iveta; Woodside, Michael T

    2012-09-04

    Protein folding is described conceptually in terms of diffusion over a configurational free-energy landscape, typically reduced to a one-dimensional profile along a reaction coordinate. In principle, kinetic properties can be predicted directly from the landscape profile using Kramers theory for diffusive barrier crossing, including the folding rates and the transition time for crossing the barrier. Landscape theory has been widely applied to interpret the time scales for protein conformational dynamics, but protein folding rates and transition times have not been calculated directly from experimentally measured free-energy profiles. We characterized the energy landscape for native folding of the prion protein using force spectroscopy, measuring the change in extension of a single protein molecule at high resolution as it unfolded/refolded under tension. Key parameters describing the landscape profile were first recovered from the distributions of unfolding and refolding forces, allowing the diffusion constant for barrier crossing and the transition path time across the barrier to be calculated. The full landscape profile was then reconstructed from force-extension curves, revealing a double-well potential with an extended, partially unfolded transition state. The barrier height and position were consistent with the previous results. Finally, Kramers theory was used to predict the folding rates from the landscape profile, recovering the values observed experimentally both under tension and at zero force in ensemble experiments. These results demonstrate how advances in single-molecule theory and experiment are harnessing the power of landscape formalisms to describe quantitatively the mechanics of folding.

  1. Importance of hydrophobic cluster formation through long-range contacts in the folding transition state of two-state proteins.

    PubMed

    Selvaraj, S; Gromiha, M Michael

    2004-06-01

    Understanding the folding pathways of proteins is a challenging task. The Phi value approach provides a detailed understanding of transition-state structures of folded proteins. In this work, we have computed the hydrophobicity associated with each residue in the folded state of 16 two-state proteins and compared the Phi values of each mutant residue. We found that most of the residues with high Phi value coincide with local maximum in surrounding hydrophobicity, or have nearby residues that show such maximum in hydrophobicity, indicating the importance of hydrophobic interactions in the transition state. We have tested our approach to different structural classes of proteins, such as alpha-helical, SH3 domains of all-beta proteins, beta-sandwich, and alpha/beta proteins, and we observed a good agreement with experimental results. Further, we have proposed a hydrophobic contact network pattern to relate the Phi values with long-range contacts, which will be helpful to understand the transition-state structures of folded proteins. The present approach could be used to identify potential hydrophobic clusters that may form through long-range contacts during the transition state.

  2. Folding of beta-sandwich proteins: three-state transition of a fibronectin type III module.

    PubMed Central

    Cota, E.; Clarke, J.

    2000-01-01

    An analysis of the folding of the 94 residue tenth fibronectin type III (fnIII) domain of human fibronectin (FNfn10) is presented. Use of guanidine isothiocyanate as a denaturant allows us to obtain equilibrium and kinetic data across a broad range of denaturant concentrations that are unavailable in guanidine hydrochloride. Equilibrium unfolding experiments show that FNfn10 is significantly more stable than has been reported previously. Comparison of equilibrium and kinetic parameters reveals the presence of an intermediate that accumulates at low denaturant concentrations. This is the first demonstration of three-state folding kinetics for a fnIII domain. We have previously shown that a homologous domain from human tenascin (TNfn3) folds by a two-state mechanism, but this does not necessarily indicate that the two proteins fold by different folding pathways. PMID:10739253

  3. The Protein Folding Problem

    PubMed Central

    Dill, Ken A.; Ozkan, S. Banu; Shell, M. Scott; Weikl, Thomas R.

    2008-01-01

    The “protein folding problem” consists of three closely related puzzles: (a) What is the folding code? (b) What is the folding mechanism? (c) Can we predict the native structure of a protein from its amino acid sequence? Once regarded as a grand challenge, protein folding has seen great progress in recent years. Now, foldable proteins and nonbiological polymers are being designed routinely and moving toward successful applications. The structures of small proteins are now often well predicted by computer methods. And, there is now a testable explanation for how a protein can fold so quickly: A protein solves its large global optimization problem as a series of smaller local optimization problems, growing and assembling the native structure from peptide fragments, local structures first. PMID:18573083

  4. Geometry of the energy landscape and folding transition in a simple model of a protein.

    PubMed

    Mazzoni, Lorenzo N; Casetti, Lapo

    2008-05-01

    A geometric analysis of the global properties of the energy landscape of a minimalistic model of a polypeptide is presented, which is based on the relation between dynamical trajectories and geodesics of a suitable manifold, whose metric is completely determined by the potential energy. We consider different sequences, some with a definite proteinlike behavior, a unique native state and a folding transition, and others undergoing a hydrophobic collapse with no tendency to a unique native state. The global geometry of the energy landscape appears to contain relevant information on the behavior of the various sequences: in particular, the fluctuations of the curvature of the energy landscape, measured by means of numerical simulations, clearly mark the folding transition and allow the proteinlike sequences to be distinguished from the others.

  5. Fast protein folding kinetics.

    PubMed

    Gelman, Hannah; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-05-01

    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 <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.

  6. 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

  7. Protein Folding: Detailed Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pande, Vijay

    Proteins play a fundamental role in biology. With their ability to perform numerous biological roles, including acting as catalysts, antibodies, and molecular signals, proteins today realize many of the goals that modern nanotechnology aspires to. However, before proteins can carry out these remarkable molecular functions, they must perform another amazing feat — they must assemble themselves. This process of protein self-assembly into a particular shape, or "fold" is called protein folding. Due to the importance of the folded state in the biological activity of proteins, recent interest from misfolding related diseases [1], as well as a fascination of just how this process occurs [2-4], there has been much work performed in order to unravel the mechanism of protein folding [5].

  8. Sampling of Protein Folding Transitions: Multicanonical Versus Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    We compare the efficiency of multicanonical and replica exchange molecular dynamics for the sampling of folding/unfolding events in simulations of proteins with end-to-end β-sheet. In Go-model simulations of the 75-residue MNK6, we observe improvement factors of 30 in the number of folding/unfolding events of multicanonical molecular dynamics over replica exchange molecular dynamics. As an application, we use this enhanced sampling to study the folding landscape of the 36-residue DS119 with an all-atom physical force field and implicit solvent. Here, we find that the rate-limiting step is the formation of the central helix that then provides a scaffold for the parallel β-sheet formed by the two chain ends. PMID:24198735

  9. Protein photo-folding and quantum folding theory.

    PubMed

    Luo, Liaofu

    2012-06-01

    The rates of protein folding with photon absorption or emission and the cross section of photon -protein inelastic scattering are calculated from quantum folding theory by use of a field-theoretical method. All protein photo-folding processes are compared with common protein folding without the interaction of photons (non-radiative folding). It is demonstrated that there exists a common factor (thermo-averaged overlap integral of the vibration wave function, TAOI) for protein folding and protein photo-folding. Based on this finding it is predicted that (i) the stimulated photo-folding rates and the photon-protein resonance Raman scattering sections show the same temperature dependence as protein folding; (ii) the spectral line of the electronic transition is broadened to a band that includes an abundant vibration spectrum without and with conformational transitions, and the width of each vibration spectral line is largely reduced. The particular form of the folding rate-temperature relation and the abundant spectral structure imply the existence of quantum tunneling between protein conformations in folding and photo-folding that demonstrates the quantum nature of the motion of the conformational-electronic system.

  10. Protein folding pathways and state transitions described by classical equations of motion of an elastic network model.

    PubMed

    Williams, Gareth; Toon, Andrew J

    2010-12-01

    Protein topology defined by the matrix of residue contacts has proved to be a fruitful basis for the study of protein dynamics. The widely implemented coarse-grained elastic network model of backbone fluctuations has been used to describe crystallographic temperature factors, allosteric couplings, and some aspects of the folding pathway. In the present study, we develop a model of protein dynamics based on the classical equations of motion of a damped network model (DNM) that describes the folding path from a completely unfolded state to the native conformation through a single-well potential derived purely from the native conformation. The kinetic energy gained through the collapse of the protein chain is dissipated through a friction term in the equations of motion that models the water bath. This approach is completely general and sufficiently fast that it can be applied to large proteins. Folding pathways for various proteins of different classes are described and shown to correlate with experimental observations and molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations. Allosteric transitions between alternative protein structures are also modeled within the DNM through an asymmetric double-well potential.

  11. Protein folding and misfolding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dobson, Christopher M.

    2003-12-01

    The manner in which a newly synthesized chain of amino acids transforms itself into a perfectly folded protein depends both on the intrinsic properties of the amino-acid sequence and on multiple contributing influences from the crowded cellular milieu. Folding and unfolding are crucial ways of regulating biological activity and targeting proteins to different cellular locations. Aggregation of misfolded proteins that escape the cellular quality-control mechanisms is a common feature of a wide range of highly debilitating and increasingly prevalent diseases.

  12. Transition from natively unfolded to folded state induced by desiccation in an anhydrobiotic nematode protein.

    PubMed

    Goyal, Kshamata; Tisi, Laurence; Basran, Amrik; Browne, John; Burnell, Ann; Zurdo, Jesus; Tunnacliffe, Alan

    2003-04-11

    Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are associated with desiccation tolerance in resurrection plants and in plant seeds, and the recent discovery of a dehydration-induced Group 3 LEA-like gene in the nematode Aphelenchus avenae suggests a similar association in anhydrobiotic animals. Despite their importance, little is known about the structure of Group 3 LEA proteins, although computer modeling and secondary structure algorithms predict a largely alpha-helical monomer that forms coiled coil oligomers. We have therefore investigated the structure of the nematode protein, AavLEA1, in the first such analysis of a well characterized Group 3 LEA-like protein. Immunoblotting and subunit cross-linking experiments demonstrate limited oligomerization of AavLEA1, but analytical ultracentrifugation and gel filtration show that the vast majority of the protein is monomeric. Moreover, CD, fluorescence emission, and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy indicate an unstructured conformation for the nematode protein. Therefore, in solution, no evidence was found to support structure predictions; instead, AavLEA1 seems to be natively unfolded with a high degree of hydration and low compactness. Such proteins can, however, be induced to fold into more rigid structures by partner molecules or by altered physiological conditions. Because AavLEA1 is associated with desiccation stress, its Fourier transform-infrared spectrum in the dehydrated state was examined. A dramatic but reversible increase in alpha-helix and, possibly, coiled coil formation was observed on drying, indicating that computer predictions of secondary structure may be correct for the solid state. This unusual finding offers the possibility that structural shifts in Group 3 LEA proteins occur on dehydration, perhaps consistent with their role in anhydrobiosis.

  13. A Hybrid All-Atom Structure-Based Model for Protein Folding and Large Scale Conformational Transitions.

    PubMed

    Sutto, Ludovico; Mereu, Ilaria; Gervasio, Francesco Luigi

    2011-12-13

    Structure-based models are successful at conjugating the essence of the energy landscape theory of protein folding with an easy and efficient implementation. Recently, their realm expanded beyond a single protein structure, and structure-based potentials have been used profitably to widely study complex conformational transitions. Still, when dealing with structural rearrangements between two, or more, well-defined structures, an unbiased and transferable description of the local backbone and side chain interactions could be advantageous. Here, we propose an all-atom model that merges a classical force field description of these local interactions with a structure-based long-range potential that takes into account the different conformations. We first validate the model simulating and characterizing the folding reaction and the transition state of two well-known proteins: the villin headpiece and the SH3 domain. Then, we characterize the activation mechanism of the catalytic domain of c-Src kinase. Such a process involves the conformational rearrangement of a large loop and the swing of an α helix. The appearance of a stable intermediate state in the free energy landscape between the two conformational end points suggests the mechanism of the loop opening. The low computational cost of the model together with the satisfactory accuracy of the results make it a promising approach to studying conformational transitions in large protein systems.

  14. Simple Model of Protein Folding Kinetics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zwanzig, Robert

    1995-10-01

    A simple model of the kinetics of protein folding is presented. The reaction coordinate is the "correctness" of a configuration compared with the native state. The model has a gap in the energy spectrum, a large configurational entropy, a free energy barrier between folded and partially folded states, and a good thermodynamic folding transition. Folding kinetics is described by a master equation. The folding time is estimated by means of a local thermodynamic equilibrium assumption and then is calculated both numerically and analytically by solving the master equation. The folding time has a maximum near the folding transition temperature and can have a minimum at a lower temperature.

  15. Thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding on the ribosome: Alteration in energy landscapes, denatured state, and transition state ensembles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Brien, Edward; Vendruscolo, Michele; Dobson, Christopher

    2010-03-01

    In vitro experiments examining cotranslational folding utilize ribosome-nascent chain complexes (RNCs) in which the nascent chain is stalled at different points of its biosynthesis on the ribosome. We investigate the thermodynamics, kinetics, and structural properties of RNCs containing five different globular and repeat proteins stalled at ten different nascent chain lengths using coarse grained replica exchange simulations. We find that when the proteins are stalled near the ribosome exit tunnel opening they exhibit altered folding coopserativity, quantified by the van't Hoff enthalpy criterion; a significantly altered denatured state ensemble, in terms of Rg and shape parameters (Rg tensor); and the appearance of partially folded intermediates during cotranslation, evidenced by the appearance of a third basin in the free energy profile. These trends are due in part to excluded volume (crowding) interactions between the ribosome and nascent chain. We perform in silico temperature-jump experiments on the RNCs and examine nascent chain folding kinetics and structural changes in the transition state ensemble at various stall lengths.

  16. Transition-path sampling of -hairpin folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolhuis, Peter G.

    2003-10-01

    We examine the dynamical folding pathways of the C-terminal -hairpin of protein G-B1 in explicit solvent at room temperature by means of a transition-path sampling algorithm. In agreement with previous free-energy calculations, the resulting path ensembles reveal a folding mechanism in which the hydrophobic residues collapse first followed by backbone hydrogen-bond formation, starting with the hydrogen bonds inside the hydrophobic core. In addition, the path ensembles contain information on the folding kinetics, including solvent motion. Using the recently developed transition interface sampling technique, we calculate the rate constant for unfolding of the protein fragment and find it to be in reasonable agreement with experiments. The results support the validation of using all-atom force fields to study protein folding.

  17. 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)

  18. Transitive homology-guided structural studies lead to discovery of Cro proteins with 40% sequence identity but different folds.

    PubMed

    Roessler, Christian G; Hall, Branwen M; Anderson, William J; Ingram, Wendy M; Roberts, Sue A; Montfort, William R; Cordes, Matthew H J

    2008-02-19

    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 approximately 25 residues. Sedimentation analysis also suggests a correlation between helix-to-sheet conversion and strengthened dimerization.

  19. 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.

  20. Protein Folding: Then and Now

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Yiwen; Ding, Feng; Nie, Huifen; Serohijos, Adrian W.; Sharma, Shantanu; Wilcox, Kyle C.; Yin, Shuangye; Dokholyan, Nikolay V.

    2007-01-01

    Over the past three decades the protein folding field has undergone monumental changes. Originally a purely academic question, how a protein folds has now become vital in understanding diseases and our abilities to rationally manipulate cellular life by engineering protein folding pathways. We review and contrast past and recent developments in the protein folding field. Specifically, we discuss the progress in our understanding of protein folding thermodynamics and kinetics, the properties of evasive intermediates, and unfolded states. We also discuss how some abnormalities in protein folding lead to protein aggregation and human diseases. PMID:17585870

  1. Competition for hydrogen-bond formation in the helix-coil transition and protein folding.

    PubMed

    Badasyan, A V; Tonoyan, Sh A; Mamasakhlisov, Y Sh; Giacometti, Achille; Benight, A S; Morozov, V F

    2011-05-01

    The problem of the helix-coil transition of biopolymers in explicit solvents, such as water, with the ability for hydrogen bonding with a solvent is addressed analytically using a suitably modified version of the Generalized Model of Polypeptide Chains. Besides the regular helix-coil transition, an additional coil-helix or reentrant transition is also found at lower temperatures. The reentrant transition arises due to competition between polymer-polymer and polymer-water hydrogen bonds. The balance between the two types of hydrogen bonding can be shifted to either direction through changes not only in temperature, but also by pressure, mechanical force, osmotic stress, or other external influences. Both polypeptides and polynucleotides are considered within a unified formalism. Our approach provides an explanation of the experimental difficulty of observing the reentrant transition with pressure and underscores the advantage of pulling experiments for studies of DNA. Results are discussed and compared with those reported in a number of recent publications with which a significant level of agreement is obtained.

  2. 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. PMID:27493521

  3. Evolutionary Optimization of Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Nature has shaped the make up of proteins since their appearance, 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 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

  4. Changes of protein stiffness during folding detect protein folding intermediates.

    PubMed

    Małek, Katarzyna E; Szoszkiewicz, Robert

    2014-01-01

    Single-molecule force-quench atomic force microscopy (FQ-AFM) is used to detect folding intermediates of a simple protein by detecting changes of molecular stiffness of the protein during its folding process. Those stiffness changes are obtained from shape and peaks of an autocorrelation of fluctuations in end-to-end length of the folding molecule. The results are supported by predictions of the equipartition theorem and agree with existing Langevin dynamics simulations of a simplified model of a protein folding. In the light of the Langevin simulations the experimental data probe an ensemble of random-coiled collapsed states of the protein, which are present both in the force-quench and thermal-quench folding pathways.

  5. Ultrafast protein folding in cages and zippers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qiu, Linlin; Hagen, Stephen J.

    2003-03-01

    The smallest, fastest-folding proteins fold on the ˜μ s time scale, where state-of-the-art molecular dynamics (MD) simulation can finally overlap with the fastest experimental probes such as laser temperature-jump spectroscopy. For such proteins, one can now ask whether molecular dynamics correctly predicts the native structure and/or the folding speed. We will present experimental measurements of folding speed in two small proteins that acquire a stable tertiary fold rapidly enough to have been simulated in MD: (a) The 20-residue tryptophan (Trp) cage, which constitutes both the smallest truly protein-like molecule and also the fastest-folding [Neidigh et al., Nat. Struct. Biol. 9 425 (2002); Qiu et al., JACS 124 12952 (2002)], and (b) the 12-residue Trp zippers (e.g. TrpZip1), monomeric β-hairpins engineered by Cochran et al. [PNAS 98 5578 (2001)]. Both proteins fold in a cooperative, two-state transition at rates exceeding 10^5 s-1 (τ < 10 μs). We will compare the folding kinetics of these proteins with the predictions of MD simulations.

  6. Protein folding in the cell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gething, Mary-Jane; Sambrook, Joseph

    1992-01-01

    In the cell, as in vitro, the final conformation of a protein is determined by its amino-acid sequence. But whereas some isolated proteins can be denatured and refolded in vitro in the absence of other macromolecular cellular components, folding and assembly of polypeptides in vivo involves other proteins, many of which belong to families that have been highly conserved during evolution.

  7. 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.

  8. Protein folding by motion planning.

    PubMed

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

    2005-11-09

    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.

  9. Use of Protein Folding Reagents.

    PubMed

    2016-04-01

    The reagents and methods for purification and use of the most commonly used denaturants, guanidine hydrochloride (guanidine-HCl) and urea, are described. Other protein denaturants and reagents used to fold proteins are briefly mentioned. Sulfhydryl reagents (reducing agents) and "oxido-shuffling" (or oxidative regeneration) systems are also described.

  10. Turbulent phenomena in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Kalgin, Igor V; Chekmarev, Sergei F

    2011-01-01

    Protein folding and hydrodynamic turbulence are two long-standing challenges, in molecular biophysics and fluid dynamics, respectively. The theories of these phenomena have been developed independently and used different formalisms. Here we show that the protein folding flows can be surprisingly similar to turbulent fluid flows. Studying a benchmark model protein (an SH3 domain), we have found that the flows for the slow folding trajectories of the protein, in which a partly formed N- and C-terminal β sheet hinders the RT loop from attaching to the protein core, have many properties of turbulent flows of a fluid. The flows are analyzed in a three-dimensional (3D) space of collective variables, which are the numbers of native contacts between the terminal β strands, between the RT loop and the protein core, and the rest of the native contacts. We have found that the flows have fractal nature and are filled with 3D eddies; the latter contain strange attractors, at which the tracer flow paths behave as saddle trajectories. Two regions of the space increment have been observed, in which the flux variations are self-similar with the scaling exponent h=1/3, in surprising agreement with the Kolmogorov inertial range theory of turbulence. In one region, the cascade of protein rearrangements is directed from larger to smaller scales (net folding), and in the other, it is oppositely directed (net unfolding). Folding flows for the fast trajectories are essentially "laminar" and do not have the property of self-similarity. Based on the results of our study, we infer, and support this inference by simulations, that the origin of the similarity between the protein folding and turbulent motion of a fluid is in a cascade mechanism of structural transformations in the systems that underlies these phenomena.

  11. Cooperativity and modularity in protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Sasai, Masaki; Chikenji, George; Terada, Tomoki P.

    2016-01-01

    A simple statistical mechanical model proposed by Wako and Saitô has explained the aspects of protein folding surprisingly well. This model was systematically applied to multiple proteins by Muñoz and Eaton and has since been referred to as the Wako-Saitô-Muñoz-Eaton (WSME) model. The success of the WSME model in explaining the folding of many proteins has verified the hypothesis that the folding is dominated by native interactions, which makes the energy landscape globally biased toward native conformation. Using the WSME and other related models, Saitô emphasized the importance of the hierarchical pathway in protein folding; folding starts with the creation of contiguous segments having a native-like configuration and proceeds as growth and coalescence of these segments. The Φ-values calculated for barnase with the WSME model suggested that segments contributing to the folding nucleus are similar to the structural modules defined by the pattern of native atomic contacts. The WSME model was extended to explain folding of multi-domain proteins having a complex topology, which opened the way to comprehensively understanding the folding process of multi-domain proteins. The WSME model was also extended to describe allosteric transitions, indicating that the allosteric structural movement does not occur as a deterministic sequential change between two conformations but as a stochastic diffusive motion over the dynamically changing energy landscape. Statistical mechanical viewpoint on folding, as highlighted by the WSME model, has been renovated in the context of modern methods and ideas, and will continue to provide insights on equilibrium and dynamical features of proteins. PMID:28409080

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

    PubMed

    Lee, Michael S; Olson, Mark A

    2011-06-28

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. 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

  16. Microcanonical versus Canonical Analysis of Protein Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hernández-Rojas, J.; Gomez Llorente, J. M.

    2008-06-01

    The microcanonical analysis is shown to be a powerful tool to characterize the protein folding transition and to neatly distinguish between good and bad folders. An off-lattice model with parameter chosen to represent polymers of these two types is used to illustrate this approach. Both canonical and microcanonical ensembles are employed. The required calculations were performed using parallel tempering Monte Carlo simulations. The most revealing features of the folding transition are related to its first-order-like character, namely, the S-bend pattern in the caloric curve, which gives rise to negative microcanonical specific heats, and the bimodality of the energy distribution function at the transition temperatures. Models for a good folder are shown to be quite robust against perturbations in the interaction potential parameters.

  17. Bacteriorhodopsin folds through a poorly organized transition state.

    PubMed

    Schlebach, Jonathan P; Woodall, Nicholas B; Bowie, James U; Park, Chiwook

    2014-11-26

    The folding mechanisms of helical membrane proteins remain largely uncharted. Here we characterize the kinetics of bacteriorhodopsin folding and employ φ-value analysis to explore the folding transition state. First, we developed and confirmed a kinetic model that allowed us to assess the rate of folding from SDS-denatured bacteriorhodopsin (bRU) and provides accurate thermodynamic information even under influence of retinal hydrolysis. Next, we obtained reliable φ-values for 16 mutants of bacteriorhodopsin with good coverage across the protein. Every φ-value was less than 0.4, indicating the transition state is not uniquely structured. We suggest that the transition state is a loosely organized ensemble of conformations.

  18. 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.

  19. Protein Folding:. Physics on Products of Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Go, Nobuhiro

    2001-09-01

    Proteins are self-assembling molecular systems. A polypeptide chain of a protein molecule folds into a globular three-dimensional structure, which is specific to the amino acid sequence of the chain. A protein molecule is in the "native state" when folded into its specific three-dimensional structure. Only in the native state, a protein molecule carries out its biological function. This extraordinary self-assembly ability of proteins can be explained based on the three generally accepted empirical observations in proteins: (1) Two-state character; Folding and unfolding transitions in small globular proteins are generally of the two-state character. (2) Consistency principle; Various components of intra-molecular interactions responsible for stabilizing the native state of globular proteins are consistent to each other in their native state. (3) Principle of marginal stability; The native folded states of globular proteins are generally only marginally stable against their unfolded states. Deduction of the self-assembly ability from the three observations is a problem of physical nature. Very sophisticated theories have been developed recently as to this point. I shall give a very simple and intuitive discussion on this point. Asking why protein molecules show the three observations is another problem. Observation (1) can be derived from the globularity of native states. Observations (2) and (3) can be understood only by considering the evolutionary history of protein molecules, i.e., only polypeptide chains with very specific amino acid sequences selected during the history of evolution show properties of observations (2) and (3). Here we see a case where the mechanism of an extraordinary ability of biopolymers is elucidated in terms of physics, and physics expects that only a very small fraction of amino acid sequences have such an ability. Nature has left the job of finding able sequences to the history of evolution.

  20. Predicting protein folds with fold-specific PSSM libraries.

    PubMed

    Hong, Yoojin; Chintapalli, Sree Vamsee; Ko, Kyung Dae; Bhardwaj, Gaurav; Zhang, Zhenhai; van Rossum, Damian; Patterson, Randen L

    2011-01-01

    Accurately assigning folds for divergent protein sequences is a major obstacle to structural studies. Herein, we outline an effective method for fold recognition using sets of PSSMs, each of which is constructed for different protein folds. Our analyses demonstrate that FSL (Fold-specific Position Specific Scoring Matrix Libraries) can predict/relate structures given only their amino acid sequences of highly divergent proteins. This ability to detect distant relationships is dependent on low-identity sequence alignments obtained from FSL. Results from our experiments demonstrate that FSL perform well in recognizing folds from the "twilight-zone" SABmark dataset. Further, this method is capable of accurate fold prediction in newly determined structures. We suggest that by building complete PSSM libraries for all unique folds within the Protein Database (PDB), FSL can be used to rapidly and reliably annotate a large subset of protein folds at proteomic level. The related programs and fold-specific PSSMs for our FSL are publicly available at: http://ccp.psu.edu/download/FSLv1.0/.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. The "Transport Specificity Ratio": a structure-function tool to search the protein fold for loci that control transition state stability in membrane transport catalysis

    PubMed Central

    King, Steven C

    2004-01-01

    Background In establishing structure-function relationships for membrane transport proteins, the interpretation of phenotypic changes can be problematic, owing to uncertainties in protein expression levels, sub-cellular localization, and protein-folding fidelity. A dual-label competitive transport assay called "Transport Specificity Ratio" (TSR) analysis has been developed that is simple to perform, and circumvents the "expression problem," providing a reliable TSR phenotype (a constant) for comparison to other transporters. Results Using the Escherichia coli GABA (4-aminobutyrate) permease (GabP) as a model carrier, it is demonstrated that the TSR phenotype is largely independent of assay conditions, exhibiting: (i) indifference to the particular substrate concentrations used, (ii) indifference to extreme changes (40-fold) in transporter expression level, and within broad limits (iii) indifference to assay duration. The theoretical underpinnings of TSR analysis predict all of the above observations, supporting that TSR has (i) applicability in the analysis of membrane transport, and (ii) particular utility in the face of incomplete information on protein expression levels and initial reaction rate intervals (e.g., in high-throughput screening situations). The TSR was used to identify gab permease (GabP) variants that exhibit relative changes in catalytic specificity (kcat/Km) for [14C]GABA (4-aminobutyrate) versus [3H]NA (nipecotic acid). Conclusions The TSR phenotype is an easily measured constant that reflects innate molecular properties of the transition state, and provides a reliable index of the difference in catalytic specificity that a carrier exhibits toward a particular pair of substrates. A change in the TSR phenotype, called a Δ(TSR), represents a specificity shift attributable to underlying changes in the intrinsic substrate binding energy (ΔGb) that translocation catalysts rely upon to decrease activation energy (). TSR analysis is therefore a

  4. How Does Your Protein Fold? Elucidating the Apomyoglobin Folding Pathway.

    PubMed

    Dyson, H Jane; Wright, Peter E

    2017-01-17

    Although each type of protein fold and in some cases individual proteins within a fold classification can have very different mechanisms of folding, the underlying biophysical and biochemical principles that operate to cause a linear polypeptide chain to fold into a globular structure must be the same. In an aqueous solution, the protein takes up the thermodynamically most stable structure, but the pathway along which the polypeptide proceeds in order to reach that structure is a function of the amino acid sequence, which must be the final determining factor, not only in shaping the final folded structure, but in dictating the folding pathway. A number of groups have focused on a single protein or group of proteins, to determine in detail the factors that influence the rate and mechanism of folding in a defined system, with the hope that hypothesis-driven experiments can elucidate the underlying principles governing the folding process. Our research group has focused on the folding of the globin family of proteins, and in particular on the monomeric protein apomyoglobin. Apomyoglobin (apoMb) folds relatively slowly (∼2 s) via an ensemble of obligatory intermediates that form rapidly after the initiation of folding. The folding pathway can be dissected using rapid-mixing techniques, which can probe processes in the millisecond time range. Stopped-flow measurements detected by circular dichroism (CD) or fluorescence spectroscopy give information on the rates of folding events. Quench-flow experiments utilize the differential rates of hydrogen-deuterium exchange of amide protons protected in parts of the structure that are folded early; protection of amides can be detected by mass spectrometry or proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). In addition, apoMb forms an intermediate at equilibrium at pH ∼ 4, which is sufficiently stable for it to be structurally characterized by solution methods such as CD, fluorescence and NMR spectroscopies, and the

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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. PMID:26912067

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Macromolecule-Assisted de novo Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Choi, Seong Il; Son, Ahyun; Lim, Keo-Heun; Jeong, Hotcherl; Seong, Baik L.

    2012-01-01

    In the processes of protein synthesis and folding, newly synthesized polypeptides are tightly connected to the macromolecules, such as ribosomes, lipid bilayers, or cotranslationally folded domains in multidomain proteins, representing a hallmark of de novo protein folding environments in vivo. Such linkage effects on the aggregation of endogenous polypeptides have been largely neglected, although all these macromolecules have been known to effectively and robustly solubilize their linked heterologous proteins in fusion or display technology. Thus, their roles in the aggregation of linked endogenous polypeptides need to be elucidated and incorporated into the mechanisms of de novo protein folding in vivo. In the classic hydrophobic interaction-based stabilizing mechanism underlying the molecular chaperone-assisted protein folding, it has been assumed that the macromolecules connected through a simple linkage without hydrophobic interactions and conformational changes would make no effect on the aggregation of their linked polypeptide chains. However, an increasing line of evidence indicates that the intrinsic properties of soluble macromolecules, especially their surface charges and excluded volume, could be important and universal factors for stabilizing their linked polypeptides against aggregation. Taken together, these macromolecules could act as folding helpers by keeping their linked nascent chains in a folding-competent state. The folding assistance provided by these macromolecules in the linkage context would give new insights into de novo protein folding inside the cell. PMID:22949867

  12. Structural features of protein folding nuclei.

    PubMed

    Garbuzynskiy, S O; Kondratova, M S

    2008-03-05

    A crucial event of protein folding is the formation of a folding nucleus. We demonstrate the presence of a considerable coincidence between the location of folding nuclei and the location of so-called "root structural motifs", which have unique overall folds and handedness. In the case of proteins with a single root structural motif, the involvement in the formation of a folding nucleus is in average significantly higher for amino acids residues that are in root structural motifs, compared to residues in other parts of the protein. The tests carried out revealed that the observed difference is statistically reliable. Thus, a structural feature that corresponds to the protein folding nucleus is now found.

  13. 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.

  14. Accelerated molecular dynamics simulations of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Miao, Yinglong; Feixas, Ferran; Eun, Changsun; McCammon, J Andrew

    2015-07-30

    Folding of four fast-folding proteins, including chignolin, Trp-cage, villin headpiece and WW domain, was simulated via accelerated molecular dynamics (aMD). In comparison with hundred-of-microsecond timescale conventional molecular dynamics (cMD) simulations performed on the Anton supercomputer, aMD captured complete folding of the four proteins in significantly shorter simulation time. The folded protein conformations were found within 0.2-2.1 Å of the native NMR or X-ray crystal structures. Free energy profiles calculated through improved reweighting of the aMD simulations using cumulant expansion to the second-order are in good agreement with those obtained from cMD simulations. This allows us to identify distinct conformational states (e.g., unfolded and intermediate) other than the native structure and the protein folding energy barriers. Detailed analysis of protein secondary structures and local key residue interactions provided important insights into the protein folding pathways. Furthermore, the selections of force fields and aMD simulation parameters are discussed in detail. Our work shows usefulness and accuracy of aMD in studying protein folding, providing basic references in using aMD in future protein-folding studies. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Desolvation effects and topology-dependent protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferguson, Allison; Liu, Zhirong; Chan, Hue Sun

    2007-03-01

    As a protein folds, water molecules must be excluded from the hydrophobic core, and thus desolvation barriers between the protein's constituents must be crossed in order to reach the final folded state. Previous research on continuum Go-like protein models has demonstrated that pairwise-additive desolvation potentials lead to more thermodynamically and kinetically cooperative folding/unfolding transitions (Z. Liu and H. S. Chan, Phys. Biol. 2, S75-S85, 2005). The present work focuses on the role of this elementary desolvation potential in improving predictions of the well-known topology-folding rate relationship (K. W. Plaxco et al, J. Mol. Biol. 277, 985-994, 1998) of small single-domain proteins. Recent computational studies without desolvation barriers have shown (S. Wallin and H. S. Chan, J. Phys.: Condens. Matt. 18, S307-S328, 2006) that the observed correlation between topological parameters and folding rates is because these parameters may be proxies for rate-determining properties of the transition state, such as the activation free energy δG^ and activation conformational entropy δS^. Including the desolvation barrier in the model results in stronger correlations between measures of topology and simulated folding rates / transition state properties, reinforcing the theory that even simple representations of the desolvation effect are important for understanding crucial features of protein folding.

  16. Under-folded proteins: Conformational ensembles and their roles in protein folding, function, and pathogenesis.

    PubMed

    Uversky, Vladimir N

    2013-11-01

    For decades, protein function was intimately linked to the presence of a unique, aperiodic crystal-like structure in a functional protein. The two only places for conformational ensembles of under-folded (or partially folded) protein forms in this picture were either the end points of the protein denaturation processes or transiently populated folding intermediates. Recent years witnessed dramatic change in this perception and conformational ensembles, which the under-folded proteins are, have moved from the shadow. Accumulated to date data suggest that a protein can exist in at least three global forms-functional and folded, functional and intrinsically disordered (nonfolded), and nonfunctional and misfolded/aggregated. Under-folded protein states are crucial for each of these forms, serving as important folding intermediates of ordered proteins, or as functional states of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and IDP regions (IDPRs), or as pathology triggers of misfolded proteins. Based on these observations, conformational ensembles of under-folded proteins can be classified as transient (folding and misfolding intermediates) and permanent (IDPs and stable misfolded proteins). Permanently under-folded proteins can further be split into intentionally designed (IDPs and IDPRs) and unintentionally designed (misfolded proteins). Although intrinsic flexibility, dynamics, and pliability are crucial for all under-folded proteins, the different categories of under-foldedness are differently encoded in protein amino acid sequences. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Some physical approaches to protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bascle, J.; Garel, T.; Orland, H.

    1993-02-01

    To understand how a protein folds is a problem which has important biological implications. In this article, we would like to present a physics-oriented point of view, which is twofold. First of all, we introduce simple statistical mechanics models which display, in the thermodynamic limit, folding and related transitions. These models can be divided into (i) crude spin glass-like models (with their Mattis analogs), where one may look for possible correlations between the chain self-interactions and the folded structure, (ii) glass-like models, where one emphasizes the geometrical competition between one- or two-dimensional local order (mimicking α helix or β sheet structures), and the requirement of global compactness. Both models are too simple to predict the spatial organization of a realistic protein, but are useful for the physicist and should have some feedback in other glassy systems (glasses, collapsed polymers .... ). These remarks lead us to the second physical approach, namely a new Monte-Carlo method, where one grows the protein atom-by-atom (or residue-by-residue), using a standard form (CHARMM .... ) for the total energy. A detailed comparison with other Monte-Carlo schemes, or Molecular Dynamics calculations, is then possible; we will sketch such a comparison for poly-alanines. Our twofold approach illustrates some of the difficulties one encounters in the protein folding problem, in particular those associated with the existence of a large number of metastable states. Le repliement des protéines est un problème qui a de nombreuses implications biologiques. Dans cet article, nous présentons, de deux façons différentes, un point de vue de physicien. Nous introduisons tout d'abord des modèles simples de mécanique statistique qui exhibent, à la limite thermodynamique, des transitions de repliement. Ces modèles peuvent être divisés en (i) verres de spin (éventuellement à la Mattis), où l'on peut chercher des corrélations entre les

  20. Simultaneous Alignment and Folding of Protein Sequences

    PubMed Central

    Waldispühl, Jérôme; O'Donnell, Charles W.; Will, Sebastian; Devadas, Srinivas; Backofen, Rolf

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Accurate comparative analysis tools for low-homology proteins remains a difficult challenge in computational biology, especially sequence alignment and consensus folding problems. We present partiFold-Align, the first algorithm for simultaneous alignment and consensus folding of unaligned protein sequences; the algorithm's complexity is polynomial in time and space. Algorithmically, partiFold-Align exploits sparsity in the set of super-secondary structure pairings and alignment candidates to achieve an effectively cubic running time for simultaneous pairwise alignment and folding. We demonstrate the efficacy of these techniques on transmembrane β-barrel proteins, an important yet difficult class of proteins with few known three-dimensional structures. Testing against structurally derived sequence alignments, partiFold-Align significantly outperforms state-of-the-art pairwise and multiple sequence alignment tools in the most difficult low-sequence homology case. It also improves secondary structure prediction where current approaches fail. Importantly, partiFold-Align requires no prior training. These general techniques are widely applicable to many more protein families (partiFold-Align is available at http://partifold.csail.mit.edu/). PMID:24766258

  1. Protein vivisection reveals elusive intermediates in folding

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Zhongzhou; Sosnick, Tobin R.

    2010-01-01

    Although most folding intermediates escape detection, their characterization is crucial to the elucidation of folding mechanisms. Here we outline a powerful strategy to populate partially unfolded intermediates: A buried aliphatic residue is substituted with a charged residue (e.g., Leu→Glu−) to destabilize and unfold a specific region of the protein. We apply this strategy to Ubiquitin, reversibly trapping a folding intermediate in which the β5 strand is unfolded. The intermediate refolds to a native-like structure upon charge neutralization under mildly acidic conditions. Characterization of the trapped intermediate using NMR and hydrogen exchange methods identifies a second folding intermediate and reveals the order and free energies of the two major folding events on the native side of the rate-limiting step. This general strategy may be combined with other methods and have broad applications in the study of protein folding and other reactions that require trapping of high energy states. PMID:20144618

  2. Hydrophobic folding units at protein-protein interfaces: implications to protein folding and to protein-protein association.

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, C. J.; Nussinov, R.

    1997-01-01

    A hydrophobic folding unit cutting algorithm, originally developed for dissecting single-chain proteins, has been applied to a dataset of dissimilar two-chain protein-protein interfaces. Rather than consider each individual chain separately, the two-chain complex has been treated as a single chain. The two-chain parsing results presented in this work show hydrophobicity to be a critical attribute of two-state versus three-state protein-protein complexes. The hydrophobic folding units at the interfaces of two-state complexes suggest that the cooperative nature of the two-chain protein folding is the outcome of the hydrophobic effect, similar to its being the driving force in a single-chain folding. In analogy to the protein-folding process, the two-chain, two-state model complex may correspond to the formation of compact, hydrophobic nuclei. On the other hand, the three-state model complex involves binding of already folded monomers, similar to the association of the hydrophobic folding units within a single chain. The similarity between folding entities in protein cores and in two-state protein-protein interfaces, despite the absence of some chain connectivities in the latter, indicates that chain linkage does not necessarily affect the native conformation. This further substantiates the notion that tertiary, non-local interactions play a critical role in protein folding. These compact, hydrophobic, two-chain folding units, derived from structurally dissimilar protein-protein interfaces, provide a rich set of data useful in investigations of the role played by chain connectivity and by tertiary interactions in studies of binding and of folding. Since they are composed of non-contiguous pieces of protein backbones, they may also aid in defining folding nuclei. PMID:9232644

  3. 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

  4. The robustness and innovability of protein folds.

    PubMed

    Tóth-Petróczy, Agnes; Tawfik, Dan S

    2014-06-01

    Assignment of protein folds to functions indicates that >60% of folds carry out one or two enzymatic functions, while few folds, for example, the TIM-barrel and Rossmann folds, exhibit hundreds. Are there structural features that make a fold amenable to functional innovation (innovability)? Do these features relate to robustness--the ability to readily accumulate sequence changes? We discuss several hypotheses regarding the relationship between the architecture of a protein and its evolutionary potential. We describe how, in a seemingly paradoxical manner, opposite properties, such as high stability and rigidity versus conformational plasticity and structural order versus disorder, promote robustness and/or innovability. We hypothesize that polarity--differentiation and low connectivity between a protein's scaffold and its active-site--is a key prerequisite for innovability. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. THEORY OF PROTEIN FOLDING: The Energy Landscape Perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Onuchic, Jose Nelson; Luthey-Schulten, Zaida; Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-10-01

    The energy landscape theory of protein folding is a statistical description of a protein's potential surface. It assumes that folding occurs through organizing an ensemble of structures rather than through only a few uniquely defined structural intermediates. It suggests that the most realistic model of a protein is a minimally frustrated heteropolymer with a rugged funnel-like landscape biased toward the native structure. This statistical description has been developed using tools from the statistical mechanics of disordered systems, polymers, and phase transitions of finite systems. We review here its analytical background and contrast the phenomena in homopolymers, random heteropolymers, and protein-like heteropolymers that are kinetically and thermodynamically capable of folding. The connection between these statistical concepts and the results of minimalist models used in computer simulations is discussed. The review concludes with a brief discussion of how the theory helps in the interpretation of results from fast folding experiments and in the practical task of protein structure prediction.

  6. Identifying folding nucleus based on residue contact networks of proteins.

    PubMed

    Li, Jie; Wang, Jun; Wang, Wei

    2008-06-01

    In the native structure of a protein, all the residues are tightly parked together in a specific order following its folding and every residue contacts with some spatially neighbor residues. A residue contact network can be constructed by defining the residues as nodes and the native contacts as edges. During the folding of small single-domain proteins, there is a set of contacts (or bonds), defined as the folding nucleus (FN), which is formed around the transition state, i.e., a rate-limiting barrier located at about the middle between the unfolded states and the native state on the free energy landscape. Such a FN plays an essential role in the folding dynamics and the residues, which form the related contacts called as folding nucleus residues (FNRs). In this work, the FNRs in proteins are identified by using quantities which characterize the topology of residue contact networks of proteins. By comparing the specificities of residues with the network quantities K(R), L(R), and D(R), up to 90% FNRs of six typical proteins found experimentally are identified. It is found that the FNRs behave the full-closeness centrals rather than degree or closeness centers in the residue contact network, implying that they are important to the folding cooperativity of proteins. Our study shows that the FNRs can be identified solely from the native structures of proteins based on the analysis of residue contact network without any knowledge of the transition state ensemble. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  7. Stochastic Resonance in Protein Folding Dynamics.

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-04

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Local vs global motions in protein folding

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    It is of interest to know whether local fluctuations in a polypeptide chain play any role in the mechanism by which the chain folds to the native structure of a protein. This question is addressed by analyzing folding and non-folding trajectories of a protein; as an example, the analysis is applied to the 37-residue triple β-strand WW domain from the Formin binding protein 28 (FBP28) (PDB ID: 1E0L). Molecular dynamics (MD) trajectories were generated with the coarse-grained united-residue force field, and one- and two-dimensional free-energy landscapes (FELs) along the backbone virtual-bond angle θ and backbone virtual-bond-dihedral angle γ of each residue, and principal components, respectively, were analyzed. The key residues involved in the folding of the FBP28 WW domain are elucidated by this analysis. The correlations between local and global motions are found. It is shown that most of the residues in the folding trajectories of the system studied here move in a concerted fashion, following the dynamics of the whole system. This demonstrates how the choice of a pathway has to involve concerted movements in order for this protein to fold. This finding also sheds light on the effectiveness of principal component analysis (PCA) for the description of the folding dynamics of the system studied. It is demonstrated that the FEL along the PCs, computed by considering only several critically-placed residues, can correctly describe the folding dynamics. PMID:23914144

  10. 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

  11. Thermally triggered self-assembly of folded proteins into vesicles.

    PubMed

    Park, Won Min; Champion, Julie A

    2014-12-31

    We report thermally triggered self-assembly of folded proteins into vesicles that incorporates globular proteins as building blocks. Leucine zipper coiled coils were combined with either globular proteins or elastin-like polypeptides as recombinant fusion proteins, which form "rod-coil" and "globule-rod-coil" protein complex amphiphiles. In aqueous solution, they self-assembled into hollow vesicles via temperature-responsive inverse phase transition. The characteristic of the protein vesicle membranes enables preferential encapsulation of simultaneously formed protein coacervate. Furthermore, the type of encapsulated cargo extends to small molecules and nanoparticles. Our approach offers a versatile strategy to create protein vesicles as vehicles with biological functionality.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Cotranslational folding of deeply knotted proteins.

    PubMed

    Chwastyk, Mateusz; Cieplak, Marek

    2015-09-09

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. The hydrogen exchange core and protein folding.

    PubMed Central

    Li, R.; Woodward, C.

    1999-01-01

    A database of hydrogen-deuterium exchange results has been compiled for proteins for which there are published rates of out-exchange in the native state, protection against exchange during folding, and out-exchange in partially folded forms. The question of whether the slow exchange core is the folding core (Woodward C, 1993, Trends Biochem Sci 18:359-360) is reexamined in a detailed comparison of the specific amide protons (NHs) and the elements of secondary structure on which they are located. For each pulsed exchange or competition experiment, probe NHs are shown explicitly; the large number and broad distribution of probe NHs support the validity of comparing out-exchange with pulsed-exchange/competition experiments. There is a strong tendency for the same elements of secondary structure to carry NHs most protected in the native state, NHs first protected during folding, and NHs most protected in partially folded species. There is not a one-to-one correspondence of individual NHs. Proteins for which there are published data for native state out-exchange and theta values are also reviewed. The elements of secondary structure containing the slowest exchanging NHs in native proteins tend to contain side chains with high theta values or be connected to a turn/loop with high theta values. A definition for a protein core is proposed, and the implications for protein folding are discussed. Apparently, during folding and in the native state, nonlocal interactions between core sequences are favored more than other possible nonlocal interactions. Other studies of partially folded bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (Barbar E, Barany G, Woodward C, 1995, Biochemistry 34:11423-11434; Barber E, Hare M, Daragan V, Barany G, Woodward C, 1998, Biochemistry 37:7822-7833), suggest that developing cores have site-specific energy barriers between microstates, one disordered, and the other(s) more ordered. PMID:10452602

  18. 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 60 years 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.

  19. Protein folding and de novo protein design for biotechnological applications

    PubMed Central

    Khoury, George A.; Smadbeck, James; Kieslich, Chris A.; Floudas, Christodoulos A.

    2014-01-01

    In the post-genomic era, the medical/biological fields are advancing faster than ever. However, before the power of full-genome sequencing can be fully realized, the connection between amino acid sequence and protein structure, known as the protein folding problem, needs to be elucidated. The protein folding problem remains elusive, with significant difficulties still arising when modeling amino acid sequences lacking an identifiable template. Understanding protein folding will allow for unforeseen advances in protein design, often referred as the inverse protein folding problem. Despite challenges in protein folding, de novo protein design has recently demonstrated significant success via computational techniques. We review advances and challenges in protein structure prediction and de novo protein design, and highlight their interplay in successful biotechnological applications. PMID:24268901

  20. Self-consistent calculation of protein folding pathways

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Orioli, S.; a Beccara, S.; Faccioli, P.

    2017-08-01

    We introduce an iterative algorithm to efficiently simulate protein folding and other conformational transitions, using state-of-the-art all-atom force fields. Starting from the Langevin equation, we obtain a self-consistent stochastic equation of motion, which directly yields the reaction pathways. From the solution of this set of equations we derive a stochastic estimate of the reaction coordinate. We validate this approach against the results of plain MD simulations of the folding of a small protein, which were performed on the Anton supercomputer. In order to explore the computational efficiency of this algorithm, we apply it to generate a folding pathway of a protein that consists of 130 amino acids and has a folding rate of the order of s-1.

  1. The Ribosome Modulates Nascent Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Kaiser, Christian M.; Goldman, Daniel H.; Chodera, John D.; Tinoco, Ignacio; Bustamante, Carlos

    2014-01-01

    Proteins are synthesized by the ribosome and generally must fold to become functionally active. Although it is commonly assumed that the ribosome affects the folding process, this idea has been extremely difficult to demonstrate. We have developed an experimental system to investigate the folding of single ribosome-bound stalled nascent polypeptides with optical tweezers. In T4 lysozyme, synthesized in a reconstituted in vitro translation system, the ribosome slows the formation of stable tertiary interactions and the attainment of the native state relative to the free protein. Incomplete T4 lysozyme polypeptides misfold and aggregate when free in solution, but they remain folding-competent near the ribosomal surface. Altogether, our results suggest that the ribosome not only decodes the genetic information and synthesizes polypeptides, but also promotes efficient de novo attainment of the native state. PMID:22194581

  2. Visualizing chaperone-assisted protein folding

    PubMed Central

    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 CA

    2016-01-01

    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, where 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 novel 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 E. coli chaperone Spy. This study resulted in a series of snapshots depicting the various folding states of Im7 while bound to Spy. The ensemble shows that Spy-associated Im7 samples conformations ranging from unfolded to partially folded and native-like states, and reveals how a substrate can explore its folding landscape while bound to a chaperone. PMID:27239796

  3. Visualizing chaperone-assisted protein folding

    SciTech Connect

    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.

    2016-05-30

    We present that 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.

  4. Visualizing chaperone-assisted protein folding

    DOE PAGES

    Horowitz, Scott; Salmon, Loïc; Koldewey, Philipp; ...

    2016-05-30

    We present that 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 chaperonemore » 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.« less

  5. Engineering the protein folding landscape in gram-negative bacteria.

    PubMed

    Mansell, Thomas J; Fisher, Adam C; DeLisa, Matthew P

    2008-04-01

    Gram-negative bacteria, especially Escherichia coli, are often the preferred hosts for recombinant protein production because of their fast doubling times, ability to grow to high cell density, propensity for high recombinant protein titers and straightforward protein purification techniques. The utility of simple bacteria in such studies continues to improve as a result of an ever-increasing body of knowledge regarding their native protein biogenesis machinery. From translation on the ribosome to interaction with cytosolic accessory factors to transport across the inner membrane into the periplasmic space, cellular proteins interact with many different types of cellular machinery and each interaction can have a profound effect on the protein folding process. This review addresses key aspects of cellular protein folding, solubility and expression in E. coli with particular focus on the elegant biological machinery that orchestrates the transition from nascent polypeptide to folded, functional protein. Specifically highlighted are a variety of different techniques to intentionally alter the folding environment of the cell as a means to understand and engineer intracellular protein folding and stability.

  6. GroEL-mediated protein folding.

    PubMed Central

    Fenton, W. A.; Horwich, A. L.

    1997-01-01

    I. Architecture of GroEL and GroES and the reaction pathway A. Architecture of the chaperonins B. Reaction pathway of GroEL-GroES-mediated folding II. Polypeptide binding A. A parallel network of chaperones binding polypeptides in vivo B. Polypeptide binding in vitro 1. Role of hydrophobicity in recognition 2. Homologous proteins with differing recognition-differences in primary structure versus effects on folding pathway 3. Conformations recognized by GroEL a. Refolding studies b. Binding of metastable intermediates c. Conformations while stably bound at GroEL 4. Binding constants and rates of association 5. Conformational changes in the substrate protein associated with binding by GroEL a. Observations b. Kinetic versus thermodynamic action of GroEL in mediating unfolding c. Crossing the energy landscape in the presence of GroEL III. ATP binding and hydrolysis-driving the reaction cycle IV. GroEL-GroES-polypeptide ternary complexes-the folding-active cis complex A. Cis and trans ternary complexes B. Symmetric complexes C. The folding-active intermediate of a chaperonin reaction-cis ternary complex D. The role of the cis space in the folding reaction E. Folding governed by a "timer" mechanism F. Release of nonnative polypeptides during the GroEL-GroES reaction G. Release of both native and nonnative forms under physiologic conditions H. A role for ATP binding, as well as hydrolysis, in the folding cycle V. Concluding remarks. PMID:9098884

  7. Fast-Folding Proteins under Stress

    PubMed Central

    Dave, Kapil; Gruebele, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Proteins are subject to a variety of stresses in biological organisms, including pressure and temperature, which are the easiest stresses to simulate by molecular dynamics. We discuss the effect of pressure and thermal stress on very fast folding model proteins, whose in vitro folding can be fully simulated on computers and compared with experiments. We then discuss experiments that can be used to subject proteins to low and high temperature unfolding, as well as low and high pressure unfolding. Pressure and temperature are prototypical perturbations that illustrate how close many proteins are to instability, a property that cells can exploit to control protein function. We conclude by reviewing some recent in-cell experiments, and progress being made in simulating and measuring protein stability and function inside live cells. PMID:26231095

  8. Optimum folding pathways for growing protein chains.

    PubMed

    Senturk, Serife; Baday, Sefer; Arkun, Yaman; Erman, Burak

    2007-11-26

    The folding of a protein is studied as it grows residue by residue from the N-terminus and enters an environment that stabilizes the folded state. This mode of folding of a growing chain is different from refolding where the full chain folds from a disordered initial configuration to the native state. We propose a sequential dynamic optimization method that computes the evolution of optimum folding pathways as amino acid residues are added to the peptide chain one by one. The dynamic optimization formulation is deterministic and uses Newton's equations of motion and a Go-type potential that establishes the native contacts and excluded volume effects. The method predicts the optimal energy-minimizing path among all the alternative feasible pathways. As two examples, the folding of the chicken villin headpiece, a 36-residue protein, and chymotrypsin inhibitor 2 (CI2), a 64-residue protein, are studied. Results on the villin headpiece show significant differences from the refolding of the same chain studied previously. Results on CI2 mostly agree with the results of refolding experiments and computational work.

  9. Folding mechanism of proteins and protein-like polymers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pande, Vijay

    2000-03-01

    Proteins are amazing biomaterials: they both perform biological activity as well as assemble themselves. In order to understand how proteins fold and to design synthetic polymers with protein-like properties, we need to understand how these molecules assemble themselves. I will discuss results from recent simulations of proteins and protein-like polymers in order to examine which is common and potentially ``universal'' about the folding (self-assembly) mechanism. These results may shed light on protein and protein-like polymer design, experiments on folding, as well as areas in which misfolding may be important such as many neurodegenerative diseases.

  10. 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

  11. Ubiquitylation Directly Induces Fold Destabilization of Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Morimoto, Daichi; Walinda, Erik; Fukada, Harumi; Sugase, Kenji; Shirakawa, Masahiro

    2016-01-01

    Ubiquitin is a common post-translational modifier and its conjugation is a key signal for proteolysis by the proteasome. Because the molecular mass of ubiquitin is larger than that of other modifiers such as phosphate, acetyl, or methyl groups, ubiquitylation not only influences biochemical signaling, but also may exert physical effects on its substrate proteins by increasing molecular volume and altering shape anisotropy. Here we show that ubiquitylation destabilizes the fold of two proteins, FKBP12 and FABP4, and that elongation of the conjugated ubiquitin chains further enhances this destabilization effect. Moreover, NMR relaxation analysis shows that ubiquitylation induces characteristic structural fluctuations in the backbone of both proteins. These results suggest that the ubiquitylation-driven structural fluctuations lead to fold destabilization of its substrate proteins. Thus, physical destabilization by ubiquitylation may facilitate protein degradation by the proteasome. PMID:27991582

  12. Computational and theoretical methods for protein folding.

    PubMed

    Compiani, Mario; Capriotti, Emidio

    2013-12-03

    A computational approach is essential whenever the complexity of the process under study is such that direct theoretical or experimental approaches are not viable. This is the case for protein folding, for which a significant amount of data are being collected. This paper reports on the essential role of in silico methods and the unprecedented interplay of computational and theoretical approaches, which is a defining point of the interdisciplinary investigations of the protein folding process. Besides giving an overview of the available computational methods and tools, we argue that computation plays not merely an ancillary role but has a more constructive function in that computational work may precede theory and experiments. More precisely, computation can provide the primary conceptual clues to inspire subsequent theoretical and experimental work even in a case where no preexisting evidence or theoretical frameworks are available. This is cogently manifested in the application of machine learning methods to come to grips with the folding dynamics. These close relationships suggested complementing the review of computational methods within the appropriate theoretical context to provide a self-contained outlook of the basic concepts that have converged into a unified description of folding and have grown in a synergic relationship with their computational counterpart. Finally, the advantages and limitations of current computational methodologies are discussed to show how the smart analysis of large amounts of data and the development of more effective algorithms can improve our understanding of protein folding.

  13. 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.

  14. Nucleation-based prediction of the protein folding rate and its correlation with the folding nucleus size.

    PubMed

    Galzitskaya, Oxana V; Glyakina, Anna V

    2012-12-01

    The problem of protein self-organization is in the focus of current molecular biology studies. Although the general principles are understood, many details remain unclear. Specifically, protein folding rates are of interest because they dictate the rate of protein aggregation which underlies many human diseases. Here we offer predictions of protein folding rates and their correlation with folding nucleus sizes. We calculated free energies of the transition state and sizes of folding nuclei for 84 proteins and peptides whose other parameters were measured at the point of thermodynamic equilibrium between their unfolded and native states. We used the dynamic programming method where each residue was considered to be either as folded as in its native state or completely disordered. The calculated and measured folding rates showed a good correlation at the temperature mid-transition point (the correlation coefficient was 0.75). Also, we pioneered in demonstrating a moderate (-0.57) correlation coefficient between the calculated sizes of folding nuclei and the folding rates. Predictions made by different methods were compared. The established good correlation between the estimated free energy barrier and the experimentally found folding rate of each studied protein/peptide indicates that our model gives reliable results for the considered data set. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Folding of the Tau Protein on Microtubules.

    PubMed

    Kadavath, Harindranath; Jaremko, Mariusz; Jaremko, Łukasz; Biernat, Jacek; Mandelkow, Eckhard; Zweckstetter, Markus

    2015-08-24

    Microtubules are regulated by microtubule-associated proteins. However, little is known about the structure of microtubule-associated proteins in complex with microtubules. Herein we show that the microtubule-associated protein Tau, which is intrinsically disordered in solution, locally folds into a stable structure upon binding to microtubules. While Tau is highly flexible in solution and adopts a β-sheet structure in amyloid fibrils, in complex with microtubules the conserved hexapeptides at the beginning of the Tau repeats two and three convert into a hairpin conformation. Thus, binding to microtubules stabilizes a unique conformation in Tau. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  16. Energy landscape in protein folding and unfolding

    PubMed Central

    Mallamace, Francesco; Corsaro, Carmelo; Mallamace, Domenico; Vasi, Sebastiano; Vasi, Cirino; Baglioni, Piero; Buldyrev, Sergey V.; Chen, Sow-Hsin; Stanley, H. Eugene

    2016-01-01

    We use 1H NMR to probe the energy landscape in the protein folding and unfolding process. Using the scheme ⇄ reversible unfolded (intermediate) → irreversible unfolded (denatured) state, we study the thermal denaturation of hydrated lysozyme that occurs when the temperature is increased. Using thermal cycles in the range 295protein energy surface, we observe that the hydrophilic (the amide NH) and hydrophobic (methyl CH3 and methine CH) peptide groups evolve and exhibit different behaviors. We also discuss the role of water and hydrogen bonding in the protein configurational stability. PMID:26957601

  17. Energy landscape in protein folding and unfolding.

    PubMed

    Mallamace, Francesco; Corsaro, Carmelo; Mallamace, Domenico; Vasi, Sebastiano; Vasi, Cirino; Baglioni, Piero; Buldyrev, Sergey V; Chen, Sow-Hsin; Stanley, H Eugene

    2016-03-22

    We use (1)H NMR to probe the energy landscape in the protein folding and unfolding process. Using the scheme ⇄ reversible unfolded (intermediate) → irreversible unfolded (denatured) state, we study the thermal denaturation of hydrated lysozyme that occurs when the temperature is increased. Using thermal cycles in the range 295 < T < 365 K and following different trajectories along the protein energy surface, we observe that the hydrophilic (the amide NH) and hydrophobic (methyl CH3 and methine CH) peptide groups evolve and exhibit different behaviors. We also discuss the role of water and hydrogen bonding in the protein configurational stability.

  18. Communication: Folding of glycosylated proteins under confinement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shental-Bechor, Dalit; Levy, Yaakov

    2011-10-01

    Conjugating flexible polymers (such as oligosaccharides) to proteins or confining a protein in a restricted volume often increases protein thermal stability. In this communication, we investigate the interplay between conjugation and confinement which is not trivial as the magnitude and the mechanism of stabilization are different in each instance. Using coarse-grained computational approach the folding biophysics is studied when the protein is placed in a sphere of variable radius and is conjugated to 0-6 mono- or penta-saccharides. We observe a synergistic effect on thermal stability when short oligosaccharides are attached and the modified protein is confined in a small cage. However, when large oligosaccharides are added, a conflict between confinement and glycosylation arises as the stabilizing effect of the cage is dramatically reduced and it is almost impossible to further stabilize the protein beyond the mild stabilization induced by the sugars.

  19. Single-Molecule Protein Folding Experiments Using High-Precision Optical Tweezers.

    PubMed

    Jiao, Junyi; Rebane, Aleksander A; Ma, Lu; Zhang, Yongli

    2017-01-01

    How proteins fold from linear chains of amino acids to delicate three-dimensional structures remains a fundamental biological problem. Single-molecule manipulation based on high-resolution optical tweezers (OT) provides a powerful approach to study protein folding with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. In this method, a single protein or protein complex is tethered between two beads confined in optical traps and pulled. Protein unfolding induced by the mechanical force is counteracted by the spontaneous folding of the protein, reaching a dynamic equilibrium at a characteristic force and rate. The transition is monitored by the accompanying extension change of the protein and used to derive conformations and energies of folding intermediates and their associated transition kinetics. Here, we provide general strategies and detailed protocols to study folding of proteins and protein complexes using optical tweezers, including sample preparation, DNA-protein conjugation and methods of data analysis to extract folding energies and rates from the single-molecule measurements.

  20. Using the folding landscapes of proteins to understand protein function.

    PubMed

    Giri Rao, V V Hemanth; Gosavi, Shachi

    2016-02-01

    Proteins fold on a biologically-relevant timescale because of a funnel-shaped energy landscape. This landscape is sculpted through evolution by selecting amino-acid sequences that stabilize native interactions while suppressing stable non-native interactions that occur during folding. However, there is strong evolutionary selection for functional residues and these cannot be chosen to optimize folding. Their presence impacts the folding energy landscape in a variety of ways. Here, we survey the effects of functional residues on folding by providing several examples. We then review how such effects can be detected computationally and be used as assays for protein function. Overall, an understanding of how functional residues modulate folding should provide insights into the design of natural proteins and their homeostasis. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Folding mechanism of a multiple independently-folding domain protein: double B domain of protein A.

    PubMed

    Arora, Pooja; Hammes, Gordon G; Oas, Terrence G

    2006-10-10

    The antibody binding properties of staphylococcal protein A (SpA) can be attributed to the presence of five highly homologous domains (E, D, A, B, and C). Although the folding of the B domain of protein A (BdpA) is well-characterized, the folding behavior of this domain in the context of full-length SpA in the cell remains unexplored. The sequence of the B domain is 89 and 91% identical to those of domains A and C, respectively. We have fused B domain sequences (BBdpA) as a close approximation of the A-B or B-C portion of SpA. Circular dichroism and fluorescence-detected denaturation curves of BBdpA are experimentally indistinguishable from those of BdpA. The rate constants for folding and unfolding from NMR line shape analysis for the single- and double-domain proteins are the same within experimental uncertainties (+/-20%). These results support the designation of SpA as a multiple independently-folding domain (MIFD) protein. We develop a mathematical model that describes the folding thermodynamics and kinetics of MIFD proteins. The model depicts MIFD protein folding and unfolding as a parallel network and explicitly calculates the flux through all parallel pathways. These fluxes are combined to give a complete description of the global thermodynamics and kinetics of the folding and unfolding of MIFD proteins. The global rates for complete folding and unfolding of a MIFD protein and those of the individual domains depend on the stability of the protein. We show that the global unfolding rate of a MIFD protein may be many orders of magnitude slower than that of the constituent domains.

  4. 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.

  5. Single-Molecule Protein Folding Experiments Using High-Precision Optical Tweezers

    PubMed Central

    Jiao, Junyi; Rebane, Aleksander A.; Ma, Lu; Zhang, Yongli

    2017-01-01

    Summary How proteins fold from linear chains of amino acids to delicate three dimensional structures remains a fundamental biological problem. Single-molecule manipulation based on high-resolution optical tweezers (OT) provides a powerful approach to study protein folding with unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution. In this method, a single protein or protein complex is tethered between two beads confined in optical traps and pulled. Protein unfolding induced by the mechanical force is counteracted by the spontaneous folding of the protein, reaching a dynamic equilibrium at a characteristic force and rate. The transition is monitored by the accompanying extension change of the protein and used to derive conformations and energies of folding intermediates and their associated transition kinetics. Here, we provide general strategies and detailed protocols to study folding of proteins and protein complexes using optical tweezers, including methods of data analysis to extract folding energies and rates from the single-molecule measurements. PMID:27844436

  6. Exploring the Levinthal limit in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Cruzeiro, Leonor; Degrève, Léo

    2017-03-01

    According to the thermodynamic hypothesis, the native state of proteins is uniquely defined by their amino acid sequence. On the other hand, according to Levinthal, the native state is just a local minimum of the free energy and a given amino acid sequence, in the same thermodynamic conditions, can assume many, very different structures that are as thermodynamically stable as the native state. This is the Levinthal limit explored in this work. Using computer simulations, we compare the interactions that stabilize the native state of four different proteins with those that stabilize three non-native states of each protein and find that the nature of the interactions is very similar for all such 16 conformers. Furthermore, an enhancement of the degree of fluctuation of the non-native conformers can be explained by an insufficient relaxation to their local free energy minimum. These results favor Levinthal's hypothesis that protein folding is a kinetic non-equilibrium process.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mori, Toshifumi; Saito, Shinji

    2015-04-01

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Deletional Protein Engineering Based on Stable Fold

    PubMed Central

    Sokalingam, Sriram; Yun, Hyungdon; Lee, Sun-Gu

    2012-01-01

    Diversification of protein sequence-structure space is a major concern in protein engineering. Deletion mutagenesis can generate a protein sequence-structure space different from substitution mutagenesis mediated space, but it has not been widely used in protein engineering compared to substitution mutagenesis, because it causes a relatively huge range of structural perturbations of target proteins which often inactivates the proteins. In this study, we demonstrate that, using green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a model system, the drawback of the deletional protein engineering can be overcome by employing the protein structure with high stability. The systematic dissection of N-terminal, C-terminal and internal sequences of GFPs with two different stabilities showed that GFP with high stability (s-GFP), was more tolerant to the elimination of amino acids compared to a GFP with normal stability (n-GFP). The deletion studies of s-GFP enabled us to achieve three interesting variants viz. s-DL4, s-N14, and s-C225, which could not been obtained from n-GFP. The deletion of 191–196 loop sequences led to the variant s-DL4 that was expressed predominantly as insoluble form but mostly active. The s-N14 and s-C225 are the variants without the amino acid residues involving secondary structures around N- and C-terminals of GFP fold respectively, exhibiting comparable biophysical properties of the n-GFP. Structural analysis of the variants through computational modeling study gave a few structural insights that can explain the spectral properties of the variants. Our study suggests that the protein sequence-structure space of deletion mutants can be more efficiently explored by employing the protein structure with higher stability. PMID:23240034

  10. Computational Solutions to the Protein Folding Problem,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-05-19

    A TRIDENT SCHOLAR oN PROJECT REPORT 0 NO. 223 "Computational Solutions to the Protein Folding Problem" L T -’ ’r i SEP 2 7 1994 ýV UNITED STATES...potential energy function (Chapter II), 25 1 2 2 U = X• k( l 1 -lo) 2+ X.ko (8,-8o) 2+X.-[1l + cos (Pip + )] Equation 4.1 xei (C ¶±~12.4 a where ri, is...iterative process, a set of k >_ 2"t+ l distinct local minima are computed. This can be done with rela- tive ease by using an efficient unconstrained

  11. Energetic Frustrations in Protein Folding at Residue Resolution: A Homologous Simulation Study of Im9 Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Yunxiang; Ming, Dengming

    2014-01-01

    Energetic frustration is becoming an important topic for understanding the mechanisms of protein folding, which is a long-standing big biological problem usually investigated by the free energy landscape theory. Despite the significant advances in probing the effects of folding frustrations on the overall features of protein folding pathways and folding intermediates, detailed characterizations of folding frustrations at an atomic or residue level are still lacking. In addition, how and to what extent folding frustrations interact with protein topology in determining folding mechanisms remains unclear. In this paper, we tried to understand energetic frustrations in the context of protein topology structures or native-contact networks by comparing the energetic frustrations of five homologous Im9 alpha-helix proteins that share very similar topology structures but have a single hydrophilic-to-hydrophobic mutual mutation. The folding simulations were performed using a coarse-grained Gō-like model, while non-native hydrophobic interactions were introduced as energetic frustrations using a Lennard-Jones potential function. Energetic frustrations were then examined at residue level based on φ-value analyses of the transition state ensemble structures and mapped back to native-contact networks. Our calculations show that energetic frustrations have highly heterogeneous influences on the folding of the four helices of the examined structures depending on the local environment of the frustration centers. Also, the closer the introduced frustration is to the center of the native-contact network, the larger the changes in the protein folding. Our findings add a new dimension to the understanding of protein folding the topology determination in that energetic frustrations works closely with native-contact networks to affect the protein folding. PMID:24498176

  12. Distinguishing between sequential and nonsequentially folded proteins: implications for folding and misfolding.

    PubMed Central

    Tsai, C. J.; Maizel, J. V.; Nussinov, R.

    1999-01-01

    We describe here an algorithm for distinguishing sequential from nonsequentially folding proteins. Several experiments have recently suggested that most of the proteins that are synthesized in the eukaryotic cell may fold sequentially. This proposed folding mechanism in vivo is particularly advantageous to the organism. In the absence of chaperones, the probability that a sequentially folding protein will misfold is reduced significantly. The problem we address here is devising a procedure that would differentiate between the two types of folding patterns. Footprints of sequential folding may be found in structures where consecutive fragments of the chain interact with each other. In such cases, the folding complexity may be viewed as being lower. On the other hand, higher folding complexity suggests that at least a portion of the polypeptide backbone folds back upon itself to form three-dimensional (3D) interactions with noncontiguous portion(s) of the chain. Hence, we look at the mechanism of folding of the molecule via analysis of its complexity, that is, through the 3D interactions formed by contiguous segments on the polypeptide chain. To computationally splice the structure into consecutively interacting fragments, we either cut it into compact hydrophobic folding units or into a set of hypothetical, transient, highly populated, contiguous fragments ("building blocks" of the structure). In sequential folding, successive building blocks interact with each other from the amino to the carboxy terminus of the polypeptide chain. Consequently, the results of the parsing differentiate between sequentially vs. nonsequentially folded chains. The automated assessment of the folding complexity provides insight into both the likelihood of misfolding and the kinetic folding rate of the given protein. In terms of the funnel free energy landscape theory, a protein that truly follows the mechanism of sequential folding, in principle, encounters smoother free energy barriers

  13. The effect of surface tethering on the folding of the src-SH3 protein domain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhuang, Zhuoyun; Jewett, Andrew I.; Soto, Patricia; Shea, Joan-Emma

    2009-03-01

    The effect of surface tethering on the folding mechanism of the src-SH3 protein domain was investigated using a coarse-grained Gō-type protein model. The protein was tethered at various locations along the protein chain and the thermodynamics and kinetics of folding were studied using replica exchange and constant temperature Langevin dynamics. Our simulations reveal that tethering in a structured part of the transition state can dramatically alter the folding mechanism, while tethering in an unstructured part leaves the folding mechanism unaltered as compared to bulk folding. Interestingly, there is only modest correlation between the tethering effect on the folding mechanism and its effect on thermodynamic stability and folding rates. We suggest locations on the protein at which tethering could be performed in single-molecule experiments so as to leave the folding mechanism unaltered from the bulk.

  14. Hydrophobic-hydrophilic forces in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Durell, Stewart R; Ben-Naim, Arieh

    2017-08-01

    The process of protein folding is obviously driven by forces exerted on the atoms of the amino-acid chain. These forces arise from interactions with other parts of the protein itself (direct forces), as well as from interactions with the solvent (solvent-induced forces). We present a statistical-mechanical formalism that describes both these direct and indirect, solvent-induced thermodynamic forces on groups of the protein. We focus on 2 kinds of protein groups, commonly referred to as hydrophobic and hydrophilic. Analysis of this result leads to the conclusion that the forces on hydrophilic groups are in general stronger than on hydrophobic groups. This is then tested and verified by a series of molecular dynamics simulations, examining both hydrophobic alkanes of different sizes and hydrophilic moieties represented by polar-neutral hydroxyl groups. The magnitude of the force on assemblies of hydrophilic groups is dependent on their relative orientation: with 2 to 4 times larger forces on groups that are able to form one or more direct hydrogen bonds. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  15. Visualization of Protein Folding Funnels in Lattice Models

    PubMed Central

    Oliveira, Antonio B.; Fatore, Francisco M.; Paulovich, Fernando V.; Oliveira, Osvaldo N.; Leite, Vitor B. P.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding occurs in a very high dimensional phase space with an exponentially large number of states, and according to the energy landscape theory it exhibits a topology resembling a funnel. In this statistical approach, the folding mechanism is unveiled by describing the local minima in an effective one-dimensional representation. Other approaches based on potential energy landscapes address the hierarchical structure of local energy minima through disconnectivity graphs. In this paper, we introduce a metric to describe the distance between any two conformations, which also allows us to go beyond the one-dimensional representation and visualize the folding funnel in 2D and 3D. In this way it is possible to assess the folding process in detail, e.g., by identifying the connectivity between conformations and establishing the paths to reach the native state, in addition to regions where trapping may occur. Unlike the disconnectivity maps method, which is based on the kinetic connections between states, our methodology is based on structural similarities inferred from the new metric. The method was developed in a 27-mer protein lattice model, folded into a 3×3×3 cube. Five sequences were studied and distinct funnels were generated in an analysis restricted to conformations from the transition-state to the native configuration. Consistent with the expected results from the energy landscape theory, folding routes can be visualized to probe different regions of the phase space, as well as determine the difficulty in folding of the distinct sequences. Changes in the landscape due to mutations were visualized, with the comparison between wild and mutated local minima in a single map, which serves to identify different trapping regions. The extension of this approach to more realistic models and its use in combination with other approaches are discussed. PMID:25010343

  16. Estimation of protein folding rate from Monte Carlo simulations and entropy capacity.

    PubMed

    Galzitskaya, Oxana V

    2010-11-01

    The problem of protein self-organization is one of the most important problems of molecular biology nowadays. Despite the recent success in the understanding of general principles of protein folding, details of this process are yet to be elucidated. Moreover, the prediction of protein folding rates has its own practical value due to the fact that aggregation directly depends on the rate of protein folding. The time of folding has been calculated for 67 proteins with known experimental data at the point of thermodynamic equilibrium between unfolded and native states using a Monte Carlo model where each residue is considered to be either folded as in the native state or completely disordered. The times of folding for 67 proteins which reach the native state within the limit of 10(8) Monte Carlo steps are in a good correlation with the experimentally measured folding rate at the mid-transition point (the correlation coefficient is -0.82). Theoretical consideration of a capillarity model for the process of protein folding demonstrates that the difference in the folding rate for proteins sharing more spherical and less spherical folds is the result of differences in the conformational entropy due to a larger surface of the boundary between folded and unfolded phases in the transition state for proteins with more spherical fold. The capillarity model allows us to predict the folding rate at the same level of correlation as by Monte Carlo simulations. The calculated model entropy capacity (conformational entropy per residue divided by the average contact energy per residue) for 67 proteins correlates by about 78% with the experimentally measured folding rate at the mid-transition point.

  17. Osmolyte-induced folding of an intrinsically disordered protein: folding mechanism in the absence of ligand.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yu-Chu; Oas, Terrence G

    2010-06-29

    Understanding the interconversion between thermodynamically distinguishable states present in a protein folding pathway provides not only the kinetics and energetics of protein folding but also insights into the functional roles of these states in biological systems. The protein component of the bacterial RNase P holoenzyme from Bacillus subtilis (P protein) was previously shown to be unfolded in the absence of its cognate RNA or other anionic ligands. P protein was used in this study as a model system to explore general features of intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) folding mechanisms. The use of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), an osmolyte that stabilizes the unliganded folded form of the protein, enabled us to study the folding process of P protein in the absence of ligand. Transient stopped-flow kinetic traces at various final TMAO concentrations exhibited multiphasic kinetics. Equilibrium "cotitration" experiments were performed using both TMAO and urea during the titration to produce a urea-TMAO titration surface of P protein. Both kinetic and equilibrium studies show evidence of a previously undetected intermediate state in the P protein folding process. The intermediate state is significantly populated, and the folding rate constants are relatively slow compared to those of intrinsically folded proteins similar in size and topology. The experiments and analysis described serve as a useful example for mechanistic folding studies of other IDPs.

  18. Progress towards mapping the universe of protein folds

    PubMed Central

    Grant, Alastair; Lee, David; Orengo, Christine

    2004-01-01

    Although the precise aims differ between the various international structural genomics initiatives currently aiming to illuminate the universe of protein folds, many selectively target protein families for which the fold is unknown. How well can the current set of known protein families and folds be used to estimate the total number of folds in nature, and will structural genomics initiatives yield representatives for all the major protein families within a reasonable time scale? PMID:15128436

  19. How the hydrophobic factor drives protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Baldwin, Robert L.; Rose, George D.

    2016-01-01

    How hydrophobicity (HY) drives protein folding is studied. The 1971 Nozaki–Tanford method of measuring HY is modified to use gases as solutes, not crystals, and this makes the method easy to use. Alkanes are found to be much more hydrophobic than rare gases, and the two different kinds of HY are termed intrinsic (rare gases) and extrinsic (alkanes). The HY values of rare gases are proportional to solvent-accessible surface area (ASA), whereas the HY values of alkanes depend on special hydration shells. Earlier work showed that hydration shells produce the hydration energetics of alkanes. Evidence is given here that the transfer energetics of alkanes to cyclohexane [Wolfenden R, Lewis CA, Jr, Yuan Y, Carter CW, Jr (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(24):7484–7488] measure the release of these shells. Alkane shells are stabilized importantly by van der Waals interactions between alkane carbon and water oxygen atoms. Thus, rare gases cannot form this type of shell. The very short (approximately picoseconds) lifetime of the van der Waals interaction probably explains why NMR efforts to detect alkane hydration shells have failed. The close similarity between the sizes of the opposing energetics for forming or releasing alkane shells confirms the presence of these shells on alkanes and supports Kauzmann's 1959 mechanism of protein folding. A space-filling model is given for the hydration shells on linear alkanes. The model reproduces the n values of Jorgensen et al. [Jorgensen WL, Gao J, Ravimohan C (1985) J Phys Chem 89:3470–3473] for the number of waters in alkane hydration shells. PMID:27791131

  20. How the hydrophobic factor drives protein folding.

    PubMed

    Baldwin, Robert L; Rose, George D

    2016-11-01

    How hydrophobicity (HY) drives protein folding is studied. The 1971 Nozaki-Tanford method of measuring HY is modified to use gases as solutes, not crystals, and this makes the method easy to use. Alkanes are found to be much more hydrophobic than rare gases, and the two different kinds of HY are termed intrinsic (rare gases) and extrinsic (alkanes). The HY values of rare gases are proportional to solvent-accessible surface area (ASA), whereas the HY values of alkanes depend on special hydration shells. Earlier work showed that hydration shells produce the hydration energetics of alkanes. Evidence is given here that the transfer energetics of alkanes to cyclohexane [Wolfenden R, Lewis CA, Jr, Yuan Y, Carter CW, Jr (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(24):7484-7488] measure the release of these shells. Alkane shells are stabilized importantly by van der Waals interactions between alkane carbon and water oxygen atoms. Thus, rare gases cannot form this type of shell. The very short (approximately picoseconds) lifetime of the van der Waals interaction probably explains why NMR efforts to detect alkane hydration shells have failed. The close similarity between the sizes of the opposing energetics for forming or releasing alkane shells confirms the presence of these shells on alkanes and supports Kauzmann's 1959 mechanism of protein folding. A space-filling model is given for the hydration shells on linear alkanes. The model reproduces the n values of Jorgensen et al. [Jorgensen WL, Gao J, Ravimohan C (1985) J Phys Chem 89:3470-3473] for the number of waters in alkane hydration shells.

  1. Crystal structure of a defective folding protein

    PubMed Central

    Saul, Frederick A.; Mourez, Michaël; Vulliez-le Normand, Brigitte; Sassoon, Nathalie; Bentley, Graham A.; Betton, Jean-Michel

    2003-01-01

    Maltose-binding protein (MBP or MalE) of Escherichia coli is the periplasmic receptor of the maltose transport system. MalE31, a defective folding mutant of MalE carrying sequence changes Gly 32→Asp and Ile 33→Pro, is either degraded or forms inclusion bodies following its export to the periplasmic compartment. We have shown previously that overexpression of FkpA, a heat-shock periplasmic peptidyl-prolyl isomerase with chaperone activity, suppresses MalE31 misfolding. Here, we have exploited this property to characterize the maltose transport activity of MalE31 in whole cells. MalE31 displays defective transport behavior, even though it retains maltose-binding activity comparable with that of the wild-type protein. Because the mutated residues are in a region on the surface of MalE not identified previously as important for maltose transport, we have solved the crystal structure of MalE31 in the maltose-bound state in order to characterize the effects of these changes. The structure was determined by molecular replacement methods and refined to 1.85 Å resolution. The conformation of MalE31 closely resembles that of wild-type MalE, with very small displacements of the mutated residues located in the loop connecting the first α-helix to the first β-strand. The structural and functional characterization provides experimental evidence that MalE31 can attain a wild-type folded conformation, and suggest that the mutated sites are probably involved in the interactions with the membrane components of the maltose transport system. PMID:12592028

  2. Crystal structure of a defective folding protein.

    PubMed

    Saul, Frederick A; Mourez, Michaël; Vulliez-Le Normand, Brigitte; Sassoon, Nathalie; Bentley, Graham A; Betton, Jean-Michel

    2003-03-01

    Maltose-binding protein (MBP or MalE) of Escherichia coli is the periplasmic receptor of the maltose transport system. MalE31, a defective folding mutant of MalE carrying sequence changes Gly 32-->Asp and Ile 33-->Pro, is either degraded or forms inclusion bodies following its export to the periplasmic compartment. We have shown previously that overexpression of FkpA, a heat-shock periplasmic peptidyl-prolyl isomerase with chaperone activity, suppresses MalE31 misfolding. Here, we have exploited this property to characterize the maltose transport activity of MalE31 in whole cells. MalE31 displays defective transport behavior, even though it retains maltose-binding activity comparable with that of the wild-type protein. Because the mutated residues are in a region on the surface of MalE not identified previously as important for maltose transport, we have solved the crystal structure of MalE31 in the maltose-bound state in order to characterize the effects of these changes. The structure was determined by molecular replacement methods and refined to 1.85 A resolution. The conformation of MalE31 closely resembles that of wild-type MalE, with very small displacements of the mutated residues located in the loop connecting the first alpha-helix to the first beta-strand. The structural and functional characterization provides experimental evidence that MalE31 can attain a wild-type folded conformation, and suggest that the mutated sites are probably involved in the interactions with the membrane components of the maltose transport system.

  3. Understanding the folding-function tradeoff in proteins.

    PubMed

    Gosavi, Shachi

    2013-01-01

    When an amino-acid sequence cannot be optimized for both folding and function, folding can get compromised in favor of function. To understand this tradeoff better, we devise a novel method for extracting the "function-less" folding-motif of a protein fold from a set of structurally similar but functionally diverse proteins. We then obtain the β-trefoil folding-motif, and study its folding using structure-based models and molecular dynamics simulations. CompariA protein sequence serves two purpson with the folding of wild-type β-trefoil proteins shows that function affects folding in two ways: In the slower folding interleukin-1β, binding sites make the fold more complex, increase contact order and slow folding. In the faster folding hisactophilin, residues which could have been part of the folding-motif are used for function. This reduces the density of native contacts in functional regions and increases folding rate. The folding-motif helps identify subtle structural deviations which perturb folding. These may then be used for functional annotation. Further, the folding-motif could potentially be used as a first step in the sequence design of function-less scaffold proteins. Desired function can then be engineered into these scaffolds.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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

  6. 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

  7. On the Role of Entropy in the Protein Folding Process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoppe, Travis

    2011-12-01

    A protein's ultimate function and activity is determined by the unique three-dimensional structure taken by the folding process. Protein malfunction due to misfolding is the culprit of many clinical disorders, such as abnormal protein aggregations. This leads to neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease. We focus on a subset of the folding problem, exploring the role and effects of entropy on the process of protein folding. Four major concepts and models are developed and each pertains to a specific aspect of the folding process: entropic forces, conformational states under crowding, aggregation, and macrostate kinetics from microstate trajectories. The exclusive focus on entropy is well-suited for crowding studies, as many interactions are nonspecific. We show how a stabilizing entropic force can arise purely from the motion of crowders in solution. In addition we are able to make a a quantitative prediction of the crowding effect with an implicit crowding approximation using an aspherical scaled-particle theory. In order to investigate the effects of aggregation, we derive a new operator expansion method to solve the Ising/Potts model with external fields over an arbitrary graph. Here the external fields are representative of the entropic forces. We show that this method reduces the problem of calculating the partition function to the solution of recursion relations. Many of the methods employed are coarse-grained approximations. As such, it is useful to have a viable method for extracting macrostate information from time series data. We develop a method to cluster the microstates into physically meaningful macrostates by grouping similar relaxation times from a transition matrix. Overall, the studied topics allow us to understand deeper the complicated process involving proteins.

  8. 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.

  9. Fold assessment for comparative protein structure modeling

    PubMed Central

    Melo, Francisco; Sali, Andrej

    2007-01-01

    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

  10. 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.

  11. Spin glasses and the statistical mechanics of protein folding.

    PubMed Central

    Bryngelson, J D; Wolynes, P G

    1987-01-01

    The theory of spin glasses was used to study a simple model of protein folding. The phase diagram of the model was calculated, and the results of dynamics calculations are briefly reported. The relation of these results to folding experiments, the relation of these hypotheses to previous protein folding theories, and the implication of these hypotheses for protein folding prediction schemes are discussed. PMID:3478708

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Dual folding pathways of an α /β protein from all-atom ab initio folding simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lei, Hongxing; Wang, Zhi-Xiang; Wu, Chun; Duan, Yong

    2009-10-01

    Successful ab initio folding of proteins with both α-helix and β-sheet requires a delicate balance among a variety of forces in the simulation model, which may explain that the successful folding of any α /β proteins to within experimental error has yet to be reported. Here we demonstrate that it is an achievable goal to fold α /β proteins with a force field emphasizing the balance between the two major secondary structures. Using our newly developed force field, we conducted extensive ab initio folding simulations on an α /β protein full sequence design (FSD) employing both conventional molecular dynamics and replica exchange molecular dynamics in combination with a generalized-Born solvation model. In these simulations, the folding of FSD to the native state with high population (>64.2%) and high fidelity (Cα-Root Mean Square Deviation of 1.29 Å for the most sampled conformation when compared to the experimental structure) was achieved. The folding of FSD was found to follow two pathways. In the major pathway, the folding started from the formation of the helix. In the minor pathway, however, folding of the β-hairpin started first. Further examination revealed that the helix initiated from the C-terminus and propagated toward the N-terminus. The formation of the hydrophobic contacts coincided with the global folding. Therefore the hydrophobic force does not appear to be the driving force of the folding of this protein.

  15. Congenital hypothyroidism mutations affect common folding and trafficking in the α/β-hydrolase fold proteins.

    PubMed

    De Jaco, Antonella; Dubi, Noga; Camp, Shelley; Taylor, Palmer

    2012-12-01

    The α/β-hydrolase fold superfamily of proteins is composed of structurally related members that, despite great diversity in their catalytic, recognition, adhesion and chaperone functions, share a common fold governed by homologous residues and conserved disulfide bridges. Non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms within the α/β-hydrolase fold domain in various family members have been found for congenital endocrine, metabolic and nervous system disorders. By examining the amino acid sequence from the various proteins, mutations were found to be prevalent in conserved residues within the α/β-hydrolase fold of the homologous proteins. This is the case for the thyroglobulin mutations linked to congenital hypothyroidism. To address whether correct folding of the common domain is required for protein export, we inserted the thyroglobulin mutations at homologous positions in two correlated but simpler α/β-hydrolase fold proteins known to be exported to the cell surface: neuroligin3 and acetylcholinesterase. Here we show that these mutations in the cholinesterase homologous region alter the folding properties of the α/β-hydrolase fold domain, which are reflected in defects in protein trafficking, folding and function, and ultimately result in retention of the partially processed proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. Accordingly, mutations at conserved residues may be transferred amongst homologous proteins to produce common processing defects despite disparate functions, protein complexity and tissue-specific expression of the homologous proteins. More importantly, a similar assembly of the α/β-hydrolase fold domain tertiary structure among homologous members of the superfamily is required for correct trafficking of the proteins to their final destination.

  16. Two-state protein-like folding of a homopolymer chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Mark P.; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    Many small proteins fold via a first-order 'all-or-none' transition directly from an expanded coil to a compact native state. Here we study an analogous direct freezing transition from an expanded coil to a compact crystallite for a simple flexible homopolymer. Wang-Landau sampling is used to construct the 1D density of states for square-well chains of length 128. Analysis within both the micro-canonical and canonical ensembles shows that, for a chain with sufficiently short-range interactions, the usual polymer collapse transition is preempted by a direct freezing or 'folding' transition. A 2D free-energy landscape, built via subsequent multi-canonical sampling, reveals a dominant folding pathway over a single free-energy barrier. This barrier separates a high entropy ensemble of unfolded states from a low entropy set of crystallite states and the transition proceeds via the formation of a transition-state folding nucleus. Despite the non-unique homopolymer ground state, the thermodynamics of this direct freezing transition are identical to the thermodynamics of two-state protein folding. The model chain satisfies the van't Hoff calorimetric criterion for two-state folding and an Arrhenius analysis of the folding/unfolding free energy barrier yields a Chevron plot characteristic of small proteins.

  17. Understanding the role of the topology in protein folding by computational inverse folding experiments.

    PubMed

    Mucherino, Antonio; Costantini, Susan; di Serafino, Daniela; D'Apuzzo, Marco; Facchiano, Angelo; Colonna, Giovanni

    2008-08-01

    Recent studies suggest that protein folding should be revisited as the emergent property of a complex system and that the nature allows only a very limited number of folds that seem to be strongly influenced by geometrical properties. In this work we explore the principles underlying this new view and show how helical protein conformations can be obtained starting from simple geometric considerations. We generated a large data set of C-alpha traces made of 65 points, by computationally solving a backbone model that takes into account only topological features of the all-alpha proteins; then, we built corresponding tertiary structures, by using the sequences associated to the crystallographic structures of four small globular all-alpha proteins from PDB, and analysed them in terms of structural and energetic properties. In this way we obtained four poorly populated sets of structures that are reasonably similar to the conformational states typical of the experimental PDB structures. These results show that our computational approach can capture the native topology of all-alpha proteins; furthermore, it generates backbone folds without the influence of the side chains and uses the protein sequence to select a specific fold among the generated folds. This agrees with the recent view that the backbone plays an important role in the protein folding process and that the amino acid sequence chooses its own fold within a limited total number of folds.

  18. Coarse-grained models of protein folding: toy models or predictive tools?

    PubMed

    Clementi, Cecilia

    2008-02-01

    Coarse-grained models are emerging as a practical alternative to all-atom simulations for the characterization of protein folding mechanisms over long time scales. While a decade ago minimalist toy models were mainly designed to test general hypotheses on the principles regulating protein folding, the latest coarse-grained models are increasingly realistic and can be used to characterize quantitatively the detailed folding mechanism of specific proteins. The ability of such models to reproduce the essential features of folding dynamics suggests that each single atomic degree of freedom is not by itself particularly relevant to folding and supports a statistical mechanical approach to characterize folding transitions. When combined with more refined models and with experimental studies, the systematic investigation of protein systems and complexes using coarse-grained models can advance our theoretical understanding of the actual organizing principles that emerge from the complex network of interactions among protein atomic constituents.

  19. 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.

  20. Protein fold classification with genetic algorithms and feature selection.

    PubMed

    Chen, Peng; Liu, Chunmei; Burge, Legand; Mahmood, Mohammad; Southerland, William; Gloster, Clay

    2009-10-01

    Protein fold classification is a key step to predicting protein tertiary structures. This paper proposes a novel approach based on genetic algorithms and feature selection to classifying protein folds. Our dataset is divided into a training dataset and a test dataset. Each individual for the genetic algorithms represents a selection function of the feature vectors of the training dataset. A support vector machine is applied to each individual to evaluate the fitness value (fold classification rate) of each individual. The aim of the genetic algorithms is to search for the best individual that produces the highest fold classification rate. The best individual is then applied to the feature vectors of the test dataset and a support vector machine is built to classify protein folds based on selected features. Our experimental results on Ding and Dubchak's benchmark dataset of 27-class folds show that our approach achieves an accuracy of 71.28%, which outperforms current state-of-the-art protein fold predictors.

  1. Characterization of protein folding by a Φ-value calculation with a statistical-mechanical model

    PubMed Central

    Wako, Hiroshi; Abe, Haruo

    2016-01-01

    The Φ-value analysis approach provides information about transition-state structures along the folding pathway of a protein by measuring the effects of an amino acid mutation on folding kinetics. Here we compared the theoretically calculated Φ values of 27 proteins with their experimentally observed Φ values; the theoretical values were calculated using a simple statistical-mechanical model of protein folding. The theoretically calculated Φ values reflected the corresponding experimentally observed Φ values with reasonable accuracy for many of the proteins, but not for all. The correlation between the theoretically calculated and experimentally observed Φ values strongly depends on whether the protein-folding mechanism assumed in the model holds true in real proteins. In other words, the correlation coefficient can be expected to illuminate the folding mechanisms of proteins, providing the answer to the question of which model more accurately describes protein folding: the framework model or the nucleation-condensation model. In addition, we tried to characterize protein folding with respect to various properties of each protein apart from the size and fold class, such as the free-energy profile, contact-order profile, and sensitivity to the parameters used in the Φ-value calculation. The results showed that any one of these properties alone was not enough to explain protein folding, although each one played a significant role in it. We have confirmed the importance of characterizing protein folding from various perspectives. Our findings have also highlighted that protein folding is highly variable and unique across different proteins, and this should be considered while pursuing a unified theory of protein folding. PMID:28409079

  2. Dependence of Protein Folding Stability and Dynamics on the Density and Composition of Macromolecular Crowders

    PubMed Central

    Mittal, Jeetain; Best, Robert B.

    2010-01-01

    We investigate the effect of macromolecular crowding on protein folding, using purely repulsive crowding particles and a self-organizing polymer model of protein folding. We find that the variation in folding stability with crowder size for typical α-, β-, and α/β-proteins is well described by an adaptation of the scaled particle theory. The native state, the transition state, and the unfolded protein are treated as effective hard spheres, with the folded and transition state radii independent of the size and concentration of the crowders. Remarkably, we find that, as the effective unfolded state radius is very weakly dependent on the crowder concentration, it can also be approximated by a single size. The same model predicts the effect of crowding on the folding barrier and therefore refolding rates with no adjustable parameters. A simple extension of the scaled-particle theory model, assuming additivity, can also describe the behavior of mixtures of crowding particles. PMID:20338853

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-08

    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. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

  4. Novel Protein Folding Pathways for Protein Salvage and Recycling

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-08-26

    Life. The Archaea have many molecular properties that are found universally in modern lineages of both Bacteria and Archaea, and many species are...eukarya or bacteria . In hyperthermophiles, the chaperonin (Cpn60) is the only ATP dependent protein folding complex. It is a 1 mDa molecular machine... fermentation physiology for formate and carbon monoxide. In Fig. 3 below, actual gene replacement and knockouts of the chaperonin HSP60 loci in

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. Ligand-Promoted Protein Folding by Biased Kinetic Partitioning

    PubMed Central

    Hingorani, Karan S.; Metcalf, Matthew C.; Deming, Derrick T.; Garman, Scott C.; Powers, Evan T.; Gierasch, Lila M.

    2017-01-01

    Protein folding in cells occurs in the presence of high concentrations of endogenous binding partners, and exogenous binding partners have been exploited as pharmacological chaperones. A combined mathematical modeling and experimental approach shows that a ligand improves the folding of a destabilized protein by biasing the kinetic partitioning between folding and alternative fates (aggregation or degradation). Computationally predicted inhibition of test protein aggregation and degradation as a function of ligand concentration are validated by experiments in two disparate cellular systems. PMID:28218913

  10. Nonequilibrium single molecule protein folding in a coaxial mixer.

    PubMed

    Hamadani, Kambiz M; Weiss, Shimon

    2008-07-01

    We have developed a continuous-flow mixing device suitable for monitoring bioconformational reactions at the single-molecule level with a response time of approximately 10 ms under single-molecule flow conditions. Its coaxial geometry allows three-dimensional hydrodynamic focusing of sample fluids to diffraction-limited dimensions where diffusional mixing is rapid and efficient. The capillary-based design enables rapid in-lab construction of mixers without the need for expensive lithography-based microfabrication facilities. In-line filtering of sample fluids using granulated silica particles virtually eliminates clogging and extends the lifetime of each device to many months. In this article, to determine both the distance-to-time transfer function and the instrument response function of the device we characterize its fluid flow and mixing properties using both fluorescence cross-correlation spectroscopy velocimetry and finite element fluid dynamics simulations. We then apply the mixer to single molecule FRET protein folding studies of Chymotrypsin Inhibitor protein 2. By transiently populating the unfolded state of Chymotrypsin Inhibitor Protein 2 (CI2) under nonequilibrium in vitro refolding conditions, we spatially and temporally resolve the denaturant-dependent nonspecific collapse of the unfolded state from the barrier-limited folding transition of CI2. Our results are consistent with previous CI2 mixing results that found evidence for a heterogeneous unfolded state consisting of cis- and trans-proline conformers.

  11. Atom-by-atom analysis of global downhill protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sadqi, Mourad; Fushman, David; Muñoz, Victor

    2006-07-01

    Protein folding is an inherently complex process involving coordination of the intricate networks of weak interactions that stabilize native three-dimensional structures. In the conventional paradigm, simple protein structures are assumed to fold in an all-or-none process that is inaccessible to experiment. Existing experimental methods therefore probe folding mechanisms indirectly. A widely used approach interprets changes in protein stability and/or folding kinetics, induced by engineered mutations, in terms of the structure of the native protein. In addition to limitations in connecting energetics with structure, mutational methods have significant experimental uncertainties and are unable to map complex networks of interactions. In contrast, analytical theory predicts small barriers to folding and the possibility of downhill folding. These theoretical predictions have been confirmed experimentally in recent years, including the observation of global downhill folding. However, a key remaining question is whether downhill folding can indeed lead to the high-resolution analysis of protein folding processes. Here we show, with the use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), that the downhill protein BBL from Escherichia coli unfolds atom by atom starting from a defined three-dimensional structure. Thermal unfolding data on 158 backbone and side-chain protons out of a total of 204 provide a detailed view of the structural events during folding. This view confirms the statistical nature of folding, and exposes the interplay between hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic forces, backbone conformation and side-chain entropy. From the data we also obtain a map of the interaction network in this protein, which reveals the source of folding cooperativity. Our approach can be extended to other proteins with marginal barriers (less than 3RT), providing a new tool for the study of protein folding.

  12. 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

    2015-09-08

    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. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. 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

  14. Thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Demetrius, Lloyd

    2002-08-07

    This article appeals to an evolutionary model which postulates that primordial proteins were described by small polypeptide chains which (i) lack disulfide bridges, and (ii) display slow folding rates with multi-state kinetics, to determine relations between structural properties of proteins and their folding kinetics. We parameterize the energy landscape of proteins in terms of thermodynamic activation variables. The model studies evolutionary changes in these thermodynamic parameters, and we invoke relations between these activation variables and structural properties of the protein to predict the following correspondence between protein structure and folding kinetics. 1. Proteins with inter- and intra-chain disulfide bridges: large variability in both folding rates and stability of intermediates, multi-state kinetics. 2. Proteins which lack inter and intra-chain disulfide bridges. 2.1 Single-domain chains: fast folding rates; unstable intermediates; two-state kinetics. 2.2 Multi-domain monomers: intermediate rates; metastable intermediates; multi-state kinetics. 2.3 Multi-domain oligomers: slow rates; metastable intermediates; multi-state kinetics. The evolutionary model thus provides a kinetic characterization of one important subfamily of proteins which we describe by the following properties: Folding dynamics of single-domain proteins which lack disulfide bridges are described by two-state kinetics. Folding rate of this class of proteins is positively correlated with the thermodynamic stability of the folded state.

  15. Dynamics of equilibrium folding and unfolding transitions of titin immunoglobulin domain under constant forces.

    PubMed

    Chen, Hu; Yuan, Guohua; Winardhi, Ricksen S; Yao, Mingxi; Popa, Ionel; Fernandez, Julio M; Yan, Jie

    2015-03-18

    The mechanical stability of force-bearing proteins is crucial for their functions. However, slow transition rates of complex protein domains have made it challenging to investigate their equilibrium force-dependent structural transitions. Using ultra stable magnetic tweezers, we report the first equilibrium single-molecule force manipulation study of the classic titin I27 immunoglobulin domain. We found that individual I27 in a tandem repeat unfold/fold independently. We obtained the force-dependent free energy difference between unfolded and folded I27 and determined the critical force (∼5.4 pN) at which unfolding and folding have equal probability. We also determined the force-dependent free energy landscape of unfolding/folding transitions based on measurement of the free energy cost of unfolding. In addition to providing insights into the force-dependent structural transitions of titin I27, our results suggest that the conformations of titin immunoglobulin domains can be significantly altered during low force, long duration muscle stretching.

  16. 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.

  17. Designing pH induced fold switch in proteins.

    PubMed

    Baruah, Anupaul; Biswas, Parbati

    2015-05-14

    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.

  18. Sampling Kinetic Protein Folding Pathways using All-Atom Models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bolhuis, P. G.

    This chapter summarizes several computational strategies to study the kinetics of two-state protein folding using all atom models. After explaining the background of two state folding using energy landscapes I introduce common protein models and computational tools to study folding thermodynamics and kinetics. Free energy landscapes are able to capture the thermodynamics of two-state protein folding, and several methods for efficient sampling of these landscapes are presented. An accurate estimate of folding kinetics, the main topic of this chapter, is more difficult to achieve. I argue that path sampling methods are well suited to overcome the problems connected to the sampling of folding kinetics. Some of the major issues are illustrated in the case study on the folding of the GB1 hairpin.

  19. Evolution, Energy Landscapes and the Paradoxes of Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Wolynes, Peter G.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding has been viewed as a difficult problem of molecular self-organization. The search problem involved in folding however has been simplified through the evolution of folding energy landscapes that are funneled. The funnel hypothesis can be quantified using energy landscape theory based on the minimal frustration principle. Strong quantitative predictions that follow from energy landscape theory have been widely confirmed both through laboratory folding experiments and from detailed simulations. Energy landscape ideas also have allowed successful protein structure prediction algorithms to be developed. The selection constraint of having funneled folding landscapes has left its imprint on the sequences of existing protein structural families. Quantitative analysis of co-evolution patterns allows us to infer the statistical characteristics of the folding landscape. These turn out to be consistent with what has been obtained from laboratory physicochemical folding experiments signalling a beautiful confluence of genomics and chemical physics. PMID:25530262

  20. 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.

  1. Toward understanding driving forces in membrane protein folding.

    PubMed

    Hong, Heedeok

    2014-12-15

    α-Helical membrane proteins are largely composed of nonpolar residues that are embedded in the lipid bilayer. An enigma in the folding of membrane proteins is how a polypeptide chain can be condensed into the compact folded state in the environment where the hydrophobic effect cannot strongly drive molecular interactions. Probably other forces such as van der Waals packing, hydrogen bonding, and weakly polar interactions, which are regarded less important in the folding of water-soluble proteins, should emerge. However, it is not clearly understood how those individual forces operate and how they are balanced for stabilizing membrane proteins. Studying this problem is not a trivial task mainly because of the methodological challenges in controlling the reversible folding of membrane proteins in the lipid bilayer. Overcoming the hurdles, meaningful progress has been made in the field in the last few decades. This review will focus on recent studies tackling the problem of driving forces in membrane protein folding.

  2. Untangling the Influence of a Protein Knot on Folding.

    PubMed

    Capraro, Dominique T; Jennings, Patricia A

    2016-03-08

    Entanglement and knots occur across all aspects of the physical world. Despite the common belief that knots are too complicated for incorporation into proteins, knots have been identified in the native fold of a growing number of proteins. The discovery of proteins with this unique backbone characteristic has challenged the preconceptions about the complexity of biological structures, as well as current folding theories. Given the intricacies of the knotted geometry, the interplay between a protein's fold, structure, and function is of particular interest. Interestingly, for most of these proteins, the knotted region appears critical both in folding and function, although full understanding of these contributions is still incomplete. Here, we experimentally reveal the impact of the knot on the landscape, the origin of the bistable nature of the knotted protein, and broaden the view of knot formation as uniquely decoupled from folding.

  3. Protein-like folding and free energy landscape of a homopolymer chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Mark; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    2011-03-01

    Many small proteins fold via a first-order ``all-or-none'' transition directly from an expanded coil to a compact native state. We have recently reported an analogous direct coil-to-crystallite transition for a flexible homopolymer. Wang-Landau sampling was used to construct the 1D density of states for square-well chains up to length 256 and a microcanonical analysis shows that for short-range interactions the usual polymer collapse transition is preempted by a direct freezing transition. A 2D configurational probability landscape, built via multi-canonical sampling, reveals a dominant folding pathway and an inherent configurational barrier to folding. Despite the non-unique homopolymer ground state, the thermodynamics of this direct freezing transition are identical to those of two-state protein folding. Homopolymer folding proceeds over a free energy barrier via a transition state folding nucleus, displays a protein-like Chevron plot, and satisfies the van't Hoff two-state criterion. Funding: NSF DMR-0804370, DFG SFB-625/A3.

  4. Protein-like folding and free energy landscape of a homopolymer chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Mark; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    2011-04-01

    Many small proteins fold via a first-order "all-or-none" transition directly from an expanded coil to a compact native state. We have recently reported an analogous direct coil-to-crystallite transition for a flexible homopolymer [1]. Wang-Landau sampling was used to construct the 1D density of states for square-well chains up to length 256 and a microcanonical analysis shows that for short-range interactions the usual polymer collapse transition is preempted by a direct freezing transition. A 2D configurational probability landscape, built via multi-canonical sampling, reveals a dominant folding pathway and an inherent configurational barrier to folding. Despite the non-unique homopolymer ground state, the thermodynamics of this direct freezing transition are identical to those of two-state protein folding. Homopolymer folding proceeds over a free energy barrier via a transition state folding nucleus, displays a protein-like Chevron plot, and satisfies the van't Hoff two-state criterion.[4pt] [1] Phys. Rev. E 79, 050801(R) (2009); J. Chem. Phys. 131, 114907 (2009).

  5. 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.

  6. Folding of multidomain proteins: biophysical consequences of tethering even in apparently independent folding.

    PubMed

    Arviv, Oshrit; Levy, Yaakov

    2012-12-01

    Most eukaryotic and a substantial fraction of prokaryotic proteins are composed of more than one domain. The tethering of these evolutionary, structural, and functional units raises, among others, questions regarding the folding process of conjugated domains. Studying the folding of multidomain proteins in silico enables one to identify and isolate the tethering-induced biophysical determinants that govern crosstalks generated between neighboring domains. For this purpose, we carried out coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of two two-domain constructs from the immunoglobulin-like β-sandwich fold. Each of these was experimentally shown to behave as the "sum of its parts," that is, the thermodynamic and kinetic folding behavior of the constituent domains of these constructs seems to occur independently, with the folding of each domain uncoupled from the folding of its partner in the two-domain construct. We show that the properties of the individual domains can be significantly affected by conjugation to another domain. The tethering may be accompanied by stabilizing as well as destabilizing factors whose magnitude depends on the size of the interface, the length, and the flexibility of the linker, and the relative stability of the domains. Accordingly, the folding of a multidomain protein should not be viewed as the sum of the folding patterns of each of its parts, but rather, it involves abrogating several effects that lead to this outcome. An imbalance between these effects may result in either stabilization or destabilization owing to the tethering. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. ProFold: Protein Fold Classification with Additional Structural Features and a Novel Ensemble Classifier

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Protein fold classification plays an important role in both protein functional analysis and drug design. The number of proteins in PDB is very large, but only a very small part is categorized and stored in the SCOPe database. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an efficient method for protein fold classification. In recent years, a variety of classification methods have been used in many protein fold classification studies. In this study, we propose a novel classification method called proFold. We import protein tertiary structure in the period of feature extraction and employ a novel ensemble strategy in the period of classifier training. Compared with existing similar ensemble classifiers using the same widely used dataset (DD-dataset), proFold achieves 76.2% overall accuracy. Another two commonly used datasets, EDD-dataset and TG-dataset, are also tested, of which the accuracies are 93.2% and 94.3%, higher than the existing methods. ProFold is available to the public as a web-server. PMID:27660761

  10. All-or-none protein-like folding of a homopolymer chain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Mark; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    2009-10-01

    Many small proteins fold via a first-order ``all-or-none'' transition directly from an expanded coil to a compact native state. Here we report an analogous direct freezing transition from an expanded coil to a compact crystallite for a simple flexible homopolymer. Wang-Landau sampling is used to construct the complete density of states for square-well chains up to length 256. Analysis within both the microcanonical and canonical ensembles shows that, for a chain with sufficiently short-range interactions, the usual polymer collapse transition is preempted by a direct freezing transition. Despite the non-unique homopolymer ground state, the thermodynamics of this direct freezing transition are identical to the thermodynamics of two-state protein folding. A free energy barrier separates a high entropy ensemble of unfolded states from a low entropy set of crystallite states and the transition proceeds via the formation of a transition-state folding nucleus. An Arrhenius analysis of the folding/unfolding free energy barrier yields a Chevron plot characteristic of proteins and the model chain satisfies the van't Hoff calorimetric criterion for two-state folding.

  11. Simulations of the protein folding process using topology-based models depend on the experimental structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prieto, Lidia; Rey, Antonio

    2008-09-01

    Topology-based potentials (also known as Gō-type models) have been widely used in the study of the protein folding problem. When a topology-based potential is applied, the structure of the native state of the protein considered has to be known in advance. This fact gives to these models a semiempirical character, and therefore the quality of the simulation results obtained for the folding transition relies, among other factors, on the accuracy of the experimental structural data employed. In this work, we use a topology-based potential to carry out folding simulations of a protein whose structure has been determined both with NMR spectroscopy and x-ray crystallography. This way, we have been able to establish to which extent the differences in the topologies of the two experimental structures, easily ignored in a standard structural analysis for this protein, affect the thermodynamic characteristics of the folding transition defined in the simulations.

  12. Role of local and nonlocal interactions in folding and misfolding of globular proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, Adesh; Baruah, Anupaul; Biswas, Parbati

    2017-02-01

    A Monte Carlo simulation based sequence design method is proposed to study the role of the local and the nonlocal interactions with varying secondary structure content in protein folding, misfolding and unfolding. A statistical potential is developed from the compilation of a data set of proteins, which accounts for the respective contribution of local and the nonlocal interactions. Sequences are designed through a combination of positive and negative design by a Monte Carlo simulation in the sequence space. The weights of the local and the nonlocal interactions are tuned appropriately to study the role of the local and the nonlocal interactions in the folding, unfolding and misfolding of the designed sequences. Results suggest that the nonlocal interactions are the primary determinant of protein folding while the local interactions may be required but not always necessary. The nonlocal interactions mainly guide the polypeptide chain to form compact structures but do not differentiate between the native-like conformations, while the local interactions stabilize the target conformation against the native-like competing conformations. The study concludes that the local interactions govern the fold-misfold transition, while the nonlocal interactions regulate the fold-unfold transition of proteins. However, for proteins with predominantly β-sheet content, the nonlocal interactions control both fold-misfold and fold-unfold transitions.

  13. Proteins with highly similar native folds can show vastly dissimilar folding behavior when desolvated.

    PubMed

    Schennach, Moritz; Breuker, Kathrin

    2014-01-03

    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. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

  14. 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.

  15. Folding pathways of proteins with increasing degree of sequence identities but different structure and function.

    PubMed

    Giri, Rajanish; Morrone, Angela; Travaglini-Allocatelli, Carlo; Jemth, Per; Brunori, Maurizio; Gianni, Stefano

    2012-10-30

    Much experimental work has been devoted in comparing the folding behavior of proteins sharing the same fold but different sequence. The recent design of proteins displaying very high sequence identities but different 3D structure allows the unique opportunity to address the protein-folding problem from a complementary perspective. Here we explored by Φ-value analysis the pathways of folding of three different heteromorphic pairs, displaying increasingly high-sequence identity (namely, 30%, 77%, and 88%), but different structures called G(A) (a 3-α helix fold) and G(B) (an α/β fold). The analysis, based on 132 site-directed mutants, is fully consistent with the idea that protein topology is committed very early along the pathway of folding. Furthermore, data reveals that when folding approaches a perfect two-state scenario, as in the case of the G(A) domains, the structural features of the transition state appear very robust to changes in sequence composition. On the other hand, when folding is more complex and multistate, as for the G(B)s, there are alternative nuclei or accessible pathways that can be alternatively stabilized by altering the primary structure. The implications of our results in the light of previous work on the folding of different members belonging to the same protein family are discussed.

  16. There and back again: Two views on the protein folding puzzle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finkelstein, Alexei V.; Badretdin, Azat J.; Galzitskaya, Oxana V.; Ivankov, Dmitry N.; Bogatyreva, Natalya S.; Garbuzynskiy, Sergiy O.

    2017-07-01

    The ability of protein chains to spontaneously form their spatial structures is a long-standing puzzle in molecular biology. Experimentally measured folding times of single-domain globular proteins range from microseconds to hours: the difference (10-11 orders of magnitude) is the same as that between the life span of a mosquito and the age of the universe. This review describes physical theories of rates of overcoming the free-energy barrier separating the natively folded (N) and unfolded (U) states of protein chains in both directions: ;U-to-N; and ;N-to-U;. In the theory of protein folding rates a special role is played by the point of thermodynamic (and kinetic) equilibrium between the native and unfolded state of the chain; here, the theory obtains the simplest form. Paradoxically, a theoretical estimate of the folding time is easier to get from consideration of protein unfolding (the ;N-to-U; transition) rather than folding, because it is easier to outline a good unfolding pathway of any structure than a good folding pathway that leads to the stable fold, which is yet unknown to the folding protein chain. And since the rates of direct and reverse reactions are equal at the equilibrium point (as follows from the physical ;detailed balance; principle), the estimated folding time can be derived from the estimated unfolding time. Theoretical analysis of the ;N-to-U; transition outlines the range of protein folding rates in a good agreement with experiment. Theoretical analysis of folding (the ;U-to-N; transition), performed at the level of formation and assembly of protein secondary structures, outlines the upper limit of protein folding times (i.e., of the time of search for the most stable fold). Both theories come to essentially the same results; this is not a surprise, because they describe overcoming one and the same free-energy barrier, although the way to the top of this barrier from the side of the unfolded state is very different from the way from the

  17. There and back again: Two views on the protein folding puzzle.

    PubMed

    Finkelstein, Alexei V; Badretdin, Azat J; Galzitskaya, Oxana V; Ivankov, Dmitry N; Bogatyreva, Natalya S; Garbuzynskiy, Sergiy O

    2017-07-01

    The ability of protein chains to spontaneously form their spatial structures is a long-standing puzzle in molecular biology. Experimentally measured folding times of single-domain globular proteins range from microseconds to hours: the difference (10-11 orders of magnitude) is the same as that between the life span of a mosquito and the age of the universe. This review describes physical theories of rates of overcoming the free-energy barrier separating the natively folded (N) and unfolded (U) states of protein chains in both directions: "U-to-N" and "N-to-U". In the theory of protein folding rates a special role is played by the point of thermodynamic (and kinetic) equilibrium between the native and unfolded state of the chain; here, the theory obtains the simplest form. Paradoxically, a theoretical estimate of the folding time is easier to get from consideration of protein unfolding (the "N-to-U" transition) rather than folding, because it is easier to outline a good unfolding pathway of any structure than a good folding pathway that leads to the stable fold, which is yet unknown to the folding protein chain. And since the rates of direct and reverse reactions are equal at the equilibrium point (as follows from the physical "detailed balance" principle), the estimated folding time can be derived from the estimated unfolding time. Theoretical analysis of the "N-to-U" transition outlines the range of protein folding rates in a good agreement with experiment. Theoretical analysis of folding (the "U-to-N" transition), performed at the level of formation and assembly of protein secondary structures, outlines the upper limit of protein folding times (i.e., of the time of search for the most stable fold). Both theories come to essentially the same results; this is not a surprise, because they describe overcoming one and the same free-energy barrier, although the way to the top of this barrier from the side of the unfolded state is very different from the way from the

  18. Dodging the crisis of folding proteins with knots.

    PubMed

    Sułkowska, Joanna I; Sułkowski, Piotr; Onuchic, José

    2009-03-03

    Proteins with nontrivial topology, containing knots and slipknots, have the ability to fold to their native states without any additional external forces invoked. A mechanism is suggested for folding of these proteins, such as YibK and YbeA, that involves an intermediate configuration with a slipknot. It elucidates the role of topological barriers and backtracking during the folding event. It also illustrates that native contacts are sufficient to guarantee folding in approximately 1-2% of the simulations, and how slipknot intermediates are needed to reduce the topological bottlenecks. As expected, simulations of proteins with similar structure but with knot removed fold much more efficiently, clearly demonstrating the origin of these topological barriers. Although these studies are based on a simple coarse-grained model, they are already able to extract some of the underlying principles governing folding in such complex topologies.

  19. Dodging the crisis of folding proteins with knots

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sulkowska, Joanna

    2009-03-01

    Proteins with nontrivial topology, containing knots and slipknots, have the ability to fold to their native states without any additional external forces invoked. A mechanism is suggested for folding of these proteins, such as YibK and YbeA, which involves an intermediate configuration with a slipknot. It elucidates the role of topological barriers and backtracking during the folding event. It also illustrates that native contacts are sufficient to guarantee folding in around 1-2% of the simulations, and how slipknot intermediates are needed to reduce the topological bottlenecks. As expected, simulations of proteins with similar structure but with knot removed fold much more efficiently, clearly demonstrating the origin of these topological barriers. Although these studies are based on a simple coarse-grained model, they are already able to extract some of the underlying principles governing folding in such complex topologies.

  20. Dodging the crisis of folding proteins with knots

    PubMed Central

    Sułkowska, Joanna I.; Sułkowski, Piotr; Onuchic, José

    2009-01-01

    Proteins with nontrivial topology, containing knots and slipknots, have the ability to fold to their native states without any additional external forces invoked. A mechanism is suggested for folding of these proteins, such as YibK and YbeA, that involves an intermediate configuration with a slipknot. It elucidates the role of topological barriers and backtracking during the folding event. It also illustrates that native contacts are sufficient to guarantee folding in ≈1–2% of the simulations, and how slipknot intermediates are needed to reduce the topological bottlenecks. As expected, simulations of proteins with similar structure but with knot removed fold much more efficiently, clearly demonstrating the origin of these topological barriers. Although these studies are based on a simple coarse-grained model, they are already able to extract some of the underlying principles governing folding in such complex topologies. PMID:19211785

  1. Probing Protein Fluctuations, Folding and Misfolding at Single-molecule Resolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Deniz, Ashok

    2010-03-01

    The conformational fluctuations and folding of proteins are key for their function in cells and organisms. Conversely, misfolding and aggregation can cause disease, although amyloids with functional significance are also being identified. To better understand these aspects of protein biophysics, we utilize single-molecule fluorescence and complementary methods to directly study complex protein dynamics, structural distributions, and conformational transitions. In one example, we used these methods to investigate disorder and disorder-to-order transitions in intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs). IDPs are an interesting class of proteins which are relatively unstructured in isolation, but can often fold by interacting with binding partners. These complex systems are increasingly found to play major roles in biology and disease. In one case, we used a combination of single-molecule FRET (smFRET), coincidence and correlation analyses to probe the native structural features of a yeast protein Sup35, whose amyloid state is believed to be used in a beneficial context in yeast. We find that the monomeric protein populates a compact and rapidly fluctuating ensemble of conformations. In another case, we studied the binding-coupled folding of the IDP alpha-synuclein, whose misfolding and aggregation have been linked to Parkinson's disease. Single-molecule measurements directly revealed a complex multi-state folding landscape for this protein. Observations of a transient folding intermediate using microfluidic mixing, and links to misfolding and aggregation will also be discussed. Our results highlight single-molecule methodology that is broadly applicable to map protein folding and misfolding landscapes.

  2. Self-organized critical model for protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moret, M. A.

    2011-09-01

    The major factor that drives a protein toward collapse and folding is the hydrophobic effect. At the folding process a hydrophobic core is shielded by the solvent-accessible surface area of the protein. We study the fractal behavior of 5526 protein structures present in the Brookhaven Protein Data Bank. Power laws of protein mass, volume and solvent-accessible surface area are measured independently. The present findings indicate that self-organized criticality is an alternative explanation for the protein folding. Also we note that the protein packing is an independent and constant value because the self-similar behavior of the volumes and protein masses have the same fractal dimension. This power law guarantees that a protein is a complex system. From the analyzed data, q-Gaussian distributions seem to fit well this class of systems.

  3. Translation and folding of single proteins in real time.

    PubMed

    Wruck, Florian; Katranidis, Alexandros; Nierhaus, Knud H; Büldt, Georg; Hegner, Martin

    2017-05-30

    Protein biosynthesis is inherently coupled to cotranslational protein folding. Folding of the nascent chain already occurs during synthesis and is mediated by spatial constraints imposed by the ribosomal exit tunnel as well as self-interactions. The polypeptide's vectorial emergence from the ribosomal tunnel establishes the possible folding pathways leading to its native tertiary structure. How cotranslational protein folding and the rate of synthesis are linked to a protein's amino acid sequence is still not well defined. Here, we follow synthesis by individual ribosomes using dual-trap optical tweezers and observe simultaneous folding of the nascent polypeptide chain in real time. We show that observed stalling during translation correlates with slowed peptide bond formation at successive proline sequence positions and electrostatic interactions between positively charged amino acids and the ribosomal tunnel. We also determine possible cotranslational folding sites initiated by hydrophobic collapse for an unstructured and two globular proteins while directly measuring initial cotranslational folding forces. Our study elucidates the intricate relationship among a protein's amino acid sequence, its cotranslational nascent-chain elongation rate, and folding.

  4. Inferring the rate-length law of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Lane, Thomas J; Pande, Vijay S

    2013-01-01

    We investigate the rate-length scaling law of protein folding, a key undetermined scaling law in the analytical theory of protein folding. Available data yield statistically significant evidence for the existence of a rate-length law capable of predicting folding times to within about two orders of magnitude (over 9 decades of variation). Unambiguous determination of the functional form of such a law could provide key mechanistic insight into folding. Four proposed laws from literature (power law, exponential, and two stretched exponentials) are tested against one another, and it is found that the power law best explains the data by a modest margin. We conclude that more data is necessary to unequivocally infer the rate-length law. Such data could be obtained through a small number of protein folding experiments on large protein domains.

  5. High-resolution protein folding with a transferable potential.

    PubMed

    Hubner, Isaac A; Deeds, Eric J; Shakhnovich, Eugene I

    2005-12-27

    A generalized computational method for folding proteins with a fully transferable potential and geometrically realistic all-atom model is presented and tested on seven helix bundle proteins. The protocol, which includes graph-theoretical analysis of the ensemble of resulting folded conformations, was systematically applied and consistently produced structure predictions of approximately 3 A without any knowledge of the native state. To measure and understand the significance of the results, extensive control simulations were conducted. Graph theoretic analysis provides a means for systematically identifying the native fold and provides physical insight, conceptually linking the results to modern theoretical views of protein folding. In addition to presenting a method for prediction of structure and folding mechanism, our model suggests that an accurate all-atom amino acid representation coupled with a physically reasonable atomic interaction potential and hydrogen bonding are essential features for a realistic protein model.

  6. Fluorescence of Alexa Fluor Dye Tracks Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    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

  7. Effects of tethering a multistate folding protein to a surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wei, Shuai; Knotts, Thomas A.

    2011-05-01

    Protein/surface interactions are important in a variety of fields and devices, yet fundamental understanding of the relevant phenomena remains fragmented due to resolution limitations of experimental techniques. Molecular simulation has provided useful answers, but such studies have focused on proteins that fold through a two-state process. This study uses simulation to show how surfaces can affect proteins which fold through a multistate process by investigating the folding mechanism of lysozyme (PDB ID: 7LZM). The results demonstrate that in the bulk 7LZM folds through a process with four stable states: the folded state, the unfolded state, and two stable intermediates. The folding mechanism remains the same when the protein is tethered to a surface at most residues; however, in one case the folding mechanism changes in such a way as to eliminate one of the intermediates. An analysis of the molecular configurations shows that tethering at this site is advantageous for protein arrays because the active site is both presented to the bulk phase and stabilized. Taken as a whole, the results offer hope that rational design of protein arrays is possible once the behavior of the protein on the surface is ascertained.

  8. Effects of tethering a multistate folding protein to a surface.

    PubMed

    Wei, Shuai; Knotts, Thomas A

    2011-05-14

    Protein/surface interactions are important in a variety of fields and devices, yet fundamental understanding of the relevant phenomena remains fragmented due to resolution limitations of experimental techniques. Molecular simulation has provided useful answers, but such studies have focused on proteins that fold through a two-state process. This study uses simulation to show how surfaces can affect proteins which fold through a multistate process by investigating the folding mechanism of lysozyme (PDB ID: 7LZM). The results demonstrate that in the bulk 7LZM folds through a process with four stable states: the folded state, the unfolded state, and two stable intermediates. The folding mechanism remains the same when the protein is tethered to a surface at most residues; however, in one case the folding mechanism changes in such a way as to eliminate one of the intermediates. An analysis of the molecular configurations shows that tethering at this site is advantageous for protein arrays because the active site is both presented to the bulk phase and stabilized. Taken as a whole, the results offer hope that rational design of protein arrays is possible once the behavior of the protein on the surface is ascertained.

  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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    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. 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

  15. Studying the role of cooperative hydration in stabilizing folded protein states.

    PubMed

    Huggins, David J

    2016-12-01

    Understanding and modelling protein folding remains a key scientific and engineering challenge. Two key questions in protein folding are (1) why many proteins adopt a folded state and (2) how these proteins transition from the random coil ensemble to a folded state. In this paper we employ molecular dynamics simulations to address the first of these questions. Computational methods are well-placed to address this issue due to their ability to analyze systems at atomic-level resolution. Traditionally, the stability of folded proteins has been ascribed to the balance of two types of intermolecular interactions: hydrogen-bonding interactions and hydrophobic contacts. In this study, we explore a third type of intermolecular interaction: cooperative hydration of protein surface residues. To achieve this, we consider multiple independent simulations of the villin headpiece domain to quantify the contributions of different interactions to the energy of the native and fully extended states. In addition, we consider whether these findings are robust with respect to the protein forcefield, the water model, and the presence of salt. In all cases, we identify many cooperatively hydrated interactions that are transient but energetically favor the native state. Whilst further work on additional protein structures, forcefields, and water models is necessary, these results suggest a role for cooperative hydration in protein folding that should be explored further. Rational design of cooperative hydration on the protein surface could be a viable strategy for increasing protein stability. Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. In situ protein folding and activation in bacterial inclusion bodies.

    PubMed

    Gonzalez-Montalban, Nuria; Natalello, Antonino; García-Fruitós, Elena; Villaverde, Antonio; Doglia, Silvia Maria

    2008-07-01

    Recent observations indicate that bacterial inclusion bodies formed in absence of the main chaperone DnaK result largely enriched in functional, properly folded recombinant proteins. Unfortunately, the molecular basis of this intriguing fact, with obvious biotechnological interest, remains unsolved. We have explored here two non-excluding physiological mechanisms that could account for this observation, namely selective removal of inactive polypeptides from inclusion bodies or in situ functional activation of the embedded proteins. By combining structural and functional analysis, we have not observed any preferential selection of inactive and misfolded protein species by the dissagregating machinery during inclusion body disintegration. Instead, our data strongly support that folding intermediates aggregated as inclusion bodies could complete their natural folding process once deposited in protein clusters, which conduces to significant functional activation. In addition, in situ folding and protein activation in inclusion bodies is negatively regulated by the chaperone DnaK.

  17. 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.

  18. Protein folding by distributed computing and the denatured state ensemble.

    PubMed

    Marianayagam, Neelan J; Fawzi, Nicolas L; Head-Gordon, Teresa

    2005-11-15

    The distributed computing (DC) paradigm in conjunction with the folding@home (FH) client server has been used to study the folding kinetics of small peptides and proteins, giving excellent agreement with experimentally measured folding rates, although pathways sampled in these simulations are not always consistent with the folding mechanism. In this study, we use a coarse-grain model of protein L, whose two-state kinetics have been characterized in detail by using long-time equilibrium simulations, to rigorously test a FH protocol using approximately 10,000 short-time, uncoupled folding simulations starting from an extended state of the protein. We show that the FH results give non-Poisson distributions and early folding events that are unphysical, whereas longer folding events experience a correct barrier to folding but are not representative of the equilibrium folding ensemble. Using short-time, uncoupled folding simulations started from an equilibrated denatured state ensemble (DSE), we also do not get agreement with the equilibrium two-state kinetics because of overrepresented folding events arising from higher energy subpopulations in the DSE. The DC approach using uncoupled short trajectories can make contact with traditionally measured experimental rates and folding mechanism when starting from an equilibrated DSE, when the simulation time is long enough to sample the lowest energy states of the unfolded basin and the simulated free-energy surface is correct. However, the DC paradigm, together with faster time-resolved and single-molecule experiments, can also reveal the breakdown in the two-state approximation due to observation of folding events from higher energy subpopulations in the DSE.

  19. Characterization of the hydrodynamic properties of the folding transition state of an SH3 domain by magnetization transfer NMR spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Tollinger, Martin; Neale, Chris; Kay, Lewis E; Forman-Kay, Julie D

    2006-05-23

    Protein folding kinetic data have been obtained for the marginally stable N-terminal Src homology 3 domain of the Drosophila protein drk (drkN SH3) in an investigation of the hydrodynamic properties of its folding transition state. Due to the presence of NMR resonances of both folded and unfolded states at equilibrium, kinetic data can be derived from NMR magnetization transfer techniques under equilibrium conditions. Kinetic analysis as a function of urea (less than approximately 1 M) and glycerol enables determination of alpha values, measures of the energetic sensitivity of the transition state to the perturbation relative to the end states of the protein folding reaction (the folded and unfolded states). Both end states have previously been studied experimentally by NMR spectroscopic and other biophysical methods in great detail and under nondenaturing conditions. Combining these results with the kinetic folding data obtained here, we can characterize the folding transition state without requiring empirical models for the unfolded state structure. We are thus able to give a reliable measure of the solvent-accessible surface area of the transition state of the drkN SH3 domain (4730 +/- 360 A(2)) based on urea titration data. Glycerol titration data give similar results and additionally demonstrate that folding of this SH3 domain is dependent on solvent viscosity, which is indicative of at least partial hydration of the transition state. Because SH3 domains appear to fold by a common folding mechanism, the data presented here provide valuable insight into the transition states of the drkN and other SH3 domains.

  20. Fast Protein Translation Can Promote Co- and Posttranslational Folding of Misfolding-Prone Proteins.

    PubMed

    Trovato, Fabio; O'Brien, Edward P

    2017-05-09

    Chemical kinetic modeling has previously been used to predict that fast-translating codons can enhance cotranslational protein folding by helping to avoid misfolded intermediates. Consistent with this prediction, protein aggregation in yeast and worms was observed to increase when translation was globally slowed down, possibly due to increased cotranslational misfolding. Observation of similar behavior in molecular simulations would confirm predictions from the simpler chemical kinetic model and provide a molecular perspective on cotranslational folding, misfolding, and the impact of translation speed on these processes. All-atom simulations cannot reach the timescales relevant to protein synthesis, and most conventional structure-based coarse-grained models do not allow for nonnative structure formation. Here, we introduce a protocol to incorporate misfolding using the functional forms of publicly available force fields. With this model we create two artificial proteins that are capable of undergoing structural transitions between a native and a misfolded conformation and simulate their synthesis by the ribosome. Consistent with the chemical kinetic predictions, we find that rapid synthesis of misfolding-prone nascent-chain segments increases the fraction of folded proteins by kinetically partitioning more molecules through on-pathway intermediates, decreasing the likelihood of sampling misfolded conformations. Novel to this study, to our knowledge, we observe that differences in protein dynamics, arising from different translation-elongation schedules, can persist long after the nascent protein has been released from the ribosome, and that a sufficient level of energetic frustration is needed for fast-translating codons to be beneficial for folding. These results provide further evidence that fast-translating codons can be as biologically important as pause sites in coordinating cotranslational folding. Copyright © 2017 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier

  1. Simulating protein folding and aggregation on the 10 second timescale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pande, Vijay

    2007-03-01

    Understanding how proteins self-assemble or ``fold'' is a fundamental problem in biophysics. Moreover, the ability to understand and quantitatively predict folding kinetics would have many implications, especially in the area of diseases related to protein misfolding, such as Alzheimer's Disease. However, there are many challenges to simulating folding, most notably the great computational challenges of simulating protein folding with models with sufficient accuracy to make quantitative predictions of experiments. In my talk, I will discuss our recent work to combine distributed computing with a new theoretical technique (Markov State Models) in order to simulate folding on long timescales as well as the direct and quantitative experimental tests of these methods. I will conclude with the application of these methods to the study of the Abeta peptide, whose aggregation has been directly implicated as the toxic element in Alzheimer's Disease.

  2. Viral capsid proteins are segregated in structural fold space.

    PubMed

    Cheng, Shanshan; Brooks, Charles L

    2013-01-01

    Viral capsid proteins assemble into large, symmetrical architectures that are not found in complexes formed by their cellular counterparts. Given the prevalence of the signature jelly-roll topology in viral capsid proteins, we are interested in whether these functionally unique capsid proteins are also structurally unique in terms of folds. To explore this question, we applied a structure-alignment based clustering of all protein chains in VIPERdb filtered at 40% sequence identity to identify distinct capsid folds, and compared the cluster medoids with a non-redundant subset of protein domains in the SCOP database, not including the viral capsid entries. This comparison, using Template Modeling (TM)-score, identified 2078 structural "relatives" of capsid proteins from the non-capsid set, covering altogether 210 folds following the definition in SCOP. The statistical significance of the 210 folds shared by two sets of the same sizes, estimated from 10,000 permutation tests, is less than 0.0001, which is an upper bound on the p-value. We thus conclude that viral capsid proteins are segregated in structural fold space. Our result provides novel insight on how structural folds of capsid proteins, as opposed to their surface chemistry, might be constrained during evolution by requirement of the assembled cage-like architecture. Also importantly, our work highlights a guiding principle for virus-based nanoplatform design in a wide range of biomedical applications and materials science.

  3. Viral Capsid Proteins Are Segregated in Structural Fold Space

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Shanshan; Brooks, Charles L.

    2013-01-01

    Viral capsid proteins assemble into large, symmetrical architectures that are not found in complexes formed by their cellular counterparts. Given the prevalence of the signature jelly-roll topology in viral capsid proteins, we are interested in whether these functionally unique capsid proteins are also structurally unique in terms of folds. To explore this question, we applied a structure-alignment based clustering of all protein chains in VIPERdb filtered at 40% sequence identity to identify distinct capsid folds, and compared the cluster medoids with a non-redundant subset of protein domains in the SCOP database, not including the viral capsid entries. This comparison, using Template Modeling (TM)-score, identified 2078 structural “relatives” of capsid proteins from the non-capsid set, covering altogether 210 folds following the definition in SCOP. The statistical significance of the 210 folds shared by two sets of the same sizes, estimated from 10,000 permutation tests, is less than 0.0001, which is an upper bound on the p-value. We thus conclude that viral capsid proteins are segregated in structural fold space. Our result provides novel insight on how structural folds of capsid proteins, as opposed to their surface chemistry, might be constrained during evolution by requirement of the assembled cage-like architecture. Also importantly, our work highlights a guiding principle for virus-based nanoplatform design in a wide range of biomedical applications and materials science. PMID:23408879

  4. Residual ordered structure in denatured proteins and the problem of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Basharov, Mahmud A

    2012-02-01

    Structural characteristics of numerous globular proteins in the denatured state have been reviewed using literature data. Recent more precise experiments show that in contrast to the conventional standpoint, proteins under strongly denaturing conditions do not unfold completely and adopt a random coil state, but contain significant residual ordered structure. These results cast doubt on the basis of the conventional approach representing the process of protein folding as a spontaneous transition of a polypeptide chain from the random coil state to the unique globular structure. The denaturation of proteins is explained in terms of the physical properties of proteins such as stability, conformational change, elasticity, irreversible denaturation, etc. The spontaneous renaturation of some denatured proteins most probably is merely the manifestation of the physical properties (e.g., the elasticity) of the proteins per se, caused by the residual structure present in the denatured state. The pieces of the ordered structure might be the centers of the initiation of renaturation, where the restoration of the initial native conformation of denatured proteins begins. Studies on the denaturation of proteins hardly clarify how the proteins fold into the native conformation during the successive residue-by-residue elongation of the polypeptide chain on the ribosome.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Learning generative models for protein fold families.

    PubMed

    Balakrishnan, Sivaraman; Kamisetty, Hetunandan; Carbonell, Jaime G; Lee, Su-In; Langmead, Christopher James

    2011-04-01

    We introduce a new approach to learning statistical models from multiple sequence alignments (MSA) of proteins. Our method, called GREMLIN (Generative REgularized ModeLs of proteINs), learns an undirected probabilistic graphical model of the amino acid composition within the MSA. The resulting model encodes both the position-specific conservation statistics and the correlated mutation statistics between sequential and long-range pairs of residues. Existing techniques for learning graphical models from MSA either make strong, and often inappropriate assumptions about the conditional independencies within the MSA (e.g., Hidden Markov Models), or else use suboptimal algorithms to learn the parameters of the model. In contrast, GREMLIN makes no a priori assumptions about the conditional independencies within the MSA. We formulate and solve a convex optimization problem, thus guaranteeing that we find a globally optimal model at convergence. The resulting model is also generative, allowing for the design of new protein sequences that have the same statistical properties as those in the MSA. We perform a detailed analysis of covariation statistics on the extensively studied WW and PDZ domains and show that our method out-performs an existing algorithm for learning undirected probabilistic graphical models from MSA. We then apply our approach to 71 additional families from the PFAM database and demonstrate that the resulting models significantly out-perform Hidden Markov Models in terms of predictive accuracy.

  8. Statistical thermodynamics of protein folding: Comparison of a mean-field theory with Monte Carlo simulations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hao, Ming-Hong; Scheraga, Harold A.

    1995-01-01

    A comparative study of protein folding with an analytical theory and computer simulations, respectively, is reported. The theory is based on an improved mean-field formalism which, in addition to the usual mean-field approximations, takes into account the distributions of energies in the subsets of conformational states. Sequence-specific properties of proteins are parametrized in the theory by two sets of variables, one for the energetics of mean-field interactions and one for the distribution of energies. Simulations are carried out on model polypeptides with different sequences, with different chain lengths, and with different interaction potentials, ranging from strong biases towards certain local chain states (bond angles and torsional angles) to complete absence of local conformational preferences. Theoretical analysis of the simulation results for the model polypeptides reveals three different types of behavior in the folding transition from the statistical coiled state to the compact globular state; these include a cooperative two-state transition, a continuous folding, and a glasslike transition. It is found that, with the fitted theoretical parameters which are specific for each polypeptide under a different potential, the mean-field theory can describe the thermodynamic properties and folding behavior of the different polypeptides accurately. By comparing the theoretical descriptions with simulation results, we verify the basic assumptions of the theory and, thereby, obtain new insights about the folding transitions of proteins. It is found that the cooperativity of the first-order folding transition of the model polypeptides is determined mainly by long-range interactions, in particular the dipolar orientation; the local interactions (e.g., bond-angle and torsion-angle potentials) have only marginal effect on the cooperative characteristic of the folding, but have a large impact on the difference in energy between the folded lowest-energy structure and

  9. Monte Carlo simulations of the HP model (the "Ising model" of protein folding)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Ying Wai; Wüst, Thomas; Landau, David P.

    2011-09-01

    Using Wang-Landau sampling with suitable Monte Carlo trial moves (pull moves and bond-rebridging moves combined) we have determined the density of states and thermodynamic properties for a short sequence of the HP protein model. For free chains these proteins are known to first undergo a collapse "transition" to a globule state followed by a second "transition" into a native state. When placed in the proximity of an attractive surface, there is a competition between surface adsorption and folding that leads to an intriguing sequence of "transitions". These transitions depend upon the relative interaction strengths and are largely inaccessible to "standard" Monte Carlo methods.

  10. Monte Carlo simulations of the HP model (the "Ising model" of protein folding).

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-01

    Using Wang-Landau sampling with suitable Monte Carlo trial moves (pull moves and bond-rebridging moves combined) we have determined the density of states and thermodynamic properties for a short sequence of the HP protein model. For free chains these proteins are known to first undergo a collapse "transition" to a globule state followed by a second "transition" into a native state. When placed in the proximity of an attractive surface, there is a competition between surface adsorption and folding that leads to an intriguing sequence of "transitions". These transitions depend upon the relative interaction strengths and are largely inaccessible to "standard" Monte Carlo methods.

  11. 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.

  12. SVM-Fold: a tool for discriminative multi-class protein fold and superfamily recognition

    PubMed Central

    Melvin, Iain; Ie, Eugene; Kuang, Rui; Weston, Jason; Stafford, William Noble; Leslie, Christina

    2007-01-01

    Background Predicting a protein's structural class from its amino acid sequence is a fundamental problem in computational biology. Much recent work has focused on developing new representations for protein sequences, called string kernels, for use with support vector machine (SVM) classifiers. However, while some of these approaches exhibit state-of-the-art performance at the binary protein classification problem, i.e. discriminating between a particular protein class and all other classes, few of these studies have addressed the real problem of multi-class superfamily or fold recognition. Moreover, there are only limited software tools and systems for SVM-based protein classification available to the bioinformatics community. Results We present a new multi-class SVM-based protein fold and superfamily recognition system and web server called SVM-Fold, which can be found at . Our system uses an efficient implementation of a state-of-the-art string kernel for sequence profiles, called the profile kernel, where the underlying feature representation is a histogram of inexact matching k-mer frequencies. We also employ a novel machine learning approach to solve the difficult multi-class problem of classifying a sequence of amino acids into one of many known protein structural classes. Binary one-vs-the-rest SVM classifiers that are trained to recognize individual structural classes yield prediction scores that are not comparable, so that standard "one-vs-all" classification fails to perform well. Moreover, SVMs for classes at different levels of the protein structural hierarchy may make useful predictions, but one-vs-all does not try to combine these multiple predictions. To deal with these problems, our method learns relative weights between one-vs-the-rest classifiers and encodes information about the protein structural hierarchy for multi-class prediction. In large-scale benchmark results based on the SCOP database, our code weighting approach significantly improves

  13. Solitons and protein folding: An In Silico experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-10-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Toward an outline of the topography of a realistic protein-folding funnel.

    PubMed Central

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

    1995-01-01

    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. Images Fig. 3 PMID:7724609

  17. Protein folding simulations and structure predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Okamoto, Yuko

    2001-12-01

    In complex systems such as spin glasses and proteins, conventional simulations in the canonical ensemble will get trapped in states of energy local minima. We employ the simulated annealing method and generalized-ensemble algorithms in order to overcome this multiple-minima problem. Besides simulated annealing, three well-known generalized-ensemble algorithms, namely, multicanonical algorithm, simulated tempering, and replica-exchange method, are described. We then present three new generalized-ensemble algorithms based on the combinations of the three methods.

  18. 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

  19. Folding and self-assembly of a small protein complex

    PubMed Central

    Sieradzan, Adam K.; Liwo, Adam; Hansmann, Ulrich H.E.

    2012-01-01

    The synthetic homotetrameric ββα (BBAT1) protein possesses a stable quaternary structure with a ββα fold. Because of its small size (a total of 84 residues), the homotetramer is an excellent model system with which to study the self-assembly and protein-protein interactions. We find from replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations with the coarse-grain UNRES force field that the folding and association pathway consists of three well-separated steps, where that association to a tetramer precedes and facilitates folding of the four chains. At room temperature the tetramer exists in an ensemble of diverse structures. The crystal structure becomes energetically favored only when the molecule is put in a dense and crystal-like environment. The observed picture of folding promoted by association may mirror the mechanism according to which intrinsically unfolded proteins assume their functional structure. PMID:24039552

  20. Nonsymmetric Two-Body Score Function for Protein Fold Recognition:

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heo, Muyoung; Cheon, Mookyung; Chang, Iksoo

    The usual two-body score (energy) function to recognize native folds of proteins is Miyazawa-Jernigan (MJ) pairwise-contact function. The pairwise-contact parameters between two amino acids in MJ function are symmetric in a sense that a directional order of amino acids sequence along the backbone of a protein is ignored in constructing score parameters. Here we report that we succeeded in constructing a nonsymmetric two-body score function, capturing a directional order of amino acids sequence, by a perceptron learning and a protein threading. We considered pairs of two adjacent amino acids that are separated by two consecutive peptide bonds with the backbone directionality from the N-terminus to the C-terminus of a protein. We also considered the local environmental character, such as the secondary structures and the hydrophobicity (solvation), of amino acids in protein structures. The score is a corresponding propensity for a directional alignment of these two adjacent amino acids with their local environments. The resulting score function simultaneously recognized native folds of 1006 proteins covering all representative proteins with a homology less than 30% among them. The quality of this score function was validated by a threading test of new distinct 382 proteins with a homology less than 90% among them, and it entailed a high success ratio for recognizing native folds of 364 (95.3%) proteins. It showed a good feasibility of designing protein score functions for protein fold recognition by a perceptron learning and a protein threading.

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. Basic units of protein structure, folding, and function.

    PubMed

    Berezovsky, Igor N; Guarnera, Enrico; Zheng, Zejun

    2017-09-01

    Study of the hierarchy of domain structure with alternative sets of domains and analysis of discontinuous domains, consisting of remote segments of the polypeptide chain, raised a question about the minimal structural unit of the protein domain. The hypothesis on the decisive role of the polypeptide backbone in determining the elementary units of globular proteins have led to the discovery of closed loops. It is reviewed here how closed loops form the loop-n-lock structure of proteins, providing the foundation for stability and designability of protein folds/domain and underlying their co-translational folding. Simplified protein sequences are considered here with the aim to explore the basic principles that presumably dominated the folding and stability of proteins in the early stages of structural evolution. Elementary functional loops (EFLs), closed loops with one or few catalytic residues, are, in turn, units of the protein function. They are apparent descendants of the prebiotic ring-like peptides, which gave rise to the first functional folds/domains being fused in the beginning of the evolution of protein structure. It is also shown how evolutionary relations between protein functional superfamilies and folds delineated with the help of EFLs can contribute to establishing the rules for design of desired enzymatic functions. Generalized descriptors of the elementary functions are proposed to be used as basic units in the future computational design. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Thermodynamics of protein folding: a random matrix formulation.

    PubMed

    Shukla, Pragya

    2010-10-20

    The process of protein folding from an unfolded state to a biologically active, folded conformation is governed by many parameters, e.g. the sequence of amino acids, intermolecular interactions, the solvent, temperature and chaperon molecules. Our study, based on random matrix modeling of the interactions, shows, however, that the evolution of the statistical measures, e.g. Gibbs free energy, heat capacity, and entropy, is single parametric. The information can explain the selection of specific folding pathways from an infinite number of possible ways as well as other folding characteristics observed in computer simulation studies.

  5. 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.

  6. Quantitative criteria for native energetic heterogeneity influences in the prediction of protein folding kinetics

    PubMed Central

    Cho, Samuel S.; Levy, Yaakov; Wolynes, Peter G.

    2009-01-01

    Energy landscape theory requires that the protein-folding mechanism is generally globally directed or funneled toward the native state. The collective nature of transition state ensembles further suggests that sufficient averaging of the native interactions can occur so that the knowledge of the native topology may suffice for predicting the mechanism. Nevertheless, while simple homogeneously weighted native topology-based models predict the folding mechanisms for many proteins, for other proteins knowledge of the native topology, by itself, seems not to suffice in determining the folding mechanism. Simulations of proteins with differing topologies reveal that the failure of homogeneously weighted topology-based models can, however, be completely understood within the framework of a funneled energy landscape and can be quantified by comparing the fluctuation of entropy cost for forming contacts to the expected fluctuations in contact energy. To be precise, we find the transition state ensembles of proteins with all-α topologies, which are more uniform in the specific entropy cost of contact formation, have transition state ensembles that are more readily perturbed by differences in energetic weights than are the transition state ensembles of proteins with significant amounts of β-structure, where the specific entropy costs of contact formation are more widely distributed. This behavior is consistent with a random-field Ising model analogy that follows from the free energy functional approach to folding. PMID:19075236

  7. Effect of interactions with the chaperonin cavity on protein folding and misfolding.

    PubMed

    Sirur, Anshul; Knott, Michael; Best, Robert B

    2014-04-14

    Recent experimental and computational results have suggested that attractive interactions between a chaperonin and an enclosed substrate can have an important effect on the protein folding rate: it appears that folding may even be slower inside the cavity than under unconfined conditions, in contrast to what we would expect from excluded volume effects on the unfolded state. Here we examine systematically the dependence of the protein stability and folding rate on the strength of such attractive interactions between the chaperonin and substrate, by using molecular simulations of model protein systems in an idealised attractive cavity. Interestingly, we find a maximum in stability, and a rate which indeed slows down at high attraction strengths. We have developed a simple phenomenological model which can explain the variations in folding rate and stability due to differing effects on the free energies of the unfolded state, folded state, and transition state; changes in the diffusion coefficient along the folding coordinate are relatively small, at least for our simplified model. In order to investigate a possible role for these attractive interactions in folding, we have studied a recently developed model for misfolding in multidomain proteins. We find that, while encapsulation in repulsive cavities greatly increases the fraction of misfolded protein, sufficiently strong attractive protein-cavity interactions can strongly reduce the fraction of proteins reaching misfolded traps.

  8. Origination of the Protein Fold Repertoire from Oily Pluripotent Peptides

    PubMed Central

    Mannige, Ranjan V.

    2014-01-01

    While the repertoire of protein folds that exists today underlies most of life’s capabilities, our mechanistic picture of protein fold origination is incomplete. This paper discusses a hypothetical mechanism for the emergence of the protein fold repertoire from highly dynamic and collapsed peptides, exemplified by peptides with high oil content or hydrophobicity. These peptides are called pluripotent to emphasize their capacity to evolve into numerous folds transiently available to them. As evidence, the paper will discuss previous simulation work on the superior fold evolvability of oily peptides, trace (“fossil”) evidence within proteomes seen today, and a general relationship between protein dynamism and evolvability. Aside from implications on the origination of protein folds, the hypothesis implies that the vanishing utility of a random peptide in protein origination may be relatively exaggerated, as some random peptides with a certain composition (e.g., oily) may fare better than others. In later sections, the hypothesis is discussed in the context of existing discussions regarding the spontaneous origination of biomolecules. PMID:28250375

  9. Folding propensity of intrinsically disordered proteins by osmotic stress

    SciTech Connect

    Mansouri, Amanda L.; Grese, Laura N.; Rowe, Erica L.; Pino, James C.; Chennubhotla, S. Chakra; Ramanathan, Arvind; O'Neill, Hugh Michael; Berthelier, Valerie; Stanley, Christopher B.

    2016-10-11

    Proteins imparted with intrinsic disorder conduct a range of essential cellular functions. To better understand the folding and hydration properties of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), we used osmotic stress to induce conformational changes in nuclear co-activator binding domain (NCBD) and activator for thyroid hormone and retinoid receptor (ACTR). Osmotic stress was applied by the addition of small and polymeric osmolytes, where we discovered that water contributions to NCBD folding always exceeded those for ACTR. Both NCBD and ACTR were found to gain a-helical structure with increasing osmotic stress, consistent with their folding upon NCBD/ACTR complex formation. Using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), we further characterized NCBD structural changes with the osmolyte ethylene glycol. Here a large reduction in overall size initially occurred before substantial secondary structural change. In conclusion, by focusing on folding propensity, and linked hydration changes, we uncover new insights that may be important for how IDP folding contributes to binding.

  10. Enhanced protein folding by removal of kinetic traps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Yanxin; Chapagain, Prem; Parra, Jose; Gerstman, Bernard

    2007-03-01

    The presence of non-native kinetic traps along the free energy landscape of a protein may significantly lengthen the overall folding time so that the folding process becomes unreliable. We used a computational 3-D lattice model to investigate the free energy landscape of a model alpha helical hairpin peptide. We used two slightly different sequences and show that strategic substitutions of only a few amino acid residues greatly enhance the folding process. These strategic substitutions prevent the formation of long-lived misfolded configurations which not only lengthen the folding time but also may cause unwanted aggregation. Detailed kinetic and thermodynamic analysis was carried out for the folding of these two sequences and the results are consistent with the experimental and molecular dynamics simulations of small helical bundle proteins.

  11. Orchestration of secretory protein folding by ER chaperones

    PubMed Central

    Gidalevitz, Tali; Stevens, Fred; Argon, Yair

    2013-01-01

    The endoplasmic reticulum is a major compartment of protein biogenesis in the cell, dedicated to production of secretory, membrane and organelle proteins. The secretome has distinct structural and post-translational characteristics, since folding in the ER occurs in an environment that is distinct in terms of its ionic composition, dynamics and requirements for quality contol. The folding machinery in the ER therefore includes chaperones and folding enzymes that introduce, monitor and react to disulfide bonds, glycans, and fluctuations of luminal calcium. We describe the major chaperone networks in the lumen and discuss how they have distinct modes of operation that enable cells to accomplish highly efficient production of the secretome. PMID:23507200

  12. Getting Folded: Chaperone proteins in muscle development, maintenance and disease

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Daniel A.; Carland, Carmen R.; Guo, Yiming; Bernstein, Sanford I.

    2014-01-01

    Chaperone proteins are critical for protein folding and stability, and hence are necessary for normal cellular organization and function. Recent studies have begun to interrogate the role of this specialized class of proteins in muscle biology. During development, chaperone-mediated folding of client proteins enables their integration into nascent sarcomeres. In addition to assisting with muscle differentiation, chaperones play a key role in maintenance of muscle tissues. Further, disruption of the chaperone network can result in neuromuscular disease. In this review, we discuss how chaperones are involved in myofibrillogenesis, sarcomere maintenance and muscle disorders. We also consider the possibilities of therapeutically targeting chaperones to treat muscle disease. PMID:25125177

  13. Efficient traversal of beta-sheet protein folding pathways using ensemble models.

    PubMed

    Shenker, Solomon; O'Donnell, Charles W; Devadas, Srinivas; Berger, Bonnie; Waldispühl, Jérôme

    2011-11-01

    Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can now predict ms-timescale folding processes of small proteins; however, this presently requires hundreds of thousands of CPU hours and is primarily applicable to short peptides with few long-range interactions. Larger and slower-folding proteins, such as many with extended β-sheet structure, would require orders of magnitude more time and computing resources. Furthermore, when the objective is to determine only which folding events are necessary and limiting, atomistic detail MD simulations can prove unnecessary. Here, we introduce the program tFolder as an efficient method for modelling the folding process of large β-sheet proteins using sequence data alone. To do so, we extend existing ensemble β-sheet prediction techniques, which permitted only a fixed anti-parallel β-barrel shape, with a method that predicts arbitrary β-strand/β-strand orientations and strand-order permutations. By accounting for all partial and final structural states, we can then model the transition from random coil to native state as a Markov process, using a master equation to simulate population dynamics of folding over time. Thus, all putative folding pathways can be energetically scored, including which transitions present the greatest barriers. Since correct folding pathway prediction is likely determined by the accuracy of contact prediction, we demonstrate the accuracy of tFolder to be comparable with state-of-the-art methods designed specifically for the contact prediction problem alone. We validate our method for dynamics prediction by applying it to the folding pathway of the well-studied Protein G. With relatively very little computation time, tFolder is able to reveal critical features of the folding pathways which were only previously observed through time-consuming MD simulations and experimental studies. Such a result greatly expands the number of proteins whose folding pathways can be studied, while the algorithmic integration of

  14. Direct Observation of Parallel Folding Pathways Revealed Using a Symmetric Repeat Protein System

    PubMed Central

    Aksel, Tural; Barrick, Doug

    2014-01-01

    Although progress has been made to determine the native fold of a polypeptide from its primary structure, the diversity of pathways that connect the unfolded and folded states has not been adequately explored. Theoretical and computational studies predict that proteins fold through parallel pathways on funneled energy landscapes, although experimental detection of pathway diversity has been challenging. Here, we exploit the high translational symmetry and the direct length variation afforded by linear repeat proteins to directly detect folding through parallel pathways. By comparing folding rates of consensus ankyrin repeat proteins (CARPs), we find a clear increase in folding rates with increasing size and repeat number, although the size of the transition states (estimated from denaturant sensitivity) remains unchanged. The increase in folding rate with chain length, as opposed to a decrease expected from typical models for globular proteins, is a clear demonstration of parallel pathways. This conclusion is not dependent on extensive curve-fitting or structural perturbation of protein structure. By globally fitting a simple parallel-Ising pathway model, we have directly measured nucleation and propagation rates in protein folding, and have quantified the fluxes along each path, providing a detailed energy landscape for folding. This finding of parallel pathways differs from results from kinetic studies of repeat-proteins composed of sequence-variable repeats, where modest repeat-to-repeat energy variation coalesces folding into a single, dominant channel. Thus, for globular proteins, which have much higher variation in local structure and topology, parallel pathways are expected to be the exception rather than the rule. PMID:24988356

  15. Conserved prosegment residues stabilize a late-stage folding transition state of pepsin independently of ground states.

    PubMed

    Dee, Derek R; Horimoto, Yasumi; Yada, Rickey Y

    2014-01-01

    The native folding of certain zymogen-derived enzymes is completely dependent upon a prosegment domain to stabilize the folding transition state, thereby catalyzing the folding reaction. Generally little is known about how the prosegment accomplishes this task. It was previously shown that the prosegment catalyzes a late-stage folding transition between a stable misfolded state and the native state of pepsin. In this study, the contributions of specific prosegment residues to catalyzing pepsin folding were investigated by introducing individual Ala substitutions and measuring the effects on the bimolecular folding reaction between the prosegment peptide and pepsin. The effects of mutations on the free energies of the individual misfolded and native ground states and the transition state were compared using measurements of prosegment-pepsin binding and folding kinetics. Five out of the seven prosegment residues examined yielded relatively large kinetic effects and minimal ground state perturbations upon mutation, findings which indicate that these residues form strengthened and/or non-native contacts in the transition state. These five residues are semi- to strictly conserved, while only a non-conserved residue had no kinetic effect. One conserved residue was shown to form native structure in the transition state. These results indicated that the prosegment, which is only 44 residues long, has evolved a high density of contacts that preferentially stabilize the folding transition state over the ground states. It is postulated that the prosegment forms extensive non-native contacts during the process of catalyzing correct inter- and intra-domain contacts during the final stages of folding. These results have implications for understanding the folding of multi-domain proteins and for the evolution of prosegment-catalyzed folding.

  16. Conserved Prosegment Residues Stabilize a Late-Stage Folding Transition State of Pepsin Independently of Ground States

    PubMed Central

    Dee, Derek R.; Horimoto, Yasumi; Yada, Rickey Y.

    2014-01-01

    The native folding of certain zymogen-derived enzymes is completely dependent upon a prosegment domain to stabilize the folding transition state, thereby catalyzing the folding reaction. Generally little is known about how the prosegment accomplishes this task. It was previously shown that the prosegment catalyzes a late-stage folding transition between a stable misfolded state and the native state of pepsin. In this study, the contributions of specific prosegment residues to catalyzing pepsin folding were investigated by introducing individual Ala substitutions and measuring the effects on the bimolecular folding reaction between the prosegment peptide and pepsin. The effects of mutations on the free energies of the individual misfolded and native ground states and the transition state were compared using measurements of prosegment-pepsin binding and folding kinetics. Five out of the seven prosegment residues examined yielded relatively large kinetic effects and minimal ground state perturbations upon mutation, findings which indicate that these residues form strengthened and/or non-native contacts in the transition state. These five residues are semi- to strictly conserved, while only a non-conserved residue had no kinetic effect. One conserved residue was shown to form native structure in the transition state. These results indicated that the prosegment, which is only 44 residues long, has evolved a high density of contacts that preferentially stabilize the folding transition state over the ground states. It is postulated that the prosegment forms extensive non-native contacts during the process of catalyzing correct inter- and intra-domain contacts during the final stages of folding. These results have implications for understanding the folding of multi-domain proteins and for the evolution of prosegment-catalyzed folding. PMID:24983988

  17. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

    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.

  19. Modern Analysis of Protein Folding by Differential Scanning Calorimetry.

    PubMed

    Ibarra-Molero, Beatriz; Naganathan, Athi N; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose M; Muñoz, Victor

    2016-01-01

    Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a very powerful tool for investigating protein folding and stability because its experimental output reflects the energetics of all conformations that become minimally populated during thermal unfolding. Accordingly, analysis of DSC experiments with simple thermodynamic models has been key for developing our understanding of protein stability during the past five decades. The discovery of ultrafast folding proteins, which have naturally broad conformational ensembles and minimally cooperative unfolding, opens the possibility of probing the complete folding free energy landscape, including those conformations at the top of the barrier to folding, via DSC. Exploiting this opportunity requires high-quality experiments and the implementation of novel analytical methods based on statistical mechanics. Here, we cover the recent exciting developments in this front, describing the new analytical procedures in detail as well as providing experimental guidelines for performing such analysis. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Characterization of the folding energy landscapes of computer generated proteins suggests high folding free energy barriers and cooperativity may be consequences of natural selection.

    PubMed

    Scalley-Kim, Michelle; Baker, David

    2004-04-30

    To determine the extent to which protein folding rates and free energy landscapes have been shaped by natural selection, we have examined the folding kinetics of five proteins generated using computational design methods and, hence, never exposed to natural selection. Four of these proteins are complete computer-generated redesigns of naturally occurring structures and the fifth protein, called Top7, has a computer-generated fold not yet observed in nature. We find that three of the four redesigned proteins fold much faster than their naturally occurring counterparts. While natural selection thus does not appear to operate on protein folding rates, the majority of the designed proteins unfold considerably faster than their naturally occurring counterparts, suggesting possible selection for a high free energy barrier to unfolding. In contrast to almost all naturally occurring proteins of less than 100 residues but consistent with simple computational models, the folding energy landscape for Top7 appears to be quite complex, suggesting the smooth energy landscapes and highly cooperative folding transitions observed for small naturally occurring proteins may also reflect the workings of natural selection.

  1. Structure and function in bacteriorhodopsin: the effect of the interhelical loops on the protein folding kinetics.

    PubMed

    Allen, S J; Kim, J M; Khorana, H G; Lu, H; Booth, P J

    2001-04-27

    The loops connecting the seven transmembrane helices of bacteriorhodopsin have each been replaced in turn by structureless linkers of Gly-Gly-Ser repeat sequences, and the effect on the protein folding kinetics has been determined. An SDS-denatured state of each loop mutant bacterio-opsin was folded in l-alpha-1,2-dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine/l-alpha-1,2-dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine micelles, containing retinal, to give functional bacteriorhodopsin. Stopped-flow mixing was used to initiate the folding reaction, giving a time resolution of milliseconds, and changes in protein fluorescence were used to monitor folding. All loop mutant proteins folded according to the same reaction scheme as wild-type protein. The folding kinetics of the AB, BC and DE loop mutants were the same as wild-type protein, despite the blue-shifted chromophore band of the BC loop mutant bR state. A partially folded apoprotein intermediate state of the AB loop mutant did however appear to decay in the absence of retinal. The most significant effects on the folding kinetics were seen for mutant protein with structureless linkers in place of the CD, EF and FG loops. The rate-limiting apoprotein folding step of the CD loop mutant was about ten times slower than wild-type, whilst that of the EF loop mutant was almost four times slower than wild-type. Wild-type behaviour was observed for the other folding and retinal binding events of the CD and EF loop mutant proteins. These effects of the CD and EF loop mutations on apoprotein folding correlate with the fact that these two loop mutants also have the least stable, partially folded apoprotein intermediate of all the loop mutants, and are the most affected by a decrease in lipid lateral pressure. In contrast, the FG loop mutant exhibited wild-type apoprotein folding, but altered covalent binding of retinal and final folding to bacteriorhodopsin. This correlates with the fact that the FG loop mutant bacteriorhodopsin is the most susceptible to

  2. The Energy Computation Paradox and ab initio Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Faver, John C.; Benson, Mark L.; He, Xiao; Roberts, Benjamin P.; Wang, Bing; Marshall, Michael S.; Sherrill, C. David; Merz, Kenneth M.

    2011-01-01

    The routine prediction of three-dimensional protein structure from sequence remains a challenge in computational biochemistry. It has been intuited that calculated energies from physics-based scoring functions are able to distinguish native from nonnative folds based on previous performance with small proteins and that conformational sampling is the fundamental bottleneck to successful folding. We demonstrate that as protein size increases, errors in the computed energies become a significant problem. We show, by using error probability density functions, that physics-based scores contain significant systematic and random errors relative to accurate reference energies. These errors propagate throughout an entire protein and distort its energy landscape to such an extent that modern scoring functions should have little chance of success in finding the free energy minima of large proteins. Nonetheless, by understanding errors in physics-based score functions, they can be reduced in a post-hoc manner, improving accuracy in energy computation and fold discrimination. PMID:21541343

  3. Protein folding in HP model on hexagonal lattices with diagonals

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Three dimensional structure prediction of a protein from its amino acid sequence, known as protein folding, is one of the most studied computational problem in bioinformatics and computational biology. Since, this is a hard problem, a number of simplified models have been proposed in literature to capture the essential properties of this problem. In this paper we introduce the hexagonal lattices with diagonals to handle the protein folding problem considering the well researched HP model. We give two approximation algorithms for protein folding on this lattice. Our first algorithm is a 53-approximation algorithm, which is based on the strategy of partitioning the entire protein sequence into two pieces. Our next algorithm is also based on partitioning approaches and improves upon the first algorithm. PMID:24564789

  4. 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.

  5. Protein folding and aggregation: two sides of the same coin in the condensation of proteins revealed by pressure studies.

    PubMed

    Silva, Jerson L; Cordeiro, Yraima; Foguel, Debora

    2006-03-01

    Hydrostatic pressure can be considered as "thermodynamic tweezers" to approach the protein folding problem and to study the cases when folding goes wrong leading to the protein folding disorders. The main outcome of the use of high pressure in this field is the stabilization of folding intermediates such as partially folded conformations, thus allowing us to characterize their structural properties. Because partially folded intermediates are usually at the intersection between productive and off-pathway folding, they may give rise to misfolded proteins, aggregates and amyloids that are involved in many neurodegenerative diseases, such as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Of particular interest is the use of hydrostatic pressure to unveil the structural transitions in prion conversion and to populate possible intermediates in the folding/unfolding pathway of the prion protein. The main hypothesis for prion diseases proposes that the cellular protein (PrP(C)) can be altered into a misfolded, beta-sheet-rich isoform, the PrP(Sc) (from scrapie). It has been demonstrated that hydrostatic pressure affects the balance between the different prion species. The last findings on the application of high pressure on amyloidogenic proteins will be discussed here as regards to their energetic and volumetric properties. The use of high pressure promises to contribute to the identification of the underlying mechanisms of these neurodegenerative diseases and to develop new therapeutic approaches.

  6. Insights from Coarse-Grained Gō Models for Protein Folding and Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Hills, Ronald D.; Brooks, Charles L.

    2009-01-01

    Exploring the landscape of large scale conformational changes such as protein folding at atomistic detail poses a considerable computational challenge. Coarse-grained representations of the peptide chain have therefore been developed and over the last decade have proved extremely valuable. These include topology-based Gō models, which constitute a smooth and funnel-like approximation to the folding landscape. We review the many variations of the Gō model that have been employed to yield insight into folding mechanisms. Their success has been interpreted as a consequence of the dominant role of the native topology in folding. The role of local contact density in determining protein dynamics is also discussed and is used to explain the ability of Gō-like models to capture sequence effects in folding and elucidate conformational transitions. PMID:19399227

  7. The Principle of Stationary Action in Biophysics: Stability in Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Weiner, Joel L.

    2013-01-01

    We conceptualize protein folding as motion in a large dimensional dihedral angle space. We use Lagrangian mechanics and introduce an unspecified Lagrangian to study the motion. The fact that we have reliable folding leads us to conjecture the totality of paths forms caustics that can be recognized by the vanishing of the second variation of the action. There are two types of folding processes: stable against modest perturbations and unstable. We also conjecture that natural selection has picked out stable folds. More importantly, the presence of caustics leads naturally to the application of ideas from catastrophe theory and allows us to consider the question of stability for the folding process from that perspective. Powerful stability theorems from mathematics are then applicable to impose more order on the totality of motions. This leads to an immediate explanation for both the insensitivity of folding to solution perturbations and the fact that folding occurs using very little free energy. The theory of folding, based on the above conjectures, can also be used to explain the behavior of energy landscapes, the speed of folding similar to transition state theory, and the fact that random proteins do not fold. PMID:24454360

  8. GroEL stimulates protein folding through forced unfolding

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Zong; Madan, Damian; Rye, Hays S

    2013-01-01

    Many proteins cannot fold without the assistance of chaperonin machines like GroEL and GroES. The nature of this assistance, however, remains poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that unfolding of a substrate protein by GroEL enhances protein folding. We first show that capture of a protein on the open ring of a GroEL–ADP–GroES complex, GroEL’s physiological acceptor state for non-native proteins in vivo, leaves the substrate protein in an unexpectedly compact state. Subsequent binding of ATP to the same GroEL ring causes rapid, forced unfolding of the substrate protein. Notably, the fraction of the substrate protein that commits to the native state following GroES binding and protein release into the GroEL–GroES cavity is proportional to the extent of substrate-protein unfolding. Forced protein unfolding is thus a central component of the multilayered stimulatory mechanism used by GroEL to drive protein folding. PMID:18311152

  9. Folding of Small Proteins Using Constrained Molecular Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Balaraman, Gouthaman S.; Park, In-Hee; Jain, Abhinandan; Vaidehi, Nagarajan

    2011-01-01

    The focus of this paper is to examine whether conformational search using constrained molecular dynamics (MD) method is more enhanced and enriched towards “native-like” structures compared to all-atom MD for the protein folding as a model problem. Constrained MD methods provide an alternate MD tool for protein structure prediction and structure refinement. It is computationally expensive to perform all-atom simulations of protein folding because the processes occur on a timescale of microseconds. Compared to the all-atom MD simulation, constrained MD methods have the advantage that stable dynamics can be achieved for larger time steps and the number of degrees of freedom is an order of magnitude smaller, leading to a decrease in computational cost. We have developed a generalized constrained MD method that allows the user to “freeze and thaw” torsional degrees of freedom as fit for the problem studied. We have used this method to perform all-torsion constrained MD in implicit solvent coupled with the replica exchange method to study folding of small proteins with various secondary structural motifs such as, α-helix (polyalanine, WALP16), β-turn (1E0Q), and a mixed motif protein (Trp-cage). We demonstrate that constrained MD replica exchange method exhibits a wider conformational search than all-atom MD with increased enrichment of near native structures. “Hierarchical” constrained MD simulations, where the partially formed helical regions in the initial stretch of the all-torsion folding simulation trajectory of Trp-cage were frozen, showed a better sampling of near native structures than all-torsion constrained MD simulations. This is in agreement with the zipping-and-assembly folding model put forth by Dill and coworkers for folding proteins. The use of hierarchical “freeze and thaw” clustering schemes in constrained MD simulation can be used to sample conformations that contribute significantly to folding of proteins. PMID:21591767

  10. Curvature of the energy landscape and folding of model proteins.

    PubMed

    Mazzoni, Lorenzo N; Casetti, Lapo

    2006-11-24

    We study the geometric properties of the energy landscape of coarse-grained, off-lattice models of polymers by endowing the configuration space with a suitable metric, depending on the potential energy function, such that the dynamical trajectories are the geodesics of the metric. Using numerical simulations, we show that the fluctuations of the curvature clearly mark the folding transition, and that this quantity allows to distinguish between polymers having a proteinlike behavior (i.e., that fold to a unique configuration) and polymers which undergo a hydrophobic collapse but do not have a folding transition. These geometrical properties are defined by the potential energy without requiring any prior knowledge of the native configuration.

  11. Effects of osmolytes on protein folding and aggregation in cells.

    PubMed

    Ignatova, Zoya; Gierasch, Lila M

    2007-01-01

    Nature has developed many strategies to ensure that the complex and challenging protein folding reaction occurs in vivo with adequate efficiency and fidelity for the success of the organism. Among the strategies widely employed in a huge range of species and cell types is the elaboration of small organic molecules called osmolytes that offset the potentially damaging effects of osmotic stress. While considerable knowledge has been gained in vitro regarding the influence of osmolytes on protein structure and folding, it is of great interest to probe the effects of osmolytes in cells. We have developed an in-cell fluorescent-labeling method that enables the study of protein stability and also protein aggregation in vivo. We utilize a genetically encoded tag called a tetra-Cys motif that binds specifically to a bis-arsenical fluorescein-based dye "FlAsH"; we inserted the tetra-Cys motif into a protein of interest in such a way that the FlAsH signal reported on the state of folding or aggregation of the protein. Then, we designed protocols to assess how various osmolytes influence the stability and propensity to aggregate of our protein of interest. These are described here. Not only are there potential biotechnological applications of osmolytes in the quest to produce greater quantities of well-folded proteins, but also osmolytes may serve as tools and points of departure for therapeutic intervention in protein folding and aggregation diseases. Having in vivo methods to analyze how osmolytes affect folding and aggregation enhances our ability to further these goals greatly.

  12. 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

  13. Chaperone networks: Tipping the balance in protein folding diseases

    PubMed Central

    Voisine, Cindy; Pedersen, Jesper Søndergaard; Morimoto, Richard I.

    2012-01-01

    Adult-onset neurodegeneration and other protein conformational diseases are associated with the appearance, persistence, and accumulation of misfolded and aggregation prone proteins. To protect the proteome from long-term damage, the cell expresses a highly integrated protein homeostasis (proteostasis) machinery to ensure that proteins are properly expressed, folded, and cleared, and to recognize damaged proteins. Molecular chaperones have a central role in proteostasis as they have been shown to be essential to prevent the accumulation of alternate folded proteotoxic states as occurs in protein conformation diseases exemplified by neurodegeneration. Studies using invertebrate models expressing proteins associated with Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, ALS, and Parkinson's disease have provided insights into the genetic networks and stress signaling pathways that regulate the proteostasis machinery to prevent cellular dysfunction, tissue pathology, and organismal failure. These events appear to be further amplified by aging and provide evidence that age-related failures in proteostasis may be a common element in many diseases. PMID:20472062

  14. 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.

  15. Engineering chimaeric proteins from fold fragments: 'hopeful monsters' in protein design.

    PubMed

    Höcker, Birte

    2013-10-01

    Modern highly complex proteins evolved from much simpler and less specialized subunits. The same concept can be applied in protein engineering to construct new well-folded proteins. Hybrid proteins or chimaeras can be built from contemporary protein fragments through illegitimate recombination. Even parts from different globular folds can be fitted together using rational design methodologies. Furthermore, intrinsic functional properties encoded in the fold fragments allow rapid adaptation of the new proteins and thus provide interesting starting scaffolds for further redesign.

  16. Evolutionary conservation and variation of protein folding pathways. Two protease inhibitor homologues from black mamba venom.

    PubMed

    Hollecker, M; Creighton, T E

    1983-08-05

    The pathways of unfolding and refolding of three homologous proteins are shown to be closely related. This implies that folding pathways, as well as the final folded conformation, have been largely conserved during the presumed evolutionary divergence of these proteins from a common ancestor. The pathways of the homologous proteins I and K from black mamba venom were determined here, using the disulphide interaction between their six cysteine residues to trap and identify the intermediate states, and are compared with those determined previously in the same way for the homologous bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. The major one- and two-disulphide intermediates are the same with all three proteins; their kinetic roles are similar, although there are differences in the rates at which they are interconverted and in the minor intermediates that accumulate. As a consequence, different pathways may predominate with another homologous protein, even though the various most favourable pathways are the same. The energetics of the folding transitions and the stabilities of the folded states differ substantially for the three proteins. The differences in stabilities of the fully folded states are primarily reflected kinetically in the rate-determining rearrangements of the native-like conformation; the rates and equilibria of the other steps are not affected markedly. With the less stable proteins, the direct folding pathway of sequential formation of the three correct disulphide bonds becomes significant and is the most facile when considered on a solely intramolecular basis.

  17. Role of structural determinants in folding of the sandwich-like protein Pseudomonas aeruginosa azurin

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Corey J.; Wittung-Stafshede, Pernilla

    2005-01-01

    An invariant substructure that forms two interlocked pairs of neighboring β-strands occurs in essentially all known sandwich-like proteins. Eight conserved positions in these strands were recently shown to act as structural determinants. To test whether the residues at these invariant positions are conserved for mechanistic (i.e., part of folding nucleus) or energetic (i.e., governing native-state stability) reasons, we characterized the folding behavior of eight point-mutated variants of the sandwich-like protein Pseudomonas aeruginosa apo-azurin. We find a simple relationship among the conserved positions: half of the residues form native-like interactions in the folding transition state, whereas the others do not participate in the folding nucleus but govern high native-state stability. Thus, evolutionary preservation of these specific positions gives both mechanistic and energetic advantages to members of the sandwich-like protein family. PMID:15753320

  18. A semi-analytical description of protein folding that incorporates detailed geometrical information.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Yoko; Noel, Jeffrey K; Onuchic, José N

    2011-06-28

    Much has been done to study the interplay between geometric and energetic effects on the protein folding energy landscape. Numerical techniques such as molecular dynamics simulations are able to maintain a precise geometrical representation of the protein. Analytical approaches, however, often focus on the energetic aspects of folding, including geometrical information only in an average way. Here, we investigate a semi-analytical expression of folding that explicitly includes geometrical effects. We consider a Hamiltonian corresponding to a Gaussian filament with structure-based interactions. The model captures local features of protein folding often averaged over by mean-field theories, for example, loop contact formation and excluded volume. We explore the thermodynamics and folding mechanisms of beta-hairpin and alpha-helical structures as functions of temperature and Q, the fraction of native contacts formed. Excluded volume is shown to be an important component of a protein Hamiltonian, since it both dominates the cooperativity of the folding transition and alters folding mechanisms. Understanding geometrical effects in analytical formulae will help illuminate the consequences of the approximations required for the study of larger proteins.

  19. Prediction of the protein folding core: application to the immunoglobulin fold.

    PubMed

    Prudhomme, Nicolas; Chomilier, Jacques

    2009-01-01

    We propose an algorithm that allows predicting residues important for the formation of the structure of globular proteins. It relies on a simulation that detects the amino acids presenting a maximum number of neighbours during the early steps of the folding process. They have been called MIR (Most Interacting Residues). Independently, description of the protein structures in fragments with closed ends shows the correlation between these extremities and the core of the globules. These fragments are of rather constant length, typically between 20 and 25 amino acids, and we have previously shown that their extremities are preferentially occupied by MIR. Introduction of rules derived from this fragment analysis of tertiary structures allows to smooth the distribution of MIR, for a better match between TEF ends and MIR. In order to assess this prediction of the folding core, a large family of structures has been used, with sequences as different as possible. A dataset of 56 immunoglobulin structures of various functions but common fold has been used in this study. This fold was chosen because it is one of the most populated with a large amount of data available on its nucleus. In the immunoglobulin domain, "functional and structural load is clearly separated: loops are responsible for binding and recognition while interactions between several residues of the buried core provide stability and fast folding"[1]. We then determined the positions susceptible of high importance for the folding process to occur and compared them to published data, either to High Throw Out Order (HTOO), Conservatism of Conservatism (CoC) or Phi value experiments. It results a reasonable agreement between the positions that we predict and experimental data. Besides, our prediction goes beyond the simple use of a null solvent accessibility of amino acids as a criterion to predict the core. We find the same quality of our prediction on the flavodoxin like superfamily.

  20. Ab initio folding of proteins using all-atom discrete molecular dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Ding, Feng; Tsao, Douglas; Nie, Huifen; Dokholyan, Nikolay V.

    2008-01-01

    Summary Discrete molecular dynamics (DMD) is a rapid sampling method used in protein folding and aggregation studies. Until now, DMD was used to perform simulations of simplified protein models in conjunction with structure-based force fields. Here, we develop an all-atom protein model and a transferable force field featuring packing, solvation, and environment-dependent hydrogen bond interactions. Using the replica exchange method, we perform folding simulations of six small proteins (20–60 residues) with distinct native structures. In all cases, native or near-native states are reached in simulations. For three small proteins, multiple folding transitions are observed and the computationally-characterized thermodynamics are in quantitative agreement with experiments. The predictive power of all-atom DMD highlights the importance of environment-dependent hydrogen bond interactions in modeling protein folding. The developed approach can be used for accurate and rapid sampling of conformational spaces of proteins and protein-protein complexes, and applied to protein engineering and design of protein-protein interactions. PMID:18611374

  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. On the polymer physics origins of protein folding thermodynamics.

    PubMed

    Taylor, Mark P; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    2016-11-07

    A remarkable feature of the spontaneous folding of many small proteins is the striking similarity in the thermodynamics of the folding process. This process is characterized by simple two-state thermodynamics with large and compensating changes in entropy and enthalpy and a funnel-like free energy landscape with a free-energy barrier that varies linearly with temperature. One might attribute the commonality of this two-state folding behavior to features particular to these proteins (e.g., chain length, hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, attributes of the native state) or one might suspect that this similarity in behavior has a more general polymer-physics origin. Here we show that this behavior is also typical for flexible homopolymer chains with sufficiently short range interactions. Two-state behavior arises from the presence of a low entropy ground (folded) state separated from a set of high entropy disordered (unfolded) states by a free energy barrier. This homopolymer model exhibits a funneled free energy landscape that reveals a complex underlying dynamics involving competition between folding and non-folding pathways. Despite the presence of multiple pathways, this simple physics model gives the robust result of two-state thermodynamics for both the cases of folding from a basin of expanded coil states and from a basin of compact globule states.

  3. On the polymer physics origins of protein folding thermodynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taylor, Mark P.; Paul, Wolfgang; Binder, Kurt

    2016-11-01

    A remarkable feature of the spontaneous folding of many small proteins is the striking similarity in the thermodynamics of the folding process. This process is characterized by simple two-state thermodynamics with large and compensating changes in entropy and enthalpy and a funnel-like free energy landscape with a free-energy barrier that varies linearly with temperature. One might attribute the commonality of this two-state folding behavior to features particular to these proteins (e.g., chain length, hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, attributes of the native state) or one might suspect that this similarity in behavior has a more general polymer-physics origin. Here we show that this behavior is also typical for flexible homopolymer chains with sufficiently short range interactions. Two-state behavior arises from the presence of a low entropy ground (folded) state separated from a set of high entropy disordered (unfolded) states by a free energy barrier. This homopolymer model exhibits a funneled free energy landscape that reveals a complex underlying dynamics involving competition between folding and non-folding pathways. Despite the presence of multiple pathways, this simple physics model gives the robust result of two-state thermodynamics for both the cases of folding from a basin of expanded coil states and from a basin of compact globule states.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-03-16

    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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. The energy landscape, folding pathways and the kinetics of a knotted protein.

    PubMed

    Prentiss, Michael C; Wales, David J; Wolynes, Peter G

    2010-07-01

    The folding pathway and rate coefficients of the folding of a knotted protein are calculated for a potential energy function with minimal energetic frustration. A kinetic transition network is constructed using the discrete path sampling approach, and the resulting potential energy surface is visualized by constructing disconnectivity graphs. Owing to topological constraints, the low-lying portion of the landscape consists of three distinct regions, corresponding to the native knotted state and to configurations where either the N or C terminus is not yet folded into the knot. The fastest folding pathways from denatured states exhibit early formation of the N terminus portion of the knot and a rate-determining step where the C terminus is incorporated. The low-lying minima with the N terminus knotted and the C terminus free therefore constitute an off-pathway intermediate for this model. The insertion of both the N and C termini into the knot occurs late in the folding process, creating large energy barriers that are the rate limiting steps in the folding process. When compared to other protein folding proteins of a similar length, this system folds over six orders of magnitude more slowly.

  10. Influence of denatured and intermediate states of folding on protein aggregation.

    PubMed

    Fawzi, Nicolas L; Chubukov, Victor; Clark, Louis A; Brown, Scott; Head-Gordon, Teresa

    2005-04-01

    We simulate the aggregation thermodynamics and kinetics of proteins L and G, each of which self-assembles to the same alpha/beta [corrected] topology through distinct folding mechanisms. We find that the aggregation kinetics of both proteins at an experimentally relevant concentration exhibit both fast and slow aggregation pathways, although a greater proportion of protein G aggregation events are slow relative to those of found for protein L. These kinetic differences are correlated with the amount and distribution of intrachain contacts formed in the denatured state ensemble (DSE), or an intermediate state ensemble (ISE) if it exists, as well as the folding timescales of the two proteins. Protein G aggregates more slowly than protein L due to its rapidly formed folding intermediate, which exhibits native intrachain contacts spread across the protein, suggesting that certain early folding intermediates may be selected for by evolution due to their protective role against unwanted aggregation. Protein L shows only localized native structure in the DSE with timescales of folding that are commensurate with the aggregation timescale, leaving it vulnerable to domain swapping or nonnative interactions with other chains that increase the aggregation rate. Folding experiments that characterize the structural signatures of the DSE, ISE, or the transition state ensemble (TSE) under nonaggregating conditions should be able to predict regions where interchain contacts will be made in the aggregate, and to predict slower aggregation rates for proteins with contacts that are dispersed across the fold. Since proteins L and G can both form amyloid fibrils, this work also provides mechanistic and structural insight into the formation of prefibrillar species.

  11. Universality and diversity of folding mechanics for three-helix bundle proteins.

    PubMed

    Yang, Jae Shick; Wallin, Stefan; Shakhnovich, Eugene I

    2008-01-22

    In this study we evaluate, at full atomic detail, the folding processes of two small helical proteins, the B domain of protein A and the Villin headpiece. Folding kinetics are studied by performing a large number of ab initio Monte Carlo folding simulations using a single transferable all-atom potential. Using these trajectories, we examine the relaxation behavior, secondary structure formation, and transition-state ensembles (TSEs) of the two proteins and compare our results with experimental data and previous computational studies. To obtain a detailed structural information on the folding dynamics viewed as an ensemble process, we perform a clustering analysis procedure based on graph theory. Moreover, rigorous p(fold) analysis is used to obtain representative samples of the TSEs and a good quantitative agreement between experimental and simulated Phi values is obtained for protein A. Phi values for Villin also are obtained and left as predictions to be tested by future experiments. Our analysis shows that the two-helix hairpin is a common partially stable structural motif that gets formed before entering the TSE in the studied proteins. These results together with our earlier study of Engrailed Homeodomain and recent experimental studies provide a comprehensive, atomic-level picture of folding mechanics of three-helix bundle proteins.

  12. Thermodynamic stability and folding of proteins from hyperthermophilic organisms.

    PubMed

    Luke, Kathryn A; Higgins, Catherine L; Wittung-Stafshede, Pernilla

    2007-08-01

    Life grows almost everywhere on earth, including in extreme environments and under harsh conditions. Organisms adapted to high temperatures are called thermophiles (growth temperature 45-75 degrees C) and hyperthermophiles (growth temperature >or= 80 degrees C). Proteins from such organisms usually show extreme thermal stability, despite having folded structures very similar to their mesostable counterparts. Here, we summarize the current data on thermodynamic and kinetic folding/unfolding behaviors of proteins from hyperthermophilic microorganisms. In contrast to thermostable proteins, rather few (i.e. less than 20) hyperthermostable proteins have been thoroughly characterized in terms of their in vitro folding processes and their thermodynamic stability profiles. Examples that will be discussed include co-chaperonin proteins, iron-sulfur-cluster proteins, and DNA-binding proteins from hyperthermophilic bacteria (i.e. Aquifex and Theromotoga) and archea (e.g. Pyrococcus, Thermococcus, Methanothermus and Sulfolobus). Despite the small set of studied systems, it is clear that super-slow protein unfolding is a dominant strategy to allow these proteins to function at extreme temperatures.

  13. Steric confinement and enhanced local flexibility assist knotting in simple models of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Soler, Miguel A; Rey, Antonio; Faísca, Patrícia F N

    2016-09-29

    The chaperonin complex GroEL-GroES is able to accelerate the folding process of knotted proteins considerably. However, the folding mechanism inside the chaperonin cage is elusive. Here we use a combination of lattice and off-lattice Monte Carlo simulations of simple Gō models to study the effect of physical confinement and local flexibility on the folding process of protein model systems embedding a trefoil knot in their native structure. This study predicts that steric confinement plays a specific role in the folding of knotted proteins by increasing the knotting probability for very high degrees of confinement. This effect is observed for protein MJ0366 even above the melting temperature for confinement sizes compatible with the size of the GroEL/GroES chaperonin cage. An enhanced local flexibility produces the same qualitative effects on the folding process. In particular, we observe that knotting probability increases up to 40% in the transition state of protein MJ0366 when flexibility is enhanced. This is underlined by a structural change in the transition state, which becomes devoid of helical content. No relation between the knotting mechanism and flexibility was found in the context of the off-lattice model adopted in this work.

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

    PubMed

    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.

  15. Desiccation and zinc binding induce transition of tomato abscisic acid stress ripening 1, a water stress- and salt stress-regulated plant-specific protein, from unfolded to folded state.

    PubMed

    Goldgur, Yehuda; Rom, Slava; Ghirlando, Rodolfo; Shkolnik, Doron; Shadrin, Natalia; Konrad, Zvia; Bar-Zvi, Dudy

    2007-02-01

    Abscisic acid stress ripening 1 (ASR1) is a low molecular weight plant-specific protein encoded by an abiotic stress-regulated gene. Overexpression of ASR1 in transgenic plants increases their salt tolerance. The ASR1 protein possesses a zinc-dependent DNA-binding activity. The DNA-binding site was mapped to the central part of the polypeptide using truncated forms of the protein. Two additional zinc-binding sites were shown to be localized at the amino terminus of the polypeptide. ASR1 protein is presumed to be an intrinsically unstructured protein using a number of prediction algorithms. The degree of order of ASR1 was determined experimentally using nontagged recombinant protein expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Purified ASR1 was shown to be unfolded using dynamic light scattering, gel filtration, microcalorimetry, circular dichroism, and Fourier transform infrared spectrometry. The protein was shown to be monomeric by analytical ultracentrifugation. Addition of zinc ions resulted in a global change in ASR1 structure from monomer to homodimer. Upon binding of zinc ions, the protein becomes ordered as shown by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry and microcalorimetry, concomitant with dimerization. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) leaf soluble ASR1 is unstructured in the absence of added zinc and gains structure upon binding of the metal ion. The effect of zinc binding on ASR1 folding and dimerization is discussed.

  16. Precursory signatures of protein folding/unfolding: From time series correlation analysis to atomistic mechanisms

    SciTech Connect

    Hsu, P. J.; Lai, S. K.; Cheong, S. A.

    2014-05-28

    Folded conformations of proteins in thermodynamically stable states have long lifetimes. Before it folds into a stable conformation, or after unfolding from a stable conformation, the protein will generally stray from one random conformation to another leading thus to rapid fluctuations. Brief structural changes therefore occur before folding and unfolding events. These short-lived movements are easily overlooked in studies of folding/unfolding for they represent momentary excursions of the protein to explore conformations in the neighborhood of the stable conformation. The present study looks for precursory signatures of protein folding/unfolding within these rapid fluctuations through a combination of three techniques: (1) ultrafast shape recognition, (2) time series segmentation, and (3) time series correlation analysis. The first procedure measures the differences between statistical distance distributions of atoms in different conformations by calculating shape similarity indices from molecular dynamics simulation trajectories. The second procedure is used to discover the times at which the protein makes transitions from one conformation to another. Finally, we employ the third technique to exploit spatial fingerprints of the stable conformations; this procedure is to map out the sequences of changes preceding the actual folding and unfolding events, since strongly correlated atoms in different conformations are different due to bond and steric constraints. The aforementioned high-frequency fluctuations are therefore characterized by distinct correlational and structural changes that are associated with rate-limiting precursors that translate into brief segments. Guided by these technical procedures, we choose a model system, a fragment of the protein transthyretin, for identifying in this system not only the precursory signatures of transitions associated with α helix and β hairpin, but also the important role played by weaker correlations in such protein

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-27

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

  18. An Introduction to Research in Protein Folding for Undergraduates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Colleen M.

    1997-11-01

    The objective of this article is to introduce students to current research activity on protein folding via experimentation and a literature survey. Major effort in the field of biophysical chemistry today is focused on elucidating those factors controlling the transformation of a protein from a nascent polypeptide chain to a unique, functionally active three-dimensional structure. The possible involvement of misfolded or aggregated proteins in diseases such as Altzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and cataracts as well as various neurodegenerative diseases has increased the incentive to solve the "protein folding problem". In this experiment the guanidine-hydrochloride induced protein unfolding of horse heart metmyoglobin is monitored spectrophotometrically via the protein fluorescence emission. The data are analyzed using a simple thermodynamic model which assumes a two-state system and fitted using nonlinear curve fitting. Background information on protein structure, protein fluorescence, simple models for folding, and the use of chaotropic agents is also presented. The experiment is suitable for students in advanced undergraduate chemistry courses such as physical or biophysical chemistry.

  19. Electrostatically Accelerated Coupled Binding and Folding of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Ganguly, Debabani; Otieno, Steve; Waddell, Brett; Iconaru, Luigi; Kriwacki, Richard W.; Chen, Jianhan

    2012-01-01

    Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are now recognized to be prevalent in biology, and many potential functional benefits have been discussed. However, the frequent requirement of peptide folding in specific interactions of IDPs could impose a kinetic bottleneck, which could be overcome only by efficient folding upon encounter. Intriguingly, existing kinetic data suggest that specific binding of IDPs is generally no slower than that of globular proteins. Here, we exploited the cell cycle regulator p27Kip1 (p27) as a model system to understand how IDPs might achieve efficient folding upon encounter for facile recognition. Combining experiments and coarse-grained modeling, we demonstrate that long-range electrostatic interactions between enriched charges on p27 and near its binding site on cyclin A not only enhance the encounter rate (i.e., electrostatic steering), but also promote folding-competent topologies in the encounter complexes, allowing rapid subsequent formation of short-range native interactions en route to the specific complex. In contrast, nonspecific hydrophobic interactions, while hardly affecting the encounter rate, can significantly reduce the efficiency of folding upon encounter and lead to slower binding kinetics. Further analysis of charge distributions in a set of known IDP complexes reveals that, although IDP binding sites tend to be more hydrophobic compared to the rest of the target surface, their vicinities are frequently enriched with charges to complement those on IDPs. This observation suggests that electrostatically accelerated encounter and induced folding might represent a prevalent mechanism for promoting facile IDP recognition. PMID:22721951

  20. Why and how does native topology dictate the folding speed of a protein?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rustad, Mark; Ghosh, Kingshuk

    2012-11-01

    Since the pioneering work of Plaxco, Simons, and Baker, it is now well known that the rates of protein folding strongly correlate with the average sequence separation (absolute contact order (ACO)) of native contacts. In spite of multitude of papers, our understanding to the basis of the relation between folding speed and ACO is still lacking. We model the transition state as a Gaussian polymer chain decorated with weak springs between native contacts while the unfolded state is modeled as a Gaussian chain only. Using these hamiltonians, our perturbative calculation explicitly shows folding speed and ACO are linearly related when only the first order term in the series is considered. However, to the second order, we notice the existence of two new topological metrics, termed COC1 and COC2 (COC stands for contact order correction). These additional correction terms are needed to properly account for the entropy loss due to overlapping (nested or linked) loops that are not well described by simple addition of entropies in ACO. COC1 and COC2 are related to fluctuations and correlations among different sequence separations. The new metric combining ACO, COC1, and COC2 improves folding speed dependence on native topology when applied to three different databases: (i) two-state proteins with only α/β and β proteins, (ii) two-state proteins (α/β, β and purely helical proteins all combined), and (iii) master set (multi-state and two-state) folding proteins. Furthermore, the first principle calculation provides us direct physical insights to the meaning of the fit parameters. The coefficient of ACO, for example, is related to the average strength of the contacts, while the constant term is related to the protein folding speed limit. With the new scaling law, our estimate of the folding speed limit is in close agreement with the widely accepted value of 1 μs observed in proteins and RNA. Analyzing an exhaustive set (7367) of monomeric proteins from protein data bank

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Platkov, Max; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-07-21

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

  3. Dali/FSSP classification of three-dimensional protein folds.

    PubMed

    Holm, L; Sander, C

    1997-01-01

    The FSSP database presents a continuously updated structural classification of three-dimensional protein folds. It is derived using an automatic structure comparison program (Dali) for the all-against-all comparison of over 6000 three-dimensional coordinate sets in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). Sequence-related protein families are covered by a representative set of 813 protein chains. Hierachical clustering based on structural similarities yields a fold tree that defines 253 fold classes. For each representative protein chain, there is a database entry containing structure-structure alignments with its structural neighbours in the PDB. The database is accessible online through World Wide Web browsers and by anonymous ftp (file transfer protocol). The overview of fold space and the individual data sets provide a rich source of information for the study of both divergent and convergent aspects of molecular evolution, and define useful test sets and a standard of truth for assessing the correctness of sequence-sequence or sequence-structure alignments.

  4. Localizing internal friction along the reaction coordinate of protein folding by combining ensemble and single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

    Borgia, Alessandro; Wensley, Beth G.; Soranno, Andrea; Nettels, Daniel; Borgia, Madeleine B.; Hoffmann, Armin; Pfeil, Shawn H.; Lipman, Everett A.; Clarke, Jane; Schuler, Benjamin

    2012-01-01

    Theory, simulations and experimental results have suggested an important role of internal friction in the kinetics of protein folding. Recent experiments on spectrin domains provided the first evidence for a pronounced contribution of internal friction in proteins that fold on the millisecond timescale. However, it has remained unclear how this contribution is distributed along the reaction and what influence it has on the folding dynamics. Here we use a combination of single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, nanosecond fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, microfluidic mixing and denaturant- and viscosity-dependent protein-folding kinetics to probe internal friction in the unfolded state and at the early and late transition states of slow- and fast-folding spectrin domains. We find that the internal friction affecting the folding rates of spectrin domains is highly localized to the early transition state, suggesting an important role of rather specific interactions in the rate-limiting conformational changes. PMID:23149740

  5. Localizing internal friction along the reaction coordinate of protein folding by combining ensemble and single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Borgia, Alessandro; Wensley, Beth G; Soranno, Andrea; Nettels, Daniel; Borgia, Madeleine B; Hoffmann, Armin; Pfeil, Shawn H; Lipman, Everett A; Clarke, Jane; Schuler, Benjamin

    2012-01-01

    Theory, simulations and experimental results have suggested an important role of internal friction in the kinetics of protein folding. Recent experiments on spectrin domains provided the first evidence for a pronounced contribution of internal friction in proteins that fold on the millisecond timescale. However, it has remained unclear how this contribution is distributed along the reaction and what influence it has on the folding dynamics. Here we use a combination of single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer, nanosecond fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, microfluidic mixing and denaturant- and viscosity-dependent protein-folding kinetics to probe internal friction in the unfolded state and at the early and late transition states of slow- and fast-folding spectrin domains. We find that the internal friction affecting the folding rates of spectrin domains is highly localized to the early transition state, suggesting an important role of rather specific interactions in the rate-limiting conformational changes.

  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. 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.

  8. Chapter 3: A fluorescent window into protein folding and aggregation in cells.

    PubMed

    Ignatova, Zoya; Gierasch, Lila M

    2008-01-01

    Evolutionary selective pressures have tuned the efficiency of the protein-folding reaction in the crowded complex environment in the cell. Nevertheless, the fidelity of folding is imperfect, leading to off-pathway intermolecular interactions that compete with proper folding and to consequent formation of thermodynamically stable aggregates. Such aggregates constitute the histopathological hallmarks of many neurodegenerative pathologies. Yet, most of the approaches to characterize protein folding and/or misfolding are limited to in vitro conditions. Here, we describe a strategy to directly monitor the behavior of a protein in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The method is based on incorporation of structurally non-perturbing, specific binding motifs for a bis-arsenical fluoroscein dye, FlAsH, in sites that result in distinct dye fluorescence signals for the folded and unfolded states of the protein under study. Our approach has been developed using as a case study the predominantly beta-sheet intracellular lipid-binding protein, cellular retinoic acid-binding protein, alone or as a chimera fused to the exon 1-encoded fragment of huntingtin, which harbors a polyglutamine repeat tract. We have designed protocols to label this protein in vivo and to monitor the resulting fluorescence signal, which reports on any misfolding transition and formation of aggregates, yielding quantitatively interpretable data.

  9. Conformational dynamics of a protein in the folded and the unfolded state

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fitter, Jörg

    2003-08-01

    In a quasielastic neutron scattering experiment, the picosecond dynamics of α-amylase was investigated for the folded and the unfolded state of the protein. In order to ensure a reasonable interpretation of the internal protein dynamics, the protein was measured in D 2O-buffer solution. The much higher structural flexibility of the pH induced unfolded state as compared to the native folded state was quantified using a simple analytical model, describing a local diffusion inside a sphere. In terms of this model the conformational volume, which is explored mainly by confined protein side-chain movements, is parameterized by the radius of a sphere (folded state, r=1.2 Å; unfolded state, 1.8 Å). Differences in conformational dynamics between the folded and the unfolded state of a protein are of fundamental interest in the field of protein science, because they are assumed to play an important role for the thermodynamics of folding/unfolding transition and for protein stability.

  10. Arsenic(III) species inhibit oxidative protein folding in vitro.

    PubMed

    Ramadan, Danny; Rancy, Pumtiwitt C; Nagarkar, Radhika P; Schneider, Joel P; Thorpe, Colin

    2009-01-20

    The success of arsenic trioxide in the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia has renewed interest in the cellular targets of As(III) species. The effects of arsenicals are usually attributed to their ability to bind vicinal thiols or thiol selenols in prefolded proteins thereby compromising cellular function. The present studies suggest an additional, more pleiotropic, contribution to the biological effects of arsenicals. As(III) species, by avid coordination to the cysteine residues of unfolded reduced proteins, can compromise protein folding pathways. Three representative As(III) compounds (arsenite, monomethylarsenous acid (MMA), and an aryl arsenical (PSAO)) have been tested with three reduced secreted proteins (lysozyme, ribonuclease A, and riboflavin binding protein (RfBP)). Using absorbance, fluorescence, and pre-steady-state methods, we show that arsenicals bind tightly to low micromolar concentrations of these unfolded proteins with stoichiometries of 1 As(III) per 2 thiols for MMA and PSAO and 1 As(III) for every 3 thiols with arsenite. Arsenicals, at 10 microM, strongly disrupt the oxidative folding of RfBP even in the presence of 5 mM reduced glutathione, a competing ligand for As(III) species. MMA catalyzes the formation of amyloid-like monodisperse fibrils using reduced RNase. These in vitro data show that As(III) species can slow, or even derail, protein folding pathways. In vivo, the propensity of As(III) species to bind to unfolded cysteine-containing proteins may contribute to oxidative and protein folding stresses that are prominent features of the cellular response to arsenic exposure.

  11. Genomic determinants of protein folding thermodynamics in prokaryotic organisms.

    PubMed

    Bastolla, Ugo; Moya, Andrés; Viguera, Enrique; van Ham, Roeland C H J

    2004-11-05

    Here we investigate how thermodynamic properties of orthologous proteins are influenced by the genomic environment in which they evolve. We performed a comparative computational study of 21 protein families in 73 prokaryotic species and obtained the following main results. (i) Protein stability with respect to the unfolded state and with respect to misfolding are anticorrelated. There appears to be a trade-off between these two properties, which cannot be optimized simultaneously. (ii) Folding thermodynamic parameters are strongly correlated with two genomic features, genome size and G+C composition. In particular, the normalized energy gap, an indicator of folding efficiency in statistical mechanical models of protein folding, is smaller in proteins of organisms with a small genome size and a compositional bias towards A+T. Such genomic features are characteristic for bacteria with an intracellular lifestyle. We interpret these correlations in light of mutation pressure and natural selection. A mutational bias toward A+T at the DNA level translates into a mutational bias toward more hydrophobic (and in general more interactive) proteins, a consequence of the structure of the genetic code. Increased hydrophobicity renders proteins more stable against unfolding but less stable against misfolding. Proteins with high hydrophobicity and low stability against misfolding occur in organisms with reduced genomes, like obligate intracellular bacteria. We argue that they are fixed because these organisms experience weaker purifying selection due to their small effective population sizes. This interpretation is supported by the observation of a high expression level of chaperones in these bacteria. Our results indicate that the mutational spectrum of a genome and the strength of selection significantly influence protein folding thermodynamics.

  12. Confinement in nanopores can destabilize α-helix folding proteins and stabilize the β structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Javidpour, Leili; Sahimi, Muhammad

    2011-09-01

    Protein folding in confined media has attracted wide attention over the past decade due to its importance in both in vivo and in vitro applications. Currently, it is generally believed that protein stability increases by decreasing the size of the confining medium, if its interaction with the confining walls is repulsive, and that the maximum folding temperature in confinement occurs for a pore size only slightly larger than the smallest dimension of the folded state of a protein. Protein stability in pore sizes, very close to the size of the folded state, has not however received the attention that it deserves. Using detailed, 0.3-ms-long molecular dynamics simulations, we show that proteins with an α-helix native state can have an optimal folding temperature in pore sizes that do not affect the folded-state structure. In contradiction to the current theoretical explanations, we find that the maximum folding temperature occurs in larger pores for smaller α-helices. In highly confined pores the free energy surface becomes rough, and a new barrier for protein folding may appear close to the unfolded state. In addition, in small nanopores the protein states that contain the β structures are entropically stabilized, in contrast to the bulk. As a consequence, folding rates decrease notably and the free energy surface becomes rougher. The results shed light on many recent experimental observations that cannot be explained by the current theories, and demonstrate the importance of entropic effects on proteins' misfolded states in highly confined environments. They also support the concept of passive effect of chaperonin GroEL on protein folding by preventing it from aggregation in crowded environment of biological cells, and provide deeper clues to the α → β conformational transition, believed to contribute to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The strategy of protein and enzyme stabilization in confined media may also have to be revisited in the case of tight

  13. Collective aspects of protein folding illustrated by a toy model

    SciTech Connect

    Stillinger, F.H.; Head-Gordon, T.

    1995-09-01

    A simple toy model for polypeptides serves as a testbed to illuminate some nonlocal, or collective, aspects of protein folding phenomena. The model is two dimensional and has only two amino acids, but involves a continuous range of backbone bend angles. Global potential energy minima and their folding structures have been determined for leading members of two special and contrasting polypeptide sequences, center doped and Fibonacci, named descriptively for their primary structures. The results display the presence of spontaneous symmetry breaking, elastic strain, and substantial conformational variation for specific embedded amino acid strings. We conclude that collective variables generated by the primary amino acid structure may be required for fully effective protein folding predictors, including those based on neural networks.

  14. Effect of surfaces in modulating protein folding mechanisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shea, Joan

    2014-03-01

    Protein-surface interactions are ubiquitous in the crowded cytosol, where proteins encounter a variety of surfaces, ranging from membranes surfaces, to the surfaces presented by chaperone molecules. Protein-surface interactions are also at the heart of a number of emerging technologies, including protein micro-arrays, biosensors and biomaterials. The effect of surfaces on protein structure and stability can vary substantially depending on the chemical composition of the surface. In this talk, I will present detailed atomistic simulations of the folding of a small beta-sheet protein in the presence of graphite and titanium oxide surfaces. The role of water-mediated and direct protein-surface interactions in governing protein conformations will be discussed.

  15. Development of Rules for Folding of Biotechnology Produced Protein.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-07-01

    condensed phase called a coacervate ) which is in equilibrium with the overlying solution (6). The Inverse Temperature Transition When high molecular...at low temperatures but on raising the temperature aggregation and settling occurs to form a more dense viscoelastic phase, called a coacervate , which...weight in elastomeric bands obtained on y-irradiation of the coacervate state (13,16,17). This mechanism for driving folding and unfolding is an order

  16. Protein folding and misfolding in the neurodegenerative disorders: a review.

    PubMed

    Bolshette, N B; Thakur, K K; Bidkar, A P; Trandafir, C; Kumar, P; Gogoi, R

    2014-03-01

    Protein misfolding is an intrinsic aspect of normal folding within the complex cellular environment. Its effects are minimized in living system by the action of a range of protective mechanisms including molecular chaperones and quality control systems. According to the current growing research, protein misfolding is a recognized key feature of most neurodegenerative diseases. Extensive biochemical, neuropathological, and genetic evidence suggest that the cerebral accumulation of amyloid fibrils is the central event in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. In the first part of this review we have discussed the general course of action of folding and misfolding of the proteins. Later part of this review gives an outline regarding the role of protein misfolding in the molecular and cellular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's and Parkinson along with their treatment possibilities. Finally, we have mentioned about the recent findings in neurodegenerative diseases. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  17. Single-domain protein folding: a multi-faceted problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Junier, Ivan; Ritort, Felix

    2006-08-01

    We review theoretical approaches, experiments and numerical simulations that have been recently proposed to investigate the folding problem in single-domain proteins. From a theoretical point of view, we emphasize the energy landscape approach. As far as experiments are concerned, we focus on the recent development of single-molecule techniques. In particular, we compare the results obtained with two main techniques: single protein force measurements with optical tweezers and single-molecule fluorescence in studies on the same protein (RNase H). This allows us to point out some controversial issues such as the nature of the denatured and intermediate states and possible folding pathways. After reviewing the various numerical simulation techniques, we show that on-lattice protein-like models can help to understand many controversial issues.

  18. Folding of Aggregated Proteins to Functionally Active Form

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-06-01

    detergent [31]. The detergent is then removed by washes with cyclodextrin . Because the pro- cedure can be carried out on gravity-flow columns, it can be...capitalizes on the ability of chemicals such as cyclodextrin to prevent the aggregation of renatured protein when denaturants and/or detergents are removed... cyclodextrin . The cyclodextrin is then removed by another solvent exchange and the properly folded protein released from the column. In a variation of this

  19. Toward a quantitative description of microscopic pathway heterogeneity in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Gopi, Soundhararajan; Singh, Animesh; Suresh, Swaathiratna; Paul, Suvadip; Ranu, Sayan; Naganathan, Athi N

    2017-08-09

    How many structurally different microscopic routes are accessible to a protein molecule while folding? This has been a challenging question to address experimentally as single-molecule studies are constrained by the limited number of observed folding events while ensemble measurements, by definition, report only an average and not the distribution of the quantity under study. Atomistic simulations, on the other hand, are restricted by sampling and the inability to reproduce thermodynamic observables directly. We overcome these bottlenecks in the current work and provide a quantitative description of folding pathway heterogeneity by developing a comprehensive, scalable and yet experimentally consistent approach combining concepts from statistical mechanics, physical kinetics and graph theory. We quantify the folding pathway heterogeneity of five single-domain proteins under two thermodynamic conditions from an analysis of 100 000 folding events generated from a statistical mechanical model incorporating the detailed energetics from more than a million conformational states. The resulting microstate energetics predicts the results of protein engineering experiments, the thermodynamic stabilities of secondary-structure segments from NMR studies, and the end-to-end distance estimates from single-molecule force spectroscopy measurements. We find that a minimum of ∼3-200 microscopic routes, with a diverse ensemble of transition-path structures, are required to account for the total folding flux across the five proteins and the thermodynamic conditions. The partitioning of flux amongst the numerous pathways is shown to be subtly dependent on the experimental conditions that modulate protein stability, topological complexity and the structural resolution at which the folding events are observed. Our predictive methodology thus reveals the presence of rich ensembles of folding mechanisms that are generally invisible in experiments, reconciles the contradictory

  20. Size and sequence and the volume change of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Rouget, Jean-Baptiste; Aksel, Tural; Roche, Julien; Saldana, Jean-Louis; Garcia, Angel E; Barrick, Doug; Royer, Catherine A

    2011-04-20

    The application of hydrostatic pressure generally leads to protein unfolding, implying, in accordance with Le Chatelier's principle, that the unfolded state has a smaller molar volume than the folded state. However, the origin of the volume change upon unfolding, ΔV(u), has yet to be determined. We have examined systematically the effects of protein size and sequence on the value of ΔV(u) using as a model system a series of deletion variants of the ankyrin repeat domain of the Notch receptor. The results provide strong evidence in support of the notion that the major contributing factor to pressure effects on proteins is their imperfect internal packing in the folded state. These packing defects appear to be specifically localized in the 3D structure, in contrast to the uniformly distributed effects of temperature and denaturants that depend upon hydration of exposed surface area upon unfolding. Given its local nature, the extent to which pressure globally affects protein structure can inform on the degree of cooperativity and long-range coupling intrinsic to the folded state. We also show that the energetics of the protein's conformations can significantly modulate their volumetric properties, providing further insight into protein stability.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-07-01

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

  2. Folding propensity of intrinsically disordered proteins by osmotic stress

    DOE PAGES

    Mansouri, Amanda L.; Grese, Laura N.; Rowe, Erica L.; ...

    2016-10-11

    Proteins imparted with intrinsic disorder conduct a range of essential cellular functions. To better understand the folding and hydration properties of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), we used osmotic stress to induce conformational changes in nuclear co-activator binding domain (NCBD) and activator for thyroid hormone and retinoid receptor (ACTR). Osmotic stress was applied by the addition of small and polymeric osmolytes, where we discovered that water contributions to NCBD folding always exceeded those for ACTR. Both NCBD and ACTR were found to gain a-helical structure with increasing osmotic stress, consistent with their folding upon NCBD/ACTR complex formation. Using small-angle neutron scatteringmore » (SANS), we further characterized NCBD structural changes with the osmolyte ethylene glycol. Here a large reduction in overall size initially occurred before substantial secondary structural change. In conclusion, by focusing on folding propensity, and linked hydration changes, we uncover new insights that may be important for how IDP folding contributes to binding.« less

  3. Folding propensity of intrinsically disordered proteins by osmotic stress†

    PubMed Central

    Mansouri, Amanda L.; Grese, Laura N.; Rowe, Erica L.; Pino, James C.; Chennubhotla, S. Chakra; Ramanathan, Arvind; O’Neill, Hugh M.; Berthelier, Valerie

    2017-01-01

    Proteins imparted with intrinsic disorder conduct a range of essential cellular functions. To better understand the folding and hydration properties of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), we used osmotic stress to induce conformational changes in nuclear co-activator binding domain (NCBD) and activator for thyroid hormone and retinoid receptor (ACTR) separate from their mutual binding. Osmotic stress was applied by the addition of small and polymeric osmolytes, where we discovered that water contributions to NCBD folding always exceeded those for ACTR. Both NCBD and ACTR were found to gain α-helical structure with increasing osmotic stress, consistent with their folding upon NCBD/ACTR complex formation. Using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), we further characterized NCBD structural changes with the osmolyte ethylene glycol. Here a large reduction in overall size initially occurred before substantial secondary structural change. By focusing on folding propensity, and linked hydration changes, we uncover new insights that may be important for how IDP folding contributes to binding. PMID:27752679

  4. Thermal stability and folding kinetics analysis of intrinsically disordered protein, securin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Chia-Ching; Chu, Hsueh-Liang; Ho, Li-Ping

    2014-03-01

    Lacking a stable tertiary structure, intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) possess particular functions in cell regulation, signaling, and controlling pathways. The study of their unique structure features, thermal stabilities, and folding kinetics is intriguing. In this study, an identified IDP, securin, was used as a model protein. By using a quasi-static five-step (on-path) folding process, the function of securin was restored and analyzed by isothermal titration calorimetry. Fluorescence spectroscopy and particle size analysis indicated that securin possessed a compact hydrophobic core and particle size. The glass transition of securin was characterized using differential scanning microcalorimetry. Furthermore, the folding/unfolding rates (kobs) of securin were undetectable, implying that the folding/unfolding rate is very fast and that the conformation of securin is sensitive to solvent environment change. Therefore, securin may fold properly under specific physiological conditions. In summary, the thermal glass transition behavior and undetectable kobs of folding/unfolding reactions may be two of the indices of IDP. This study was supported in part by grants NSC 97-2112-M-009-009-YM3 and NSC 100-2112-M-009-004-MY3, Taiwan, R.O.C.

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

    PubMed Central

    Arkun, Yaman; Gur, Mert

    2012-01-01

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

  6. Combining optimal control theory and molecular dynamics for protein folding.

    PubMed

    Arkun, Yaman; Gur, Mert

    2012-01-01

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

  7. The oxidative protein folding machinery in plant cells.

    PubMed

    Aller, Isabel; Meyer, Andreas J

    2013-08-01

    Formation of intra-molecular disulfides and concomitant oxidative protein folding is essential for stability and catalytic function of many soluble and membrane-bound proteins in the endomembrane system, the mitochondrial inter-membrane space and the thylakoid lumen. Disulfide generation from free cysteines in nascent polypeptide chains is generally a catalysed process for which distinct pathways exist in all compartments. A high degree of similarities between highly diverse eukaryotic and bacterial systems for generation of protein disulfides indicates functional conservation of key processes throughout evolution. However, while many aspects about molecular function of enzymatic systems promoting disulfide formation have been demonstrated for bacterial and non-plant eukaryotic organisms, it is now clear that the plant machinery for oxidative protein folding displays distinct details, suggesting that the different pathways have been adapted to plant-specific requirements in terms of compartmentation, molecular function and regulation. Here, we aim to evaluate biological diversity by comparing the plant systems for oxidative protein folding to the respective systems from non-plant eukaryotes.

  8. The topomer-sampling model of protein folding

    PubMed Central

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

    1999-01-01

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

  9. Protein folding, stability, and solvation structure in osmolyte solutions hydrophobicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montgomery Pettitt, B.

    2008-03-01

    The hydrophobic effect between solutes in aqueous solutions plays a central role in our understanding of recognition and folding of proteins and self assembly of lipids. Hydrophobicity induces nonideal solution behavior which plays a role in many aspects of biophysics. Work on the use of small biochemical compounds to crowd protein solutions indicates that a quantitative description of their non-ideal behavior is possible and straightforward. Here, we will show what the structural origin of this non-ideal solution behavior is from expression derived from a semi grand ensemble approach. We discuss the consequences of these findings regarding protein folding stability and solvation in crowded solutions through a structural analysis of the m-value or the change in free energy difference of a macromolecule in solution with respect to the concentration of a third component. This effect has recently been restudied and new mechanisms proposed for its origins in terms of transfer free energies and hydrophobicity.

  10. WeFold: A Coopetition for Protein Structure Prediction

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. WeFold: a coopetition for protein structure prediction.

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    The protein structure prediction problem continues to elude scientists. Despite the introduction of many methods, only modest gains were made over the last decade for certain classes of prediction targets. To address this challenge, a social-media based worldwide collaborative effort, named WeFold, was undertaken by 13 labs. During the collaboration, the laboratories were simultaneously competing with each other. Here, we present the first attempt at "coopetition" in scientific research applied to the protein structure prediction and refinement problems. The coopetition was possible by allowing the participating labs to contribute different components of their protein structure prediction pipelines and create new hybrid pipelines that they tested during CASP10. This manuscript describes both successes and areas needing improvement as identified throughout the first WeFold experiment and discusses the efforts that are underway to advance this initiative. A footprint of all contributions and structures are publicly accessible at http://www.wefold.org. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    SciTech Connect

    HART,WILLIAM E.; ISTRAIL,SORIN

    2000-06-01

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

  13. Fold Recognition Using Sequence Fingerprints of Protein Local Substructures

    SciTech Connect

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

    2003-06-04

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

  14. Femtomole Mixer for Microsecond Kinetic Studies of Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Hertzog, David E.; Michalet, Xavier; Jäger, Marcus; Kong, Xiangxu; Santiago, Juan G.; Weiss, Shimon; Bakajin, Olgica

    2005-01-01

    We have developed a microfluidic mixer for studying protein folding and other reactions with a mixing time of 8 μs and sample consumption of femtomoles. This device enables us to access conformational changes under conditions far from equilibrium and at previously inaccessible time scales. In this paper, we discuss the design and optimization of the mixer using modeling of convective diffusion phenomena and a characterization of the mixer performance using microparticle image velocimetry, dye quenching, and Förster resonance energy-transfer (FRET) measurements of single-stranded DNA. We also demonstrate the feasibility of measuring fast protein folding kinetics using FRET with acyl-CoA binding protein. PMID:15595857

  15. Folding by Numbers: Primary Sequence Statistics and Their Use in Studying Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Wathen, Brent; Jia, Zongchao

    2009-01-01

    The exponential growth over the past several decades in the quantity of both primary sequence data available and the number of protein structures determined has provided a wealth of information describing the relationship between protein primary sequence and tertiary structure. This growing repository of data has served as a prime source for statistical analysis, where underlying relationships between patterns of amino acids and protein structure can be uncovered. Here, we survey the main statistical approaches that have been used for identifying patterns within protein sequences, and discuss sequence pattern research as it relates to both secondary and tertiary protein structure. Limitations to statistical analyses are discussed, and a context for their role within the field of protein folding is given. We conclude by describing a novel statistical study of residue patterning in β-strands, which finds that hydrophobic (i,i+2) pairing in β-strands occurs more often than expected at locations near strand termini. Interpretations involving β-sheet nucleation and growth are discussed. PMID:19468326

  16. Symmetric structures in the universe of protein folds.

    PubMed

    Guerler, Aysam; Wang, Connie; Knapp, Ernst-Walter

    2009-09-01

    Insights in structural biology can be gained by analyzing protein architectures and characterizing their structural similarities. Current computational approaches enable a comparison of a variety of structural and physicochemical properties in protein space. Here we describe the automated detection of rotational symmetries within a representative set of nearly 10,000 nonhomologous protein structures. To find structural symmetries in proteins initially, equivalent pairs of secondary structure elements (SSE), i.e., alpha-helices and beta-strands, are assigned. Thereby, we also allow SSE pairs to be assigned in reverse sequential order. The results highlight that the generation of symmetric, i.e., repetitive, protein structures is one of nature's major strategies to explore the universe of possible protein folds. This way structurally separated 'islands' of protein folds with a significant amount of symmetry were identified. The complete results of the present study are available at http://agknapp.chemie.fu-berlin.de/gplus, where symmetry analysis of new protein structures can also be performed.

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

    PubMed

    De Marothy, Minttu T; Elofsson, Arne

    2015-07-01

    Cells have developed an incredible machinery to facilitate the insertion of membrane proteins into the membrane. While we have a fairly good understanding of the mechanism and determinants of membrane integration, more data is needed to understand the insertion of membrane proteins with more complex insertion and folding pathways. This review will focus on marginally hydrophobic transmembrane helices and their influence on membrane protein folding. These weakly hydrophobic transmembrane segments are by themselves not recognized by the translocon and therefore rely on local sequence context for membrane integration. How can such segments reside within the membrane? We will discuss this in the light of features found in the protein itself as well as the environment it resides in. Several characteristics in proteins have been described to influence the insertion of marginally hydrophobic helices. Additionally, the influence of biological membranes is significant. To begin with, the actual cost for having polar groups within the membrane may not be as high as expected; the presence of proteins in the membrane as well as characteristics of some amino acids may enable a transmembrane helix to harbor a charged residue. The lipid environment has also been shown to directly influence the topology as well as membrane boundaries of transmembrane helices-implying a dynamic relationship between membrane proteins and their environment. © 2015 The Protein Society.

  18. How optimization of potential functions affects protein folding.

    PubMed Central

    Hao, M H; Scheraga, H A

    1996-01-01

    The relationship between the optimization of the potential function and the foldability of theoretical protein models is studied based on investigations of a 27-mer cubic-lattice protein model and a more realistic lattice model for the protein crambin. In both the simple and the more complicated systems, optimization of the energy parameters achieves significant improvements in the statistical-mechanical characteristics of the systems and leads to foldable protein models in simulation experiments. The foldability of the protein models is characterized by their statistical-mechanical properties--e.g., by the density of states and by Monte Carlo folding simulations of the models. With optimized energy parameters, a high level of consistency exists among different interactions in the native structures of the protein models, as revealed by a correlation function between the optimized energy parameters and the native structure of the model proteins. The results of this work are relevant to the design of a general potential function for folding proteins by theoretical simulations. PMID:8643516

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geer, M. Ariel; Fitzgerald, Michael C.

    2014-06-01

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

  20. Modeling chain folding in protein-constrained circular DNA.

    PubMed Central

    Martino, J A; Olson, W K

    1998-01-01

    An efficient method for sampling equilibrium configurations of DNA chains binding one or more DNA-bending proteins is presented. The technique is applied to obtain the tertiary structures of minimal bending energy for a selection of dinucleosomal minichromosomes that differ in degree of protein-DNA interaction, protein spacing along the DNA chain contour, and ring size. The protein-bound portions of the DNA chains are represented by tight, left-handed supercoils of fixed geometry. The protein-free regions are modeled individually as elastic rods. For each random spatial arrangement of the two nucleosomes assumed during a stochastic search for the global minimum, the paths of the flexible connecting DNA segments are determined through a numerical solution of the equations of equilibrium for torsionally relaxed elastic rods. The minimal energy forms reveal how protein binding and spacing and plasmid size differentially affect folding and offer new insights into experimental minichromosome systems. PMID:9591675

  1. Work done by titin protein folding assists muscle contraction

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  2. Work Done by Titin Protein Folding Assists Muscle Contraction.

    PubMed

    Rivas-Pardo, Jaime Andrés; Eckels, Edward C; Popa, Ionel; Kosuri, Pallav; Linke, Wolfgang A; Fernández, Julio M

    2016-02-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wolynes, Peter G.

    1997-01-01

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

  4. The ensemble folding kinetics of protein G from an all-atom Monte Carlo simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shimada, Jun; Shakhnovich, Eugene I.

    2002-08-01

    Protein G is folded with an all-atom Monte Carlo simulation by using a G potential. When folding is monitored by using burial of the lone tryptophan in protein G as the reaction coordinate, the ensemble kinetics is single exponential. Other experimental observations, such as the burst phase and mutational data, are also reproduced. However, more detailed analysis reveals that folding occurs over three distinct, three-state pathways. We show that, because of this tryptophan's asymmetric location in the tertiary fold, its burial (i) does not detect certain intermediates and (ii) may not correspond to the folding event. This finding demonstrates that ensemble averaging can disguise the presence of multiple pathways and intermediates when a non-ideal reaction coordinate is used. Finally, all observed folding pathways eventually converge to a common rate-limiting step, which is the formation of a specific nucleus involving hydrophobic core residues. These residues are conserved in the ubiquitin superfamily and in a phage display experiment, suggesting that fold topology is a strong determinant of the transition state.

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

    PubMed Central

    De Marothy, Minttu T; Elofsson, Arne

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Twin-arginine-dependent translocation of folded proteins.

    PubMed

    Fröbel, Julia; Rose, Patrick; Müller, Matthias

    2012-04-19

    Twin-arginine translocation (Tat) denotes a protein transport pathway in bacteria, archaea and plant chloroplasts, which is specific for precursor proteins harbouring a characteristic twin-arginine pair in their signal sequences. Many Tat substrates receive cofactors and fold prior to translocation. For a subset of them, proofreading chaperones coordinate maturation and membrane-targeting. Tat translocases comprise two kinds of membrane proteins, a hexahelical TatC-type protein and one or two members of the single-spanning TatA protein family, called TatA and TatB. TatC- and TatA-type proteins form homo- and hetero-oligomeric complexes. The subunits of TatABC translocases are predominantly recovered from two separate complexes, a TatBC complex that might contain some TatA, and a homomeric TatA complex. TatB and TatC coordinately recognize twin-arginine signal peptides and accommodate them in membrane-embedded binding pockets. Advanced binding of the signal sequence to the Tat translocase requires the proton-motive force (PMF) across the membranes and might involve a first recruitment of TatA. When targeted in this manner, folded twin-arginine precursors induce homo-oligomerization of TatB and TatA. Ultimately, this leads to the formation of a transmembrane protein conduit that possibly consists of a pore-like TatA structure. The translocation step again is dependent on the PMF.

  7. Twin-arginine-dependent translocation of folded proteins

    PubMed Central

    Fröbel, Julia; Rose, Patrick; Müller, Matthias

    2012-01-01

    Twin-arginine translocation (Tat) denotes a protein transport pathway in bacteria, archaea and plant chloroplasts, which is specific for precursor proteins harbouring a characteristic twin-arginine pair in their signal sequences. Many Tat substrates receive cofactors and fold prior to translocation. For a subset of them, proofreading chaperones coordinate maturation and membrane-targeting. Tat translocases comprise two kinds of membrane proteins, a hexahelical TatC-type protein and one or two members of the single-spanning TatA protein family, called TatA and TatB. TatC- and TatA-type proteins form homo- and hetero-oligomeric complexes. The subunits of TatABC translocases are predominantly recovered from two separate complexes, a TatBC complex that might contain some TatA, and a homomeric TatA complex. TatB and TatC coordinately recognize twin-arginine signal peptides and accommodate them in membrane-embedded binding pockets. Advanced binding of the signal sequence to the Tat translocase requires the proton-motive force (PMF) across the membranes and might involve a first recruitment of TatA. When targeted in this manner, folded twin-arginine precursors induce homo-oligomerization of TatB and TatA. Ultimately, this leads to the formation of a transmembrane protein conduit that possibly consists of a pore-like TatA structure. The translocation step again is dependent on the PMF. PMID:22411976

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-04-08

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

  9. Saddles of the energy landscape and folding of model proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angelani, L.; Ruocco, G.

    2009-07-01

    We numerically investigate the Potential Energy Landscape of an off-lattice β-sheet model protein, looking at saddles and minima probed by the system during the folding process. G {\\bar o} - like (with native-state-dependent force field and funnel-like landscape) and non-G {\\bar o} -like models are considered. In the G {\\bar o} -like case, on varying the temperature, we observe: i) a pronounced peak at the collapse/folding temperature T θsimeTf in the energy elevation of visited saddles from underlying minima, ii) a crossover at the same point of the saddle order. Saddles-based quantities seem then to be good candidates as indicators of the funneled shape of the landscape in protein models.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Ruben A. Abagyan

    2000-06-01

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

  11. Transition path sampling of protein conformational changes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juraszek, Jarek; Vreede, Jocelyne; Bolhuis, Peter G.

    2012-03-01

    Conformational changes in proteins often take place on long time scales compared to the molecular timescale. These long time scales, related to high free energy barriers, make such processes difficult to access with a straightforward molecular dynamics approach. The transition path sampling technique has been developed to overcome such timescale differences without assuming a predefined reaction coordinate. We review the transition path sampling methodology with the application of protein conformational change in mind. Using three case studies, based on previous work, we elucidate the strengths and pitfalls of the method. First, the extensive work on the folding of Trp-cage reveals how to sample parallel pathways, how to obtain rate constants, and how to extract reaction coordinates. The second case-study, on the folding of Trpzip4 β-hairpin, illustrates how to treat long-lived intermediates in a conformational change. The final example showcases the light-triggered conformational transition of Photo-active Yellow Protein into its signaling state, highlighting the wealth of insight that can be gathered from a transition path sampling approach, including new hypotheses for reaction mechanisms. We end with an outlook discussing future developments and application of the methodology.

  12. Protein folding on the ribosome studied using NMR spectroscopy

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  13. Common fold in helix-hairpin-helix proteins.

    PubMed

    Shao, X; Grishin, N V

    2000-07-15

    Helix-hairpin-helix (HhH) is a widespread motif involved in non-sequence-specific DNA binding. The majority of HhH motifs function as DNA-binding modules, however, some of them are used to mediate protein-protein interactions or have acquired enzymatic activity by incorporating catalytic residues (DNA glycosylases). From sequence and structural analysis of HhH-containing proteins we conclude that most HhH motifs are integrated as a part of a five-helical domain, termed (HhH)(2) domain here. It typically consists of two consecutive HhH motifs that are linked by a connector helix and displays pseudo-2-fold symmetry. (HhH)(2) domains show clear structural integrity and a conserved hydrophobic core composed of seven residues, one residue from each alpha-helix and each hairpin, and deserves recognition as a distinct protein fold. In addition to known HhH in the structures of RuvA, RadA, MutY and DNA-polymerases, we have detected new HhH motifs in sterile alpha motif and barrier-to-autointegration factor domains, the alpha-subunit of Escherichia coli RNA-polymerase, DNA-helicase PcrA and DNA glycosylases. Statistically significant sequence similarity of HhH motifs and pronounced structural conservation argue for homology between (HhH)(2) domains in different protein families. Our analysis helps to clarify how non-symmetric protein motifs bind to the double helix of DNA through the formation of a pseudo-2-fold symmetric (HhH)(2) functional unit.

  14. Influence of the native topology on the folding barrier for small proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prieto, Lidia; Rey, Antonio

    2007-11-01

    The possibility of downhill instead of two-state folding for proteins has been a very controversial topic which arose from recent experimental studies. From the theoretical side, this question has also been accomplished in different ways. Given the experimental observation that a relationship exists between the native structure topology of a protein and the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of its folding process, Gō-type potentials are an appropriate way to approach this problem. In this work, we employ an interaction potential from this family to get a better insight on the topological characteristics of the native state that may somehow determine the presence of a thermodynamic barrier in the folding pathway. The results presented here show that, indeed, the native topology of a small protein has a great influence on its folding behavior, mostly depending on the proportion of local and long range contacts the protein has in its native structure. Furthermore, when all the interactions present contribute in a balanced way, the transition results to be cooperative. Otherwise, the tendency to a downhill folding behavior increases.

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

    PubMed Central

    Aksel, Tural; Majumdar, Ananya; Barrick, Doug

    2011-01-01

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

  16. Kinetics of chain motions within a protein-folding intermediate

    PubMed Central

    Neuweiler, Hannes; Banachewicz, Wiktor; Fersht, Alan R.

    2010-01-01

    Small proteins can fold remarkably rapidly, even in μs. What limits their rate of folding? The Engrailed homeodomain is a particularly well-characterized example, which folds ultrafast via an intermediate, I, of solved structure. It is a puzzle that the helix2-turn-helix3 motif of the 3-helix bundle forms in approximately 2 μs, but the final docking of preformed helix1 in I requires approximately 20 μs. Simulation and structural data suggest that nonnative interactions may slow down helix docking. Here we report the direct measurement of chain motions in I by using photoinduced electron transfer fluorescence-quenching correlation spectroscopy (PET-FCS). We use a mutant that traps I at physiological ionic strength but refolds at higher ionic strength. A single Trp in helix3 quenches the fluorescence of an extrinsic label on contact with it. We placed the label along the sequence to probe segmental chain motions. At high ionic strength, we found two relaxations for all probed positions on the 2- and 20-μs time scale, corresponding to the known folding processes, and a 200-ns phase attributable to loop closure kinetics in the unfolded state. At low ionic strength, we found only the 2-μs and 200-ns phase for labels in the helix2-turn-helix3 motif of I, because the native state is not significantly populated. But for labels in helix1 we observed an additional approximately 10-μs phase showing that it was moving slowly, with a rate constant similar to that for overall folding under native conditions. Folding was rate-limited by chain motions on a rough energy surface where nonnative interactions constrain motion. PMID:21135210

  17. Protein Folding, Stability, and Solvation Structure in Osmolyte Solutions

    PubMed Central

    Rösgen, Jörg; Pettitt, B. Montgomery; Bolen, David Wayne

    2005-01-01

    An understanding of the impact of the crowded conditions in the cytoplasm on its biomolecules is of clear importance to biochemical, medical, and pharmaceutical science. Our previous work on the use of small biochemical compounds to crowd protein solutions indicates that a quantitative description of their nonideal behavior is possible and straightforward. Here, we show the structural origin of the nonideal solution behavior. We discuss the consequences of these findings regarding protein folding stability and solvation in crowded solutions through a structural analysis of the m-value or the change in free-energy difference of a macromolecule in solution with respect to the concentration of a third component. PMID:16113118

  18. Sphingolipid transfer proteins defined by the GLTP-fold

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. Redox-Assisted Protein Folding Systems in Eukaryotic Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Haque, Saikh Jaharul; Majumdar, Tanmay

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Significance: The cysteine (Cys) residues of proteins play two fundamentally important roles. They serve as sites of post-translational redox modifications as well as influence the conformation of the protein through the formation of disulfide bonds. Recent Advances: Redox-related and redox-associated protein folding in protozoan parasites has been found to be a major mode of regulation, affecting myriad aspects of the parasitic life cycle, host-parasite interactions, and the disease pathology. Available genome sequences of various parasites have begun to complement the classical biochemical and enzymological studies of these processes. In this article, we summarize the reversible Cys disulfide (S-S) bond formation in various classes of strategically important parasitic proteins, and its structural consequence and functional relevance. Critical Issues: Molecular mechanisms of folding remain under-studied and often disconnected from functional relevance. Future Directions: The clinical benefit of redox research will require a comprehensive characterization of the various isoforms and paralogs of the redox enzymes and their concerted effect on the structure and function of the specific parasitic client proteins. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 17, 674–683. PMID:22122448

  20. The protein folding problem: global optimization of the force fields.

    PubMed

    Scheraga, H A; Liwo, A; Oldziej, S; Czaplewski, C; Pillardy, J; Ripoll, D R; Vila, J A; Kazmierkiewicz, R; Saunders, J A; Arnautova, Y A; Jagielska, A; Chinchio, M; Nanias, M

    2004-09-01

    The evolutionary development of a theoretical approach to the protein folding problem, in our laboratory, is traced. The theoretical foundations and the development of a suitable empirical all-atom potential energy function and a global optimization search are examined. Whereas the all-atom approach has thus far succeeded for relatively small molecules and for alpha-helical proteins containing up to 46 residues, it has been necessary to develop a hierarchical approach to treat larger proteins. In the hierarchical approach to single- and multiple-chain proteins, global optimization is carried out for a simplified united residue (UNRES) description of a polypeptide chain to locate the region in which the global minimum lies. Conversion of the UNRES structures in this region to all-atom structures is followed by a local search in this region. The performance of this approach in successive CASP blind tests for predicting protein structure by an ab initio physics-based method is described. Finally, a recent attempt to compute a folding pathway is discussed.

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

    PubMed Central

    Sarkar, Aurijit; Kellogg, Glen E.

    2009-01-01

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

  2. Protein GB1 Folding and Assembly from Structural Elements

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

  3. Common fold in helix–hairpin–helix proteins

    PubMed Central

    Shao, Xuguang; Grishin, Nick V.

    2000-01-01

    Helix–hairpin–helix (HhH) is a widespread motif involved in non-sequence-specific DNA binding. The majority of HhH motifs function as DNA-binding modules, however, some of them are used to mediate protein–protein interactions or have acquired enzymatic activity by incorporating catalytic residues (DNA glycosylases). From sequence and structural analysis of HhH-containing proteins we conclude that most HhH motifs are integrated as a part of a five-helical domain, termed (HhH)2 domain here. It typically consists of two consecutive HhH motifs that are linked by a connector helix and displays pseudo-2-fold symmetry. (HhH)2 domains show clear structural integrity and a conserved hydrophobic core composed of seven residues, one residue from each α-helix and each hairpin, and deserves recognition as a distinct protein fold. In addition to known HhH in the structures of RuvA, RadA, MutY and DNA-polymerases, we have detected new HhH motifs in sterile alpha motif and barrier-to-autointegration factor domains, the α-subunit of Escherichia coli RNA-polymerase, DNA-helicase PcrA and DNA glyco­s­y­lases. Statistically significant sequence similarity of HhH motifs and pronounced structural conservation argue for homology between (HhH)2 domains in different protein families. Our analysis helps to clarify how non-symmetric protein motifs bind to the double helix of DNA through the formation of a pseudo-2-fold symmetric (HhH)2 functional unit. PMID:10908318

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  6. Coarse semiempirical solution to the protein folding problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernández, Ariel; Colubri, Andrés; Appignanesi, Gustavo; Burastero, Teresita

    2001-04-01

    We introduce a semiempirical theory leading to the ab initio prediction of conducive folding pathways and coarsely resolved native backbone geometries of proteins suddenly exposed to in vitro renaturation conditions. The underlying model incorporates a discrete codification of local steric hindrances of the peptide backbone. We first determine a time-evolving finite set of local torsional constraints upon which large-scale organization is built. Thus, the torsional state of the chain is topologically represented by viewing the ( Φ, Ψ)-state of each residue modulo the basin of attraction to which it belongs in the Ramachandran plot. A grammar to combine such coarsely defined torsional states (topologies) and translate them into meaningful patterns of long-range interactions is developed. An algorithm for structure prediction is shown to emerge once this grammar is combined with prescriptions for the time evolution of topological patterns. This algorithm is rooted in the fact that local contributions to the potential energy may be subsumed into time-evolving conformational constraints coarsely defining sets of restricted backbone geometries responsible for framing the patterns of nonbonded interactions. The predictive power of the algorithm is established by obtaining stable topologies of small proteins, which prove to be compatible with their native folds, and computing ab-initio folding pathways for mammalian ubiquitin that ultimately yield a stable structural pattern reproducing its native features.

  7. Coupled Protein Diffusion and Folding in the Cell

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Minghao; Gelman, Hannah; Gruebele, Martin

    2014-01-01

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

  8. Predictive energy landscapes for folding membrane protein assemblies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  9. Energetic and structural consequences of desolvation/solvation barriers to protein folding/unfolding assessed from experimental unfolding rates.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-Larrea, David; Ibarra-Molero, Beatriz; Sanchez-Ruiz, Jose M

    2006-09-01

    Theoretical work has suggested the existence of solvation/desolvation barriers in protein folding/unfolding processes. We propose that the energetic and structural consequences of such barriers for the folding transition state can be assessed from experimental unfolding rates using well-established structure-energetics relationships. For a set of proteins of size within the 60-130 number-of-residues range, we find energetic effects associated to solvation/desolvation on the order of 10(2) kJ/mol. This supports that the folding transition states may be characterized by large networks of water-unsatisfied, broken internal contacts. In terms of buried surface, we estimate the typical network size to be on the order of several thousands of A2, or approximately 50% of the total change in accessible surface area upon unfolding. The analyses reported here thus suggest a clear structural picture for the different energetic balance of native and folding transition states.

  10. High-pressure NMR techniques for the study of protein dynamics, folding and aggregation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, Luan M.; Roche, Julien

    2017-04-01

    High-pressure is a well-known perturbation method used to destabilize globular proteins and dissociate protein complexes or aggregates. The heterogeneity of the response to pressure offers a unique opportunity to dissect the thermodynamic contributions to protein stability. In addition, pressure perturbation is generally reversible, which is essential for a proper thermodynamic characterization of a protein equilibrium. When combined with NMR spectroscopy, hydrostatic pressure offers the possibility of monitoring at an atomic resolution the structural transitions occurring upon unfolding and determining the kinetic properties of the process. The recent development of commercially available high-pressure sample cells greatly increased the potential applications for high-pressure NMR experiments that can now be routinely performed. This review summarizes the recent applications and future directions of high-pressure NMR techniques for the characterization of protein conformational fluctuations, protein folding and the stability of protein complexes and aggregates.

  11. Evolutionary bridges to new protein folds: design of C-terminal Cro protein chameleon sequences

    PubMed Central

    Anderson, William J.; Van Dorn, Laura O.; Ingram, Wendy M.; Cordes, Matthew H. J.

    2011-01-01

    Regions of amino-acid sequence that are compatible with multiple folds may facilitate evolutionary transitions in protein structure. In a previous study, we described a heuristically designed chameleon sequence (SASF1, structurally ambivalent sequence fragment 1) that could adopt either of two naturally occurring conformations (α-helical or β-sheet) when incorporated as part of the C-terminal dimerization subdomain of two structurally divergent transcription factors, P22 Cro and λ Cro. Here we describe longer chameleon designs (SASF2 and SASF3) that in the case of SASF3 correspond to the full C-terminal half of the ordered region of a P22 Cro/λ Cro sequence alignment (residues 34–57). P22-SASF2 and λWDD-SASF2 show moderate thermal stability in denaturation curves monitored by circular dichroism (Tm values of 46 and 55°C, respectively), while P22-SASF3 and λWDD-SASF3 have somewhat reduced stability (Tm values of 33 and 49°C, respectively). 13C and 1H NMR secondary chemical shift analysis confirms two C-terminal α-helices for P22-SASF2 (residues 36–45 and 54–57) and two C-terminal β-strands for λWDD-SASF2 (residues 40–45 and 50–52), corresponding to secondary structure locations in the two parent sequences. Backbone relaxation data show that both chameleon sequences have a relatively well-ordered structure. Comparisons of 15N-1H correlation spectra for SASF2 and SASF3-containing proteins strongly suggest that SASF3 retains the chameleonism of SASF2. Both Cro C-terminal conformations can be encoded in a single sequence, showing the plausibility of linking different Cro folds by smooth evolutionary transitions. The N-terminal subdomain, though largely conserved in structure, also exerts an important contextual influence on the structure of the C-terminal region. PMID:21676898

  12. Consistency in structural energetics of protein folding and peptide recognition.

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, C.; Cornette, J. L.; Delisi, C.

    1997-01-01

    We report a new free energy decomposition that includes structure-derived atomic contact energies for the desolvation component, and show that it applies equally well to the analysis of single-domain protein folding and to the binding of flexible peptides to proteins. Specifically, we selected the 17 single-domain proteins for which the three-dimensional structures and thermodynamic unfolding free energies are available. By calculating all terms except the backbone conformational entropy change and comparing the result to the experimentally measured free energy, we estimated that the mean entropy gain by the backbone chain upon unfolding (delta Sbb) is 5.3 cal/K per mole of residue, and that the average backbone entropy for glycine is 6.7 cal/K. Both numbers are in close agreement with recent estimates made by entirely different methods, suggesting a promising degree of consistency between data obtained from disparate sources. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the folding free energy indicates that the unfavorable backbone entropy for each of the proteins is balanced predominantly by favorable backbone interactions. Finally, because the binding of flexible peptides to receptors is physically similar to folding, the free energy function should, in principle, be equally applicable to flexible docking. By combining atomic contact energies, electrostatics, and sequence-dependent backbone entropy, we calculated a priori the free energy changes associated with the binding of four different peptides to HLA-A2, 1 MHC molecule and found agreement with experiment to within 10% without parameter adjustment. PMID:9144777

  13. Effect of protein backbone folding on the stability of protein-ligand complexes.

    PubMed

    Estrada, Ernesto; Uriarte, Eugenio; Vilar, Santiago

    2006-01-01

    The role played by the degree of folding of protein backbones in explaining the binding energetics of protein-ligand interactions has been studied. We analyzed the protein/peptide interactions in the RNase-S system in which amino acids at two positions of the peptide S have been mutated. The global degree of folding of the protein S correlates in a significant way with the free energy and enthalpy of the protein-peptide interactions. A much better correlation is found with the local contribution to the degree of folding of one amino acid residue: Thr36. This residue is shown to have a destabilizing interaction with Lys41, which interacts directly with peptide S. Another system, consisting of the interactions of small organic molecules with HIV-1 protease was also studied. In this case, the global change in the degree of folding of the protease backbone does not explain the binding energetics of protein-ligand interactions. However, a significant correlation is observed between the free energy of binding and the contribution of two amino acid residues in the HVI-1 protease: Gly49 and Ile66. In general, it was observed that the changes in the degree of folding are not restricted to the binding site of the protein chain but are distributed along the whole protein backbone. This study provides a basis for further consideration of the degree of folding as a parameter for empirical structural parametrizations of the binding energetics of protein folding and binding.

  14. Template-directed protein folding into a metastable state of increased activity.

    PubMed

    Flecker, P

    1995-09-01

    The principal objective of this work was to distinguish between kinetic and thermodynamic reaction control in protein folding. The deleterious effects of a specific mutation on spontaneous refolding competence were analyzed for this purpose. A Bowman-Birk-type proteinase inhibitor of trypsin and chymotrypsin was selected as a double-headed model protein to facilitate the detection of functional irregularities by the use of functional assays. The parent protein spontaneously folds into a single, fully active and thermodynamically stable state in a redox buffer after reduction/denaturation. By contrast, the properties of a P'1Ser-->Pro variant in the trypsin-reactive subdomain differ before and after refolding on trypsin-Sepharose. A heterogenous and thermodynamically dominant population of conformers was attained in solution. However, the enzyme-inhibitory activity of the variant was dramatically increased in the presence of trypsin-Sepharose and a stoichiometric ratio of the two subdomains was obtained as expected for a single conformation. The subsequent return for the initial mixture of conformers in solution reveals a high kinetic barrier late in the folding process. The template facilitates folding kinetically, as shown by a rate acceleration of more than four orders of magnitude. The final state was also the thermodynamically favoured one on the template, due to its increased affinity for the enzyme. The long-range effects on folding kinetics and the partial activity, and the absence of free sulfhydryl groups after refolding in solution indicate rearrangements between closely related conformers late in folding. The importance of minor structural distortions in immobilized trypsin suggests a close structural analogy between the final and the transition state of protein folding.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-30

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

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

    DOEpatents

    Waldo, Geoffrey S.

    2007-09-18

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

  18. Microsecond simulations of the folding/unfolding thermodynamics of the Trp-cage mini protein

    PubMed Central

    Day, Ryan; Paschek, Dietmar; Garcia, Angel E.

    2012-01-01

    We study the unbiased folding/unfolding thermodynamics of the Trp-cage miniprotein using detailed molecular dynamics simulations of an all-atom model of the protein in explicit solvent, using the Amberff99SB force field. Replica-exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations are used to sample the protein ensembles over a broad range of temperatures covering the folded and unfolded states, and at two densities. The obtained ensembles are shown to reach equilibrium in the 1 μs per replica timescale. The total simulation time employed in the calculations exceeds 100 μs. Ensemble averages of the fraction folded, pressure, and energy differences between the folded and unfolded states as a function of temperature are used to model the free energy of the folding transition, ΔG(P,T), over the whole region of temperature and pressures sampled in the simulations. The ΔG(P,T) diagram describes an ellipse over the range of temperatures and pressures sampled, predicting that the system can undergo pressure induced unfolding and cold denaturation at low temperatures and high pressures, and unfolding at low pressures and high temperatures. The calculated free energy function exhibits remarkably good agreement with the experimental folding transition temperature (Tf = 321 K), free energy and specific heat changes. However, changes in enthalpy and entropy are significantly different than the experimental values. We speculate that these differences may be due to the simplicity of the semi-empirical force field used in the simulations and that more elaborate force fields may be required to describe appropriately the thermodynamics of proteins. PMID:20408169

  19. Exploring energy landscapes of protein folding and aggregation.

    PubMed

    Mousseau, Normand; Derreumaux, Philippe

    2008-05-01

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

  20. Dynamic Complexes in the Chaperonin-Mediated Protein Folding Cycle

    PubMed Central

    Weiss, Celeste; Jebara, Fady; Nisemblat, Shahar; Azem, Abdussalam

    2016-01-01

    The GroEL–GroES chaperonin system is probably one of the most studied chaperone systems at the level of the molecular mechanism. Since the first reports of a bacterial gene involved in phage morphogenesis in 1972, these proteins have stimulated intensive research for over 40 years. During this time, detailed structural and functional studies have yielded constantly evolving concepts of the chaperonin mechanism of action. Despite of almost three decades of research on this oligomeric protein, certain aspects of its function remain controversial. In this review, we highlight one central aspect of its function, namely, the active intermediates of its reaction cycle, and present how research to this day continues to change our understanding of chaperonin-mediated protein folding. PMID:28008398

  1. A comprehensive multidimensional-embedded, one-dimensional reaction coordinate for protein unfolding/folding.

    PubMed

    Toofanny, Rudesh D; Jonsson, Amanda L; Daggett, Valerie

    2010-06-02

    The goal of the Dynameomics project is to perform, store, and analyze molecular dynamics simulations of representative proteins, of all known globular folds, in their native state and along their unfolding pathways. To analyze unfolding simulations, the location of the protein along the unfolding reaction coordinate (RXN) must be determined. Properties such as the fraction of native contacts and radius of gyration are often used; however, there is an issue regarding degeneracy with these properties, as native and nonnative species can overlap. Here, we used 15 physical properties of the protein to construct a multidimensional-embedded, one-dimensional RXN coordinate that faithfully captures the complex nature of unfolding. The unfolding RXN coordinates for 188 proteins (1534 simulations and 22.9 mus in explicit water) were calculated. Native, transition, intermediate, and denatured states were readily identified with the use of this RXN coordinate. A global native ensemble based on the native-state properties of the 188 proteins was created. This ensemble was shown to be effective for calculating RXN coordinates for folds outside the initial 188 targets. These RXN coordinates enable, high-throughput assignment of conformational states, which represents an important step in comparing protein properties across fold space as well as characterizing the unfolding of individual proteins.

  2. Structural Characterization of the Early Events in the Nucleation-Condensation Mechanism in a Protein Folding Process.

    PubMed

    Kukic, Predrag; Pustovalova, Yulia; Camilloni, Carlo; Gianni, Stefano; Korzhnev, Dmitry M; Vendruscolo, Michele

    2017-05-24

    The nucleation-condensation mechanism represents a major paradigm to understand the folding process of many small globular proteins. Although substantial evidence has been acquired for this mechanism, it has remained very challenging to characterize the initial events leading to the formation of a folding nucleus. To achieve this goal, we used a combination of relaxation dispersion NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations to determine ensembles of conformations corresponding to the denatured, transition, and native states in the folding of the activation domain of human procarboxypeptidase A2 (ADA2h). We found that the residues making up the folding nucleus tend to interact in the denatured state in a transient manner and not simultaneously, thereby forming incomplete and distorted versions of the folding nucleus. Only when all the contacts between these key residues are eventually formed can the protein reach the transition state and continue folding. Overall, our results elucidate the mechanism of formation of the folding nucleus of a protein and provide insights into how its folding rate can be modified during evolution by mutations that modulate the strength of the interactions between the residues forming the folding nucleus.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-26

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

  4. Mapping the Geometric Evolution of Protein Folding Motor.

    PubMed

    Jerath, Gaurav; Hazam, Prakash Kishore; Shekhar, Shashi; Ramakrishnan, Vibin

    2016-01-01

    Polypeptide chain has an invariant main-chain and a variant side-chain sequence. How the side-chain sequence determines fold in terms of its chemical constitution has been scrutinized extensively and verified periodically. However, a focussed investigation on the directive effect of side-chain geometry may provide important insights supplementing existing algorithms in mapping the geometrical evolution of protein chains and its structural preferences. Geometrically, folding of protein structure may be envisaged as the evolution of its geometric variables: ϕ, and ψ dihedral angles of polypeptide main-chain directed by χ1, and χ2 of side chain. In this work, protein molecule is metaphorically modelled as a machine with 4 rotors ϕ, ψ, χ1 and χ2, with its evolution to the functional fold is directed by combinations of its rotor directions. We observe that differential rotor motions lead to different secondary structure formations and the combinatorial pattern is unique and consistent for particular secondary structure type. Further, we found that combination of rotor geometries of each amino acid is unique which partly explains how different amino acid sequence combinations have unique structural evolution and functional adaptation. Quantification of these amino acid rotor preferences, resulted in the generation of 3 substitution matrices, which later on plugged in the BLAST tool, for evaluating their efficiency in aligning sequences. We have employed BLOSUM62 and PAM30 as standard for primary evaluation. Generation of substitution matrices is a logical extension of the conceptual framework we attempted to build during the development of this work. Optimization of matrices following the conventional routines and possible application with biologically relevant data sets are beyond the scope of this manuscript, though it is a part of the larger project design.

  5. Mapping the Geometric Evolution of Protein Folding Motor

    PubMed Central

    Hazam, Prakash Kishore; Shekhar, Shashi

    2016-01-01

    Polypeptide chain has an invariant main-chain and a variant side-chain sequence. How the side-chain sequence determines fold in terms of its chemical constitution has been scrutinized extensively and verified periodically. However, a focussed investigation on the directive effect of side-chain geometry may provide important insights supplementing existing algorithms in mapping the geometrical evolution of protein chains and its structural preferences. Geometrically, folding of protein structure may be envisaged as the evolution of its geometric variables: ϕ, and ψ dihedral angles of polypeptide main-chain directed by χ1, and χ2 of side chain. In this work, protein molecule is metaphorically modelled as a machine with 4 rotors ϕ, ψ, χ1 and χ2, with its evolution to the functional fold is directed by combinations of its rotor directions. We observe that differential rotor motions lead to different secondary structure formations and the combinatorial pattern is unique and consistent for particular secondary structure type. Further, we found that combination of rotor geometries of each amino acid is unique which partly explains how different amino acid sequence combinations have unique structural evolution and functional adaptation. Quantification of these amino acid rotor preferences, resulted in the generation of 3 substitution matrices, which later on plugged in the BLAST tool, for evaluating their efficiency in aligning sequences. We have employed BLOSUM62 and PAM30 as standard for primary evaluation. Generation of substitution matrices is a logical extension of the conceptual framework we attempted to build during the development of this work. Optimization of matrices following the conventional routines and possible application with biologically relevant data sets are beyond the scope of this manuscript, though it is a part of the larger project design. PMID:27716851

  6. On the simulation of protein folding by short time scale molecular dynamics and distributed computing.

    PubMed

    Fersht, Alan R

    2002-10-29

    There are proposals to overcome the current incompatibilities between the time scales of protein folding and molecular dynamics simulation by using a large number of short simulations of only tens of nanoseconds (distributed computing). According to the principles of first-order kinetic processes, a sufficiently large number of short simulations will include, de facto, a small number of long time scale events that have proceeded to completion. But protein folding is not an elementary kinetic step: folding has a series of early conformational steps that lead to lag phases at the beginning of the kinetics. The presence of these lag phases can bias short simulations toward selecting minor pathways that have fewer or faster lag steps and so miss the major folding pathways. Attempts to circumvent the lags by using loosely coupled parallel simulations that search for first-order transitions are also problematic because of the difficulty of detecting transitions in molecular dynamics simulations. Nevertheless, the procedure of using parallel independent simulations is perfectly valid and quite feasible once the time scale of simulation proceeds past the lag phases into a single exponential region.

  7. Microsecond Microfluidic Mixing for Investigation of Protein Folding Kinetics

    SciTech Connect

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

    2005-02-10

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

  8. Microsecond Microfluidic Mixing for Investigation of Protein Folding Kinetics

    SciTech Connect

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

    2003-06-25

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

  9. Heuristic algorithm for off-lattice protein folding problem*

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Mao; Huang, Wen-qi

    2006-01-01

    Enlightened by the law of interactions among objects in the physical world, we propose a heuristic algorithm for solving the three-dimensional (3D) off-lattice protein folding problem. Based on a physical model, the problem is converted from a nonlinear constraint-satisfied problem to an unconstrained optimization problem which can be solved by the well-known gradient method. To improve the efficiency of our algorithm, a strategy was introduced to generate initial configuration. Computational results showed that this algorithm could find states with lower energy than previously proposed ground states obtained by nPERM algorithm for all chains with length ranging from 13 to 55. PMID:16365919

  10. Dynamic Folding Pathway Models of the Trp-Cage Protein

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Seung-Yeon

    2013-01-01

    Using action-derived molecular dynamics (ADMD), we study the dynamic folding pathway models of the Trp-cage protein by providing its sequential conformational changes from its initial disordered structure to the final native structure at atomic details. We find that the numbers of native contacts and native hydrogen bonds are highly correlated, implying that the native structure of Trp-cage is achieved through the concurrent formations of native contacts and native hydrogen bonds. In early stage, an unfolded state appears with partially formed native contacts (~40%) and native hydrogen bonds (~30%). Afterward, the folding is initiated by the contact of the side chain of Tyr3 with that of Trp6, together with the formation of the N-terminal α-helix. Then, the C-terminal polyproline structure docks onto the Trp6 and Tyr3 rings, resulting in the formations of the hydrophobic core of Trp-cage and its near-native state. Finally, the slow adjustment processes of the near-native states into the native structure are dominant in later stage. The ADMD results are in agreement with those of the experimental folding studies on Trp-cage and consistent with most of other computational studies. PMID:23865078

  11. Thermodynamic characterization of the osmolyte- and ligand-folded states of Bacillus subtilis ribonuclease P protein.

    PubMed

    Henkels, Christopher H; Oas, Terrence G

    2005-10-04

    In Bacillus subtilis, P protein is the noncatalytic component of ribonuclease P (RNase P) that is critical for achieving maximal nuclease activity under physiological conditions. P protein is predominantly unfolded (D) at neutral pH and low ionic strength; however, it folds upon the addition of sulfate anions (ligands) as well as the osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) [Henkels, C. H., Kurz, J. C., Fierke, C. A., and Oas, T. G. (2001) Biochemistry 40, 2777-2789]. Since the molecular mechanisms that drive protein folding for these two solutes are different, CD thermal denaturation studies were employed to dissect the thermodynamics of protein unfolding from the two folded states. A global fit of the free-energy of TMAO-folded P protein versus [TMAO] and temperature yields T(S), DeltaH(S), and DeltaC(p) of unfolding for the poorly populated, unliganded, folded state (N) in the absence of TMAO. These thermodynamic parameters were used in the fit of the data from the coupled unfolding/ligand dissociation reaction to obtain the sulfate dissociation constant (K(d)) and the DeltaH and DeltaC(p) of dissociation. These fits yielded a DeltaC(p) of protein unfolding of 826 +/- 23 cal mol(-)(1) K(-)(1) and a DeltaC(p) of 1554 +/- 29 cal mol(-)(1) K(-)(1) for the coupled unfolding and dissociation reaction (NL(2) --> D + 2L). The apparent stoichiometry of sulfate binding is two, so the DeltaC(p) increment of ligand dissociation is 363 +/- 9 cal mol(-)(1) K(-)(1) per site. Because N and NL(2) appear to be structurally similar and therefore similarly solvated using standard biophysical analyses, we attribute a substantial portion of this DeltaC(p) increment to an increase in conformational heterogeneity coincident with the NL(2) --> N + 2L transition.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  13. The Role of Atomic Level Steric Effects and Attractive Forces in Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Lammert, Heiko; Wolynes, Peter G.; Onuchic, José N.

    2011-01-01

    Protein folding into tertiary structures is controlled by an interplay of attractive contact interactions and steric effects. We investigate the balance between these contributions using structure-based models using an all-atom representation of the structure combined with a coarse-grained contact potential. Tertiary contact interactions between atoms are collected into a single broad attractive well between the Cβ atoms between each residue pair in a native contact. Through the width of these contact potentials we control their tolerance for deviations from the ideal structure and the spatial range of attractive interactions. In the compact native state dominant packing constraints limit the effects of a coarse-grained contact potential. During folding however the broad attractive potentials allow an early collapse that starts before the native local structure is completely adopted. As a consequence the folding transition is broadened and the free energy barrier is decreased. Eventually two-state folding behavior is lost completely for systems with very broad attractive potentials. The stabilization of native-like residue interactions in non-perfect geometries early in the folding process frequently leads to structural traps. Global mirror images are a notable example. These traps are penalized by the details of the repulsive interactions only after further collapse. Successful folding to the native state requires simultaneous guidance from both attractive and repulsive interactions. PMID:22081451

  14. Water mediation in protein folding and molecular recognition.

    PubMed

    Levy, Yaakov; Onuchic, José N

    2006-01-01

    Water is essential for life in many ways, and without it biomolecules might no longer truly be biomolecules. In particular, water is important to the structure, stability, dynamics, and function of biological macromolecules. In protein folding, water mediates the collapse of the chain and the search for the native topology through a funneled energy landscape. Water actively participates in molecular recognition by mediating the interactions between binding partners and contributes to either enthalpic or entropic stabilization. Accordingly, water must be included in recognition and structure prediction codes to capture specificity. Thus water should not be treated as an inert environment, but rather as an integral and active component of biomolecular systems, where it has both dynamic and structural roles. Focusing on water sheds light on the physics and function of biological machinery and self-assembly and may advance our understanding of the natural design of proteins and nucleic acids.

  15. Energy optimization for off-lattice protein folding.

    PubMed

    Huang, Wenqi; Chen, Mao; Lü, Zhipeng

    2006-10-01

    Two three-dimensional AB off-lattice protein models consisting of hydrophobic and hydrophilic monomers are studied in this paper. By incorporating an extra energy contribution into the original energy function, the protein folding is converted from a constraint optimization problem into an unconstrained one which can be solved by the well-known gradient method. From the initial configurations randomly generated by the heuristic strategy proposed in this paper, our algorithm can find better results than those by nPERM for the four Fibonacci sequences. Based on the initial configurations obtained by energy landscape paving (ELP) routine, some of our results for the lowest energies are better than the best values reported in the literature.

  16. Unique Features of the Folding Landscape of a Repeat Protein Revealed by Pressure Perturbation

    PubMed Central

    Rouget, Jean-Baptiste; Schroer, Martin A.; Jeworrek, Christoph; Pühse, Matthias; Saldana, Jean-Louis; Bessin, Yannick; Tolan, Metin; Barrick, Doug; Winter, Roland; Royer, Catherine A.

    2010-01-01

    Abstract The volumetric properties of proteins yield information about the changes in packing and hydration between various states along the folding reaction coordinate and are also intimately linked to the energetics and dynamics of these conformations. These volumetric characteristics can be accessed via pressure perturbation methods. In this work, we report high-pressure unfolding studies of the ankyrin domain of the Notch receptor (Nank1–7) using fluorescence, small-angle x-ray scattering, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Both equilibrium and pressure-jump kinetic fluorescence experiments were consistent with a simple two-state folding/unfolding transition under pressure, with a rather small volume change for unfolding compared to proteins of similar molecular weight. High-pressure fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and small-angle x-ray scattering measurements revealed that increasing urea over a very small range leads to a more expanded pressure unfolded state with a significant decrease in helical content. These observations underscore the conformational diversity of the unfolded-state basin. The temperature dependence of pressure-jump fluorescence relaxation measurements demonstrated that at low temperatures, the folding transition state ensemble (TSE) lies close in volume to the folded state, consistent with significant dehydration at the barrier. In contrast, the thermal expansivity of the TSE was found to be equivalent to that of the unfolded state, indicating that the interactions that constrain the folded-state thermal expansivity have not been established at the folding barrier. This behavior reveals a high degree of plasticity of the TSE of Nank1–7. PMID:20513416

  17. Unique features of the folding landscape of a repeat protein revealed by pressure perturbation.

    PubMed

    Rouget, Jean-Baptiste; Schroer, Martin A; Jeworrek, Christoph; Pühse, Matthias; Saldana, Jean-Louis; Bessin, Yannick; Tolan, Metin; Barrick, Doug; Winter, Roland; Royer, Catherine A

    2010-06-02

    The volumetric properties of proteins yield information about the changes in packing and hydration between various states along the folding reaction coordinate and are also intimately linked to the energetics and dynamics of these conformations. These volumetric characteristics can be accessed via pressure perturbation methods. In this work, we report high-pressure unfolding studies of the ankyrin domain of the Notch receptor (Nank1-7) using fluorescence, small-angle x-ray scattering, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Both equilibrium and pressure-jump kinetic fluorescence experiments were consistent with a simple two-state folding/unfolding transition under pressure, with a rather small volume change for unfolding compared to proteins of similar molecular weight. High-pressure fluorescence, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and small-angle x-ray scattering measurements revealed that increasing urea over a very small range leads to a more expanded pressure unfolded state with a significant decrease in helical content. These observations underscore the conformational diversity of the unfolded-state basin. The temperature dependence of pressure-jump fluorescence relaxation measurements demonstrated that at low temperatures, the folding transition state ensemble (TSE) lies close in volume to the folded state, consistent with significant dehydration at the barrier. In contrast, the thermal expansivity of the TSE was found to be equivalent to that of the unfolded state, indicating that the interactions that constrain the folded-state thermal expansivity have not been established at the folding barrier. This behavior reveals a high degree of plasticity of the TSE of Nank1-7. Copyright (c) 2010 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Species-specific protein sequence and fold optimizations

    PubMed Central

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

    2002-01-01

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

  19. Methyl Transfer by Substrate Signaling from a Knotted Protein Fold

    PubMed Central

    Christian, Thomas; Sakaguchi, Reiko; Perlinska, Agata P.; Lahoud, Georges; Ito, Takuhiro; Taylor, Erika A.; Yokoyama, Shigeyuki; Sulkowska, Joanna I.; Hou, Ya-Ming

    2017-01-01

    Proteins with knotted configurations are restricted in conformational space relative to unknotted proteins. Little is known if knotted proteins have sufficient dynamics to communicate between spatially separated substrate-binding sites. In bacteria, TrmD is a methyl transferase that uses a knotted protein fold to catalyze methyl transfer from S-adenosyl methionine (AdoMet) to G37-tRNA. The product m1G37-tRNA is essential for life as a determinant to maintain protein synthesis reading-frame. Using an integrated approach of structure, kinetic, and computational analysis, we show here that the structurally constrained TrmD knot is required for its catalytic activity. Unexpectedly, the TrmD knot has complex internal movements that respond to AdoMet binding and signaling. Most of the signaling propagates the free energy of AdoMet binding to stabilize tRNA binding and to assemble the active site. This work demonstrates new principles of knots as an organized structure that captures the free energies of substrate binding to facilitate catalysis. PMID:27571175

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

    PubMed

    Dyson, H Jane

    2011-11-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Dyson, H. Jane

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Buijsman, W; Sheinman, M

    2014-02-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buijsman, W.; Sheinman, M.

    2014-02-01

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

  4. Protein knotting through concatenation significantly reduces folding stability

    PubMed Central

    Hsu, Shang-Te Danny

    2016-01-01

    Concatenation by covalent linkage of two protomers of an intertwined all-helical HP0242 homodimer from Helicobacter pylori results in the first example of an engineered knotted protein. While concatenation does not affect the native structure according to X-ray crystallography, the folding kinetics is substantially slower compared to the parent homodimer. Using NMR hydrogen-deuterium exchange analysis, we showed here that concatenation destabilises significantly the knotted structure in solution, with some regions close to the covalent linkage being destabilised by as much as 5 kcal mol−1. Structural mapping of chemical shift perturbations induced by concatenation revealed a pattern that is similar to the effect induced by concentrated chaotrophic agent. Our results suggested that the design strategy of protein knotting by concatenation may be thermodynamically unfavourable due to covalent constrains imposed on the flexible fraying ends of the template structure, leading to rugged free energy landscape with increased propensity to form off-pathway folding intermediates. PMID:27982106

  5. Prediction of protein structure: the problem of fold multiplicity.

    PubMed

    Lomize, A L; Pogozheva, I D; Mosberg, H I

    1999-01-01

    Three-dimensional (3D) models of four CASP3 targets were calculated using a simple modeling procedure that includes prediction of regular secondary structure, analysis of possible beta-sheet topologies, assembly of amphiphilic helices and beta-sheets to bury their nonpolar surfaces, and adjustment of side-chain conformers and loops to provide close packing and saturation of the "hydrogen bond potential" (exposure of all polar groups to water or their involvement in intramolecular hydrogen bonds). It has been found that this approach allows construction of 3D models that, in some cases, properly reproduce the structural class of the protein (such as beta-barrel or beta-sandwich of definite shape and size) and details of tertiary structure (such as pairing of beta-strands), although all four models were more or less incorrect. Remarkably, some models had fewer water-exposed nonpolar side-chains, more hydrogen bonds, and smaller holes than the corresponding native structures (although the models had a larger water-accessible nonpolar surface). The results obtained indicate that hydrophobicity patterns do not unequivocally determine protein folds, and that any ab initio or fold recognition methods that operate with imprecise potential energy functions, or use crude geometrical approximations of the peptide chain, will probably produce many different nonnative structures.

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

    PubMed

    Solis, Armando D; Rackovsky, Shalom R

    2010-10-01

    The effectiveness of sequence alignment in detecting structural homology among protein sequences decreases markedly when pairwise sequence identity is low (the so-called "twilight zone" problem of sequence alignment). Alternative sequence comparison strategies able to detect structural kinship among highly divergent sequences are necessary to address this need. Among them are alignment-free methods, which use global sequence properties (such as amino acid composition) to identify structural homology in a rapid and straightforward way. We explore the viability of using tetramer sequence fragment composition profiles in finding structural relationships that lie undetected by traditional alignment. We establish a strategy to recast any given protein sequence into a tetramer sequence fragment composition profile, using a series of amino acid clustering steps that have been optimized for mutual information. Our method has the effect of compressing the set of 160,000 unique tetramers (if using the 20-letter amino acid alphabet) into a more tractable number of reduced tetramers (approximately 15-30), so that a meaningful tetramer composition profile can be constructed. We test remote homology detection at the topology and fold superfamily levels using a comprehensive set of fold homologs, culled from the CATH database that share low pairwise sequence similarity. Using the receiver-operating characteristic measure, we demonstrate potentially significant improvement in using information-optimized reduced tetramer composition, over methods relying only on the raw amino acid composition or on traditional sequence alignment, in homology detection at or below the "twilight zone". 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  7. Fold Homology Detection Using Sequence Fragment Composition Profiles of Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Solis, Armando D.; Rackovsky, Shalom R.

    2010-01-01

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

  8. Highly Anomalous Energetics of Protein Cold Denaturation Linked to Folding-Unfolding Kinetics

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Folding of proteins with an all-atom Go-model.

    PubMed

    Wu, L; Zhang, J; Qin, M; Liu, F; Wang, W

    2008-06-21

    The Go-like potential at a residual level has been successfully applied to the folding of proteins in many previous works. However, taking into consideration more detailed structural information in the atomic level, the definition of contacts used in these traditional Go-models may not be suitable for all-atom simulations. Here, in this work, we develop a rational definition of contacts considering the screening effect in the crowded intramolecular environment. In such a scheme, a large amount of screened atom pairs are excluded and the number of contacts is decreased compared to the case of the traditional definition. These contacts defined by such a new definition are compatible with the all-atom representation of protein structures. To verify the rationality of the new definition of contacts, the folding of proteins CI2 and SH3 is simulated by all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. A high folding cooperativity and good correlation of the simulated Phi-values with those obtained experimentally, especially for CI2, are found. This suggests that the all-atom Go-model is improved compared to the traditional Go-model. Based on the comparison of the Phi-values, the roles of side chains in the folding are discussed, and it is concluded that the side-chain structures are more important for local contacts in determining the transition state structures. Moreover, the relations between side chain and backbone orderings are also discussed.

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

    PubMed Central

    Muñoz, Victor; Cerminara, Michele

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Muñoz, Victor; Cerminara, Michele

    2016-09-01

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

  14. Disappearance of the negative charge in giant DNA with a folding transition.

    PubMed Central

    Yamasaki, Y; Teramoto, Y; Yoshikawa, K

    2001-01-01

    In the present study we measure the electrophoretic mobility of giant T4 DNA (166 kbp) by electrophoretic light scattering for the elongated and folded compact states at different spermidine (trivalent cation) concentrations in 50 mM sodium maleate buffer (pH 6.0). It is found that the electrophoretic mobility of elongated DNA in the absence of the multivalent cation is seven times greater than that of fully folded compact DNA, where, with the increase of the concentration of spermidine, an abrupt transition is generated after a gradual decrease of the mobility. An analysis of the electrophoretic mobility suggests that the folded compact DNA chains almost completely lose their negative charges, by taking into account the difference of friction mechanism between an elongated and folded compact state. From the single chain observation by use of fluorescence microscopy, it is found that a phase-segregated structure is generated at intermediate concentrations of spermidine. The gradual decrease of the electrophoretic mobility in the transition region is, thus, attributed to the formation of the segregated state, exhibiting partial electroneutralization in the folded part. Disappearance of the negative charges in the completely folded compact DNAs is discussed in relation to the mechanism of transition, in terms of a first-order phase transition. PMID:11371456

  15. Equilibrium distribution from distributed computing (simulations of protein folding).

    PubMed

    Scalco, Riccardo; Caflisch, Amedeo

    2011-05-19

    Multiple independent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are often carried out starting from a single protein structure or a set of conformations that do not correspond to a thermodynamic ensemble. Therefore, a significant statistical bias is usually present in the Markov state model generated by simply combining the whole MD sampling into a network whose nodes and links are clusters of snapshots and transitions between them, respectively. Here, we introduce a depth-first search algorithm to extract from the whole conformation space network the largest ergodic component, i.e., the subset of nodes of the network whose transition matrix corresponds to an ergodic Markov chain. For multiple short MD simulations of a globular protein (as in distributed computing), the steady state, i.e., stationary distribution determined using the largest ergodic component, yields more accurate free energy profiles and mean first passage times than the original network or the ergodic network obtained by imposing detailed balance by means of symmetrization of the transition counts.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-02-21

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

  17. Protein Motions and Folding Investigated by NMR Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palmer, Arthur

    2002-03-01

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

  18. Protein folding kinetics: barrier effects in chemical and thermal denaturation experiments

    PubMed Central

    Naganathan, Athi N.; Doshi, Urmi; Muñoz, Victor

    2008-01-01

    Recent experimental work on fast protein folding brings about an intriguing paradox. Microsecond-folding proteins are supposed to fold near or at the folding speed limit (downhill folding), but yet their folding behavior seems to comply with classical two-state analyses, which imply the crossing of high free energy barriers. However, close inspection of chemical and thermal denaturation kinetic experiments in fast-folding proteins reveals systematic deviations from two-state behavior. Using a simple one-dimensional free energy surface approach we find that such deviations are indeed diagnostic of marginal folding barriers. Furthermore, the quantitative analysis of available fast-kinetic data indicates that many microsecond-folding proteins fold downhill in native conditions. All of these proteins are then promising candidates for an atom-by-atom analysis of protein folding using nuclear magnetic resonance1. We also find that the diffusion coefficient for protein folding is strongly temperature dependent, corresponding to an activation energy of ~1 kJ.mol−1 per protein residue. As a consequence, the folding speed limit at room temperature is about an order of magnitude slower than the ~ 1μs estimates from high temperature T-jump experiments. Our analysis is quantitatively consistent with the available thermodynamic and kinetic data on two-state folding proteins, and provides a straightforward explanation for the apparent fast-folding paradox. PMID:17419630

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-20

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

  20. Overview of the regulation of disulfide bond formation in Peptide and protein folding.

    PubMed

    Hidaka, Yuji

    2014-04-01

    Disulfide bonds play a critical role in the maintenance of the native conformation of proteins under thermodynamic control. In general, disulfide bond formation is associated with protein folding, and this restricts the formation of folding intermediates such as misbridged disulfide isomers or kinetically trapped conformations, which provide important information related to how proteins fold into their native conformation. Therefore, numerous studies have focused on the structural analysis of folding intermediates in vitro. However, isolating or trapping folding intermediates, as well as the entire proteins, including mutant proteins, is not an easy task. Several chemical methods have recently been developed for examining peptide and protein folding and for producing, e.g., intact, post-translationally modified, or kinetically trapped proteins, or proteins with misbridged disulfide bonds. This overview introduces chemical methods for regulating the formation of disulfide bonds of peptides and proteins in the context of the thermodynamic and kinetic control of peptide and protein folding.

  1. Iron-nucleated Folding of a Metalloprotein in High Urea: Resolution of Metal Binding and Protein Folding Events†

    PubMed Central

    Morleo, Anna; Bonomi, Francesco; Iametti, Stefania; Huang, Victor W.; Kurtz, Donald M.

    2010-01-01

    Addition of iron salts to chaotrope-denatured aporubredoxin (apoRd) leads to nearly quantitative recovery of its single Fe(SCys)4 site and native protein structure without significant dilution of the chaotrope. This “high chaotrope” approach was used to examine iron binding and protein folding events using stopped-flow UV/vis absorption and CD spectroscopies. At 100-fold molar excess ferrous iron over denatured apoRd maintained in 5 M urea, the folded holoFeIIIRd structure was recovered in >90% yield with t1/2 < 10 msec. More modest excesses of iron also gave nearly quantitative holoRd formation in 5 M urea but with chronological resolution of iron binding and protein folding events. The results indicate structural recovery in 5 M urea consists of the minimal sequence: (1) binding of ferrous iron to the unfolded apoRd, (2) rapid formation of a near-native ferrous Fe(SCys)4 site within a protein having no detectable secondary structure, (3) recovery of the ferrous Fe(SCys)4 site chiral environment nearly concomitantly with (4) recovery of the native protein secondary structure. The rate of step 2 (and by inference, step 1) was not saturated even at 100-fold molar excess of iron. Analogous results obtained on Cys→Ser iron ligand variants support formation of an unfolded-Fe(SCys)3 complex between steps 1 and 2, which we propose is the key nucleation event that pulls distal regions of the protein chain together. These results show that folding of chaotrope-denatured apoRd is iron-nucleated and driven by extraordinarily rapid formation of the Fe(SCys)4 site from an essentially random coil apoprotein. This high chaotrope, multi-spectroscopic approach could clarify folding pathways of other [M(SCys)3 or 4]-containing proteins. PMID:20614892

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    Circumsporozoite (CS) protein is the major surface component of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites and is essential for host cell invasion. A vaccine containing tandem repeats, region III, and thrombospondin type-I repeat (TSR) of CS is efficacious in phase III trials but gives only a 35% reduction in severe malaria in the first year postimmunization. We solved crystal structures showing that region III and TSR fold into a single unit, an “αTSR” domain. The αTSR domain possesses a hydrophobic pocket and core, missing in TSR domains. CS binds heparin, but αTSR does not. Interestingly, polymorphic T-cell epitopes map to specialized αTSR regions. The N and C termini are unexpectedly close, providing clues for sporozoite sheath organization. Elucidation of a unique structure of a domain within CS enables rational design of next-generation subunit vaccines and functional and medicinal chemical investigation of the conserved hydrophobic pocket. PMID:22547819

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-10-09

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

  4. Initial assembly steps of a translocase for folded proteins

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  5. Initial assembly steps of a translocase for folded proteins.

    PubMed

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

    2015-06-11

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

  6. Highly Diverse Protein Library Based on the Ubiquitous (β/α)8 Enzyme Fold Yields Well-Structured Proteins Through In Vitro Folding Selection

    PubMed Central

    Golynskiy, Misha V.; Haugner, John C.

    2013-01-01

    Proper protein folding is a prerequisite for protein stability and enzymatic activity. While directed evolution can be a powerful tool to investigate enzymatic function and to isolate novel activities, well-designed libraries of folded proteins are essential. In vitro selection methods are particularly capable of searching for enzymatic activities in libraries of trillions of protein variants, yet high-quality libraries of well-folded enzymes with such high diversity are lacking. We describe the construction and detailed characterization of a folding-enriched protein library based on the ubiquitous (β/α)8 barrel fold found in five of the six enzyme classes. We introduced seven randomized loops on the catalytic face of the monomeric, thermostable (β/α)8 barrel of glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (GDPD) from Thermotoga maritima. We employed an in vitro folding selection based on protease digestion to enrich intermediate libraries containing three to four randomized loops for folded variants and then combined them to assemble the final library (1014 DNA sequences). The resulting library was analyzed using the in vitro protease assay and an in vivo GFP-folding assay and contains ~1012 soluble monomeric protein variants. We isolated six library members and demonstrated that these proteins are soluble, monomeric and show (β/α)8 barrel fold-like secondary and tertiary structure. The quality of the folding-enriched library improved up to 50-fold compared to a control library that was assembled without the folding selection. To the best of our knowledge, this work is the first example of combining the ultra-high throughput method mRNA display with a selection for folding. The resulting (β/α)8 barrel libraries provide a valuable starting point to study the unique catalytic capabilities of the (β/α)8 fold, and to isolate novel enzymes. PMID:23956201

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  8. A single aromatic core mutation converts a designed "primitive" protein from halophile to mesophile folding.

    PubMed

    Longo, Liam M; Tenorio, Connie A; Kumru, Ozan S; Middaugh, C Russell; Blaber, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The halophile environment has a number of compelling aspects with regard to the origin of structured polypeptides (i.e., proteogenesis) and, instead of a curious niche that living systems adapted into, the halophile environment is emerging as a candidate "cradle" for proteogenesis. In this viewpoint, a subsequent halophile-to-mesophile transition was a key step in early evolution. Several lines of evidence indicate that aromatic amino acids were a late addition to the codon table and not part of the original "prebiotic" set comprising the earliest polypeptides. We test the hypothesis that the availability of aromatic amino acids could facilitate a halophile-to-mesophile transition by hydrophobic core-packing enhancement. The effects of aromatic amino acid substitutions were evaluated in the core of a "primitive" designed protein enriched for the 10 prebiotic amino acids (A,D,E,G,I,L,P,S,T,V)-having an exclusively prebiotic core and requiring halophilic conditions for folding. The results indicate that a single aromatic amino acid substitution is capable of eliminating the requirement of halophile conditions for folding of a "primitive" polypeptide. Thus, the availability of aromatic amino acids could have facilitated a critical halophile-to-mesophile protein folding adaptation-identifying a selective advantage for the incorporation of aromatic amino acids into the codon table.

  9. Differential scanning calorimetry as a tool for protein folding and stability.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Christopher M

    2013-03-01

    Differential scanning calorimetry measures the heat capacity of states and the excess heat associated with transitions that can be induced by temperature change. The integral of the excess heat capacity is the enthalpy for this process. Despite this potentially intimidating sounding physical chemistry background, DSC has found almost universal application in studying biological macromolecules. In the case of proteins, DSC can be used to determine equilibrium thermodynamic stability and folding mechanism but can also be used in a more qualitative manner screening for thermal stability as an indicator for, ligand binding, pharmaceutical formulation or conditions conducive to crystal growth. DSC usually forms part of a wider biophysical characterisation of the biological system of interest and so the literature is diverse and difficult to categorise for the technique in isolation. This review therefore describes the potential uses of DSC in studying protein folding and stability, giving brief examples of applications from the recent literature. There have also been some interesting developments in the use of DSC to determine barrier heights for fast folding proteins and in studying complex protein mixtures such as human plasma that are considered in more detail.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Brian

    2006-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Brian

    2006-01-01

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

  12. Evolutionary bridges to new protein folds: design of C-terminal Cro protein chameleon sequences.

    PubMed

    Anderson, William J; Van Dorn, Laura O; Ingram, Wendy M; Cordes, Matthew H J

    2011-09-01

    Regions of amino-acid sequence that are compatible with multiple folds may facilitate evolutionary transitions in protein structure. In a previous study, we described a heuristically designed chameleon sequence (SASF1, structurally ambivalent sequence fragment 1) that could adopt either of two naturally occurring conformations (α-helical or β-sheet) when incorporated as part of the C-terminal dimerization subdomain of two structurally divergent transcription factors, P22 Cro and λ Cro. Here we describe longer chameleon designs (SASF2 and SASF3) that in the case of SASF3 correspond to the full C-terminal half of the ordered region of a P22 Cro/λ Cro sequence alignment (residues 34-57). P22-SASF2 and λ(WDD)-SASF2 show moderate thermal stability in denaturation curves monitored by circular dichroism (T(m) values of 46 and 55°C, respectively), while P22-SASF3 and λ(WDD)-SASF3 have somewhat reduced stability (T(m) values of 33 and 49°C, respectively). (13)C and (1)H NMR secondary chemical shift analysis confirms two C-terminal α-helices for P22-SASF2 (residues 36-45 and 54-57) and two C-terminal β-strands for λ(WDD)-SASF2 (residues 40-45 and 50-52), corresponding to secondary structure locations in the two parent sequences. Backbone relaxation data show that both chameleon sequences have a relatively well-ordered structure. Comparisons of (15)N-(1)H correlation spectra for SASF2 and SASF3-containing proteins strongly suggest that SASF3 retains the chameleonism of SASF2. Both Cro C-terminal conformations can be encoded in a single sequence, showing the plausibility of linking different Cro folds by smooth evolutionary transitions. The N-terminal subdomain, though largely conserved in structure, also exerts an important contextual influence on the structure of the C-terminal region.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Hai-Guang; Tang, Lei-Han

    2006-11-01

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

  14. Confinement Effects on the Thermodynamics of Protein Folding: Monte Carlo Simulations

    PubMed Central

    Rathore, Nitin; Knotts, Thomas A.; de Pablo, Juan J.

    2006-01-01

    The effects of chaperonin-like cage-induced confinement on protein stability have been studied for molecules of varying sizes and topologies. Minimalist models based on Gō-like interactions are employed for the proteins, and density-of-states-based Monte Carlo simulations are performed to accurately characterize the thermodynamic transitions. This method permits efficient sampling of conformational space and yields precise estimates of free energy and entropic changes associated with protein folding. We find that confinement-driven stabilization is not only dependent on protein size and cage radius, but also on the specific topology. The choice of the confining potential is also shown to have an effect on the observed stabilization and the scaling behavior of the stabilization with respect to the cage size. PMID:16361344

  15. Confinement effects on the thermodynamics of protein folding: Monte Carlo simulations.

    PubMed

    Rathore, Nitin; Knotts, Thomas A; de Pablo, Juan J

    2006-03-01

    The effects of chaperonin-like cage-induced confinement on protein stability have been studied for molecules of varying sizes and topologies. Minimalist models based on Gō-like interactions are employed for the proteins, and density-of-states-based Monte Carlo simulations are performed to accurately characterize the thermodynamic transitions. This method permits efficient sampling of conformational space and yields precise estimates of free energy and entropic changes associated with protein folding. We find that confinement-driven stabilization is not only dependent on protein size and cage radius, but also on the specific topology. The choice of the confining potential is also shown to have an effect on the observed stabilization and the scaling behavior of the stabilization with respect to the cage size.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

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

  19. Chemical methods for producing disulfide bonds in peptides and proteins to study folding regulation.

    PubMed

    Okumura, Masaki; Shimamoto, Shigeru; Hidaka, Yuji

    2014-04-01

    Disulfide bonds play a critical role in the folding of secretory and membrane proteins. Oxidative folding reactions of disulfide bond-containing proteins typically require several hours or days, and numerous misbridged disulfide isomers are often observed as intermediates. The rate-determining step in refolding is thought to be the disulfide-exchange reaction from nonnative to native disulfide bonds in folding intermediates, which often precipitate during the refolding process because of their hydrophobic properties. To overcome this, chemical additives or a disulfide catalyst, protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), are generally used in refolding experiments to regulate disulfide-coupled peptide and protein folding. This unit describes such methods in the context of the thermodynamic and kinetic control of peptide and protein folding, including (1) regulation of disulfide-coupled peptides and protein folding assisted by chemical additives, (2) reductive unfolding of disulfide-containing peptides and proteins, and (3) regulation of disulfide-coupled peptide and protein folding using PDI.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergasa-Caceres, Fernando; Rabitz, Herschel A.

    2013-06-01

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

  1. How the folding rates of two- and multistate proteins depend on the amino acid properties.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jitao T; Huang, Wei; Huang, Shanran R; Li, Xin

    2014-10-01

    Proteins fold by either two-state or multistate kinetic mechanism. We observe that amino acids play different roles in different mechanism. Many residues that are easy to form regular secondary structures (α helices, β sheets and turns) can promote the two-state folding reactions of small proteins. Most of hydrophilic residues can speed up the multistate folding reactions of large proteins. Folding rates of large proteins are equally responsive to the flexibility of partial amino acids. Other properties of amino acids (including volume, polarity, accessible surface, exposure degree, isoelectric point, and phase transfer energy) have contributed little to folding kinetics of the proteins. Cysteine is a special residue, it triggers two-state folding reaction and but inhibits multistate folding reaction. These findings not only provide a new insight into protein structure prediction, but also could be used to direct the point mutations that can change folding rate. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. Kinetic role of helix caps in protein folding is context-dependent.

    PubMed

    Kapp, Gregory T; Richardson, Jane S; Oas, Terrence G

    2004-04-06

    Secondary structure punctuation through specific backbone and side chain interactions at the beginning and end of alpha-helices has been proposed to play a key role in hierarchical protein folding mechanisms [Baldwin, R. L., and Rose, G. D. (1999) Trends Biochem. Sci. 24, 26-33; Presta, L. G., and Rose, G. D. (1988) Science 240, 1632-1641]. We have made site-specific substitutions in the N- and C-cap motifs of the 5-helix protein monomeric lambda repressor (lambda(6-85)) and have measured the rate constants for folding and unfolding of each variant. The consequences of C-cap changes are strongly context-dependent. When the C-cap was located at the chain terminus, changes had little energetic and no kinetic effect. However, substitutions in a C-cap at the boundary between helix 4 and the subsequent interhelical loop resulted in large changes to the stability and rate constants of the variant, showing a substantial kinetic role for this interior C-cap and suggesting a general kinetic role for interior helix C-caps. Statistical preferences tabulated separately for internal and terminal C-caps also show only weak residue preferences in terminal C-caps. This kinetic distinction between interior and terminal C-caps can explain the discrepancy between the near-absence of stability and kinetic effects seen for C-caps of isolated peptides versus the very strong C-cap effects seen for proteins in statistical sequence preferences and mutational energetics. Introduction of consensus, in-register N-capping motifs resulted in increased stability, accelerated folding, and slower unfolding. The kinetic measurements indicate that some of the new native-state capping interactions remain unformed in the transition state. The accelerated folding rates could result from helix stabilization without invoking a specific role for N-caps in the folding reaction.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Eliezer, D.

    1994-06-01

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

  4. Crystal structure and functional insights of hemopexin fold protein from grass pea.

    PubMed

    Gaur, Vineet; Qureshi, Insaf A; Singh, Apekshita; Chanana, Veenu; Salunke, Dinakar M

    2010-04-01

    A regulatory protein from grass pea (Lathyrus sativus), LS-24, a close homolog of albumin 2 from garden pea (Pisum sativum) that is associated with polyamine biosynthesis, was characterized and the structure of a hemopexin-type fold among plant proteins illustrated. Crystal structure of LS-24 determined at 2.2 A resolution by multiple isomorphous replacement phasing showed four-bladed beta-propeller structure having a pseudo 4-fold molecular symmetry along a metal ion-binding central channel. The structure represents typical mammalian hemopexin fold with discernible features correlated with the possible functional variations. The protein was found to exist in the dimeric state. While LS-24 dimer binds to spermine in the crystal structure as well as in solution, binding of heme in solution resulted in the dissociation of the dimer into monomers with concomitant release of bound spermine. Interactions of heme and spermine with LS-24 bear physiological implications. While binding of spermine to LS-24 can be linked with polyamine biosynthesis that of heme correlates with oxidative stress. Mutually exclusive binding of heme and spermine in different oligomeric states suggest a role for LS-24 in sensing oxidative stress through a ligand-regulated monomer-dimer transition switch.

  5. GroEL mediates protein folding with a two successive timer mechanism.

    PubMed

    Ueno, Taro; Taguchi, Hideki; Tadakuma, Hisashi; Yoshida, Masasuke; Funatsu, Takashi

    2004-05-21

    GroEL encapsulates nonnative substrate proteins in a central cavity capped by GroES, providing a safe folding cage. Conventional models assume that a single timer lasting approximately 8 s governs the ATP hydrolysis-driven GroEL chaperonin cycle. We examine single molecule imaging of GFP folding within the cavity, binding release dynamics of GroEL-GroES, ensemble measurements of GroEL/substrate FRET, and the initial kinetics of GroEL ATPase activity. We conclude that the cycle consists of two successive timers of approximately 3 s and approximately 5 s duration. During the first timer, GroEL is bound to ATP, substrate protein, and GroES. When the first timer ends, the substrate protein is released into the central cavity and folding begins. ATP hydrolysis and phosphate release immediately follow this transition. ADP, GroES, and substrate depart GroEL after the second timer is complete. This mechanism explains how GroES binding to a GroEL-substrate complex encapsulates the substrate rather than allowing it to escape into solution.

  6. Influence of Secondary-Structure Folding on the Mutually Exclusive Folding Process of GL5/I27 Protein: Evidence from Molecular Dynamics Simulations.

    PubMed

    Wang, Qing; Wang, Yan; Chen, Guangju

    2016-11-23

    Mutually exclusive folding proteins are a class of multidomain proteins in which the host domain remains folded while the guest domain is unfolded, and both domains achieve exchange of their folding status by a mutual exclusive folding (MEF) process. We carried out conventional and targeted molecular dynamics simulations for the mutually exclusive folding protein of GL5/I27 to address the MEF transition mechanisms. We constructed two starting models and two targeted models, i.e., the starting models GL5/I27-S and GL5/I27-ST in which the first model involves the host domain GL5 and the secondary-structure unfolded guest domain I27-S, while the second model involves the host domain GL5 and the secondary/tertiary-structure extending guest domain I27-ST, and the target models GL5-S/I27 and GL5-ST/I27 in which GL5-S and GL5-ST represent the secondary-structure unfolding and the secondary/tertiary-structure extending, respectively. We investigated four MEF transition processes from both starting models to both target models. Based on structural changes and the variations of the radius of gyration (Rg) and the fractions of native contacts (Q), the formation of the secondary structure of the I27-guest domain induces significant extending of the GL5-host domain; but the primary shrinking of the tertiary structure of the I27-guest domain causes insignificant extending of the GL5-host domain during the processes. The results indicate that only formation of the secondary structure in the I27-guest domain provides the main driving force for the mutually exclusive folding/unfolding between the I27-guest and GL5-host domains. A special structure as an intermediate with both host and guest domains being folded at the same time was found, which was suggested by the experiment. The analysis of hydrogen bonds and correlation motions supported the studied transition mechanism with the dynamical "tug-of-war" phenomenon.

  7. Influence of Secondary-Structure Folding on the Mutually Exclusive Folding Process of GL5/I27 Protein: Evidence from Molecular Dynamics Simulations

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qing; Wang, Yan; Chen, Guangju

    2016-01-01

    Mutually exclusive folding proteins are a class of multidomain proteins in which the host domain remains folded while the guest domain is unfolded, and both domains achieve exchange of their folding status by a mutual exclusive folding (MEF) process. We carried out conventional and targeted molecular dynamics simulations for the mutually exclusive folding protein of GL5/I27 to address the MEF transition mechanisms. We constructed two starting models and two targeted models, i.e., the starting models GL5/I27-S and GL5/I27-ST in which the first model involves the host domain GL5 and the secondary-structure unfolded guest domain I27-S, while the second model involves the host domain GL5 and the secondary/tertiary-structure extending guest domain I27-ST, and the target models GL5-S/I27 and GL5-ST/I27 in which GL5-S and GL5-ST represent the secondary-structure unfolding and the secondary/tertiary-structure extending, respectively. We investigated four MEF transition processes from both starting models to both target models. Based on structural changes and the variations of the radius of gyration (Rg) and the fractions of native contacts (Q), the formation of the secondary structure of the I27-guest domain induces significant extending of the GL5-host domain; but the primary shrinking of the tertiary structure of the I27-guest domain causes insignificant extending of the GL5-host domain during the processes. The results indicate that only formation of the secondary structure in the I27-guest domain provides the main driving force for the mutually exclusive folding/unfolding between the I27-guest and GL5-host domains. A special structure as an intermediate with both host and guest domains being folded at the same time was found, which was suggested by the experiment. The analysis of hydrogen bonds and correlation motions supported the studied transition mechanism with the dynamical “tug-of-war” phenomenon. PMID:27886109

  8. Competition between protein folding and aggregation: A three-dimensional lattice-model simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bratko, D.; Blanch, H. W.

    2001-01-01

    Aggregation of protein molecules resulting in the loss of biological activity and the formation of insoluble deposits represents a serious problem for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and in medicine. Considerable experimental and theoretical efforts are being made in order to improve our understanding of, and ability to control, the process. In the present work, we describe a Monte Carlo study of a multichain system of coarse-grained model proteins akin to lattice models developed for simulations of protein folding. The model is designed to examine the competition between intramolecular interactions leading to the native protein structure, and intermolecular association, resulting in the formation of aggregates of misfolded chains. Interactions between the segments are described by a variation of the Go potential [N. Go and H. Abe, Biopolymers 20, 1013 (1981)] that extends the recognition between attracting types of segments to pairs on distinct chains. For the particular model we adopt, the global free energy minimum of a pair of protein molecules corresponds to a dimer of native proteins. When three or more molecules interact, clusters of misfolded chains can be more stable than aggregates of native folds. A considerable fraction of native structure, however, is preserved in these cases. Rates of conformational changes rapidly decrease with the size of the protein cluster. Within the timescale accessible to computer simulations, the folding-aggregation balance is strongly affected by kinetic considerations. Both the native form and aggregates can persist in metastable states, even if conditions such as temperature or concentration favor a transition to an alternative form. Refolding yield can be affected by the presence of an additional polymer species mimicking the function of a molecular chaperone.

  9. Folding RaCe: a robust method for predicting changes in protein folding rates upon point mutations.

    PubMed

    Chaudhary, Priyashree; Naganathan, Athi N; Gromiha, M Michael

    2015-07-01

    Protein engineering methods are commonly employed to decipher the folding mechanism of proteins and enzymes. However, such experiments are exceedingly time and resource intensive. It would therefore be advantageous to develop a simple computational tool to predict changes in folding rates upon mutations. Such a method should be able to rapidly provide the sequence position and chemical nature to modulate through mutation, to effect a particular change in rate. This can be of importance in protein folding, function or mechanistic studies. We have developed a robust knowledge-based methodology to predict the changes in folding rates upon mutations formulated from amino and acid properties using multiple linear regression approach. We benchmarked this method against an experimental database of 790 point mutations from 26 two-state proteins. Mutants were first classified according to secondary structure, accessible surface area and position along the primary sequence. Three prime amino acid features eliciting the best relationship with folding rates change were then shortlisted for each class along with an optimized window length. We obtained a self-consistent mean absolute error of 0.36 s(-1) and a mean Pearson correlation coefficient (PCC) of 0.81. Jack-knife test resulted in a MAE of 0.42 s(-1) and a PCC of 0.73. Moreover, our method highlights the importance of outlier(s) detection and studying their implications in the folding mechanism. A web server 'Folding RaCe' has been developed and is available at http://www.iitm.ac.in/bioinfo/proteinfolding/foldingrace.html. gromiha@iitm.ac.in Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  10. Kinetic barriers and the role of topology in protein and RNA folding

    PubMed Central

    Sosnick, Tobin R.

    2008-01-01

    This review compares the folding behavior of proteins and RNAs. Topics covered include the role of topology in the determination of folding rates, major folding events including collapse, properties of denatured states, pathway heterogeneity, and the influence of the mode of initiation on the folding pathway. PMID:18502978

  11. Is the unfolded state the Rosetta Stone of the protein folding problem?

    PubMed

    Hammarström, P; Carlsson, U

    2000-09-24

    Solving the protein folding problem is one of the most challenging tasks in the post genomic era. Identification of folding-initiation sites is very important in order to understand the protein folding mechanism. Detection of residual structure in unfolded proteins can yield important clues to the initiation sites in protein folding. A substantial number of studied proteins possess residual structure in hydrophobic regions clustered together in the protein core. These stable structures can work as seeds in the folding process. In addition, local preferences for secondary structure in the form of turns for beta-sheet initiation and helical turns for alpha-helix formation can guide the folding reaction. In this respect the unfolded states, studied at increasing structural resolution, can be the Rosetta Stone of the protein folding problem.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergasa-Caceres, Fernando; Rabitz, Herschel A.

    2014-01-01

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

  13. From nuclear structure concepts to protein folding and non-conventional drug design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broglia, R. A.

    2006-05-01

    Some of the paradigms emerging from the study of the phenomena of phase transitions in finite many-body systems, like e.g. the atomic nuclues, can be used at profit to solve the protein folding problem (how does a linear sequence of amino acids, immersed in the solvent, code for a unique, biological active, three dimensional native structure of the protein?), within the framework of simple (although not oversimplified) models. Also to design non-conventional drugs which do not create resistance (do not induce mutations in the virus or bacteria expressing the protein). The application of these concepts to the design of inhibitors of the HIV-1-PR, an enzyme which plays a central role in the life cycle of the HIV virus will be illustrated in terms of all-atom simulations and in vitro experimental results.

  14. Parameter Optimization for the Gaussian Model of Folded Proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erman, Burak; Erkip, Albert

    2000-03-01

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

  15. Folding and aggregation of export-defective mutants of the maltose-binding protein.

    PubMed

    Betton, Jean-Michel; Phichith, Denis; Hunke, Sabine

    2002-09-01

    We previously characterized a defective-folding variant of the periplasmic maltose-binding protein, MalE31. To examine the alternative folding pathways open to the MalE31 precursor, we have analyzed the cellular fates of this aggregation-prone protein carrying altered signal sequences. Our results are most easily interpreted by a kinetic competition between exportation, folding, and degradation.

  16. Long-Lived Intermediates in a Cooperative Two-State Folding Transition.

    PubMed

    El-Baba, Tarick J; Kim, Doyong; Rogers, Dylan B; Khan, Faizan A; Hales, David A; Russell, David H; Clemmer, David E

    2016-12-01

    Biomolecular folding often occurs through a cooperative two-state reactant ↔ product transition; the term cooperative does not convey that intermediate structures are nonexistent but rather that these states are not observable by existing experimental techniques. Because of this, few intermediates have been studied and characte