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Sample records for protein folding transition

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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).

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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/.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Frustration in Condensed Matter and Protein Folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-03-01

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

  9. Protein Folding and Mechanisms of Proteostasis

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. The complex kinetics of protein folding in wide temperature ranges.

    PubMed

    Wang, Jin

    2004-10-01

    The complex protein folding kinetics in wide temperature ranges is studied through diffusive dynamics on the underlying energy landscape. The well-known kinetic chevron rollover behavior is recovered from the mean first passage time, with the U-shape dependence on temperature. The fastest folding temperature T0 is found to be smaller than the folding transition temperature Tf. We found that the fluctuations of the kinetics through the distribution of first passage time show rather universal behavior, from high-temperature exponential Poissonian kinetics to the relatively low-temperature highly non-exponential kinetics. The transition temperature is at Tk and T0 < Tk < Tf. In certain low-temperature regimes, a power law behavior at long time emerges. At very low temperatures (lower than trapping transition temperature T < T0/(4 approximately 6)), the kinetics is an exponential Poissonian process again.

  9. 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

  10. Protein folded states are kinetic hubs

    PubMed Central

    Bowman, Gregory R.; Pande, Vijay S.

    2010-01-01

    Understanding molecular kinetics, and particularly protein folding, is a classic grand challenge in molecular biophysics. Network models, such as Markov state models (MSMs), are one potential solution to this problem. MSMs have recently yielded quantitative agreement with experimentally derived structures and folding rates for specific systems, leaving them positioned to potentially provide a deeper understanding of molecular kinetics that can lead to experimentally testable hypotheses. Here we use existing MSMs for the villin headpiece and NTL9, which were constructed from atomistic simulations, to accomplish this goal. In addition, we provide simpler, humanly comprehensible networks that capture the essence of molecular kinetics and reproduce qualitative phenomena like the apparent two-state folding often seen in experiments. Together, these models show that protein dynamics are dominated by stochastic jumps between numerous metastable states and that proteins have heterogeneous unfolded states (many unfolded basins that interconvert more rapidly with the native state than with one another) yet often still appear two-state. Most importantly, we find that protein native states are hubs that can be reached quickly from any other state. However, metastability and a web of nonnative states slow the average folding rate. Experimental tests for these findings and their implications for other fields, like protein design, are also discussed. PMID:20534497

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Green fluorescent protein as a reporter of prion protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Vasiljevic, Snezana; Ren, Junyuan; Yao, YongXiu; Dalton, Kevin; Adamson, Catherine S; Jones, Ian M

    2006-01-01

    Background The amino terminal half of the cellular prion protein PrPc is implicated in both the binding of copper ions and the conformational changes that lead to disease but has no defined structure. However, as some structure is likely to exist we have investigated the use of an established protein refolding technology, fusion to green fluorescence protein (GFP), as a method to examine the refolding of the amino terminal domain of mouse prion protein. Results Fusion proteins of PrPc and GFP were expressed at high level in E.coli and could be purified to near homogeneity as insoluble inclusion bodies. Following denaturation, proteins were diluted into a refolding buffer whereupon GFP fluorescence recovered with time. Using several truncations of PrPc the rate of refolding was shown to depend on the prion sequence expressed. In a variation of the format, direct observation in E.coli, mutations introduced randomly in the PrPc protein sequence that affected folding could be selected directly by recovery of GFP fluorescence. Conclusion Use of GFP as a measure of refolding of PrPc fusion proteins in vitro and in vivo proved informative. Refolding in vitro suggested a local structure within the amino terminal domain while direct selection via fluorescence showed that as little as one amino acid change could significantly alter folding. These assay formats, not previously used to study PrP folding, may be generally useful for investigating PrPc structure and PrPc-ligand interaction. PMID:16939649

  12. 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.

  13. Chaperoning osteogenesis: new protein-folding disease paradigms.

    PubMed

    Makareeva, Elena; Aviles, Nydea A; Leikin, Sergey

    2011-03-01

    Recent discoveries of severe bone disorders in patients with deficiencies in several endoplasmic reticulum chaperones are reshaping the discussion of type I collagen folding and related diseases. Type I collagen is the most abundant protein in all vertebrates and a crucial structural molecule for bone and other connective tissues. Its misfolding causes bone fragility, skeletal deformity and other tissue failures. Studies of newly discovered bone disorders indicate that collagen folding, chaperones involved in the folding process, cellular responses to misfolding and related bone pathologies might not follow conventional protein folding paradigms. In this review, we examine the features that distinguish collagen folding from that of other proteins and describe the findings that are beginning to reveal how cells manage collagen folding and misfolding. We discuss implications of these studies for general protein folding paradigms, unfolded protein response in cells and protein folding diseases.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Fold assessment for comparative protein structure modeling.

    PubMed

    Melo, Francisco; Sali, Andrej

    2007-11-01

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

  10. Cotranslational Protein Folding inside the Ribosome Exit Tunnel

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Fluorescence of Alexa fluor dye tracks protein folding.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Transient misfolding dominates multidomain protein folding

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Geer, M. Ariel; Fitzgerald, Michael C.

    2014-06-01

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. On the origins of the weak folding cooperativity of a designed ββα ultrafast protein FSD-1.

    PubMed

    Wu, Chun; Shea, Joan-Emma

    2010-11-18

    FSD-1, a designed small ultrafast folder with a ββα fold, has been actively studied in the last few years as a model system for studying protein folding mechanisms and for testing of the accuracy of computational models. The suitability of this protein to describe the folding of naturally occurring α/β proteins has recently been challenged based on the observation that the melting transition is very broad, with ill-resolved baselines. Using molecular dynamics simulations with the AMBER protein force field (ff96) coupled with the implicit solvent model (IGB = 5), we shed new light into the nature of this transition and resolve the experimental controversies. We show that the melting transition corresponds to the melting of the protein as a whole, and not solely to the helix-coil transition. The breadth of the folding transition arises from the spread in the melting temperatures (from ∼325 K to ∼302 K) of the individual transitions: formation of the hydrophobic core, β-hairpin and tertiary fold, with the helix formed earlier. Our simulations initiated from an extended chain accurately predict the native structure, provide a reasonable estimate of the transition barrier height, and explicitly demonstrate the existence of multiple pathways and multiple transition states for folding. Our exhaustive sampling enables us to assess the quality of the Amber ff96/igb5 combination and reveals that while this force field can predict the correct native fold, it nonetheless overstabilizes the α-helix portion of the protein (Tm = ∼387K) as well as the denatured structures.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  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. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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...

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Protein fold class prediction: new methods of statistical classification.

    PubMed

    Grassmann, J; Reczko, M; Suhai, S; Edler, L

    1999-01-01

    Feed forward neural networks are compared with standard and new statistical classification procedures for the classification of proteins. We applied logistic regression, an additive model and projection pursuit regression from the methods based on a posterior probabilities; linear, quadratic and a flexible discriminant analysis from the methods based on class conditional probabilities, and the K-nearest-neighbors classification rule. Both, the apparent error rate obtained with the training sample (n = 143) and the test error rate obtained with the test sample (n = 125) and the 10-fold cross validation error were calculated. We conclude that some of the standard statistical methods are potent competitors to the more flexible tools of machine learning.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Predicting the equilibrium protein folding pathway: structure-based analysis of staphylococcal nuclease.

    PubMed

    Hilser, V J; Freire, E

    1997-02-01

    The equilibrium folding pathway of staphylococcal nuclease (SNase) has been approximated using a statistical thermodynamic formalism that utilizes the high-resolution structure of the native state as a template to generate a large ensemble of partially folded states. Close to 400,000 different states ranging from the native to the completely unfolded states were included in the analysis. The probability of each state was estimated using an empirical structural parametrization of the folding energetics. It is shown that this formalism predicts accurately the stability of the protein, the cooperativity of the folding/unfolding transition observed by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) or urea denaturation and the thermodynamic parameters for unfolding. More importantly, this formalism provides a quantitative account of the experimental hydrogen exchange protection factors measured under native conditions for SNase. These results suggest that the computer-generated distribution of states approximates well the ensemble of conformations existing in solution. Furthermore, this formalism represents the first model capable of quantitatively predicting within a unified framework the probability distribution of states seen under native conditions and its change upon unfolding.

  11. Interplay among tertiary contacts, secondary structure formation and side-chain packing in the protein folding mechanism: all-atom representation study of protein L.

    PubMed

    Clementi, Cecilia; García, Angel E; Onuchic, José N

    2003-02-21

    Experimental and theoretical results suggest that, since proteins are energetically minimally frustrated, the native fold, or topology, plays a primary role in determining the structure of the transition state ensemble and on-pathway intermediate states in protein folding. Although the central role of native state topology in determining the folding mechanism is thought to be a quite general result-at least for small two-state folding proteins-there are remarkable exceptions. Recent experimental findings have shown that topology alone cannot always determine the folding mechanism, and demonstrated that the balance between topology and energetics is very delicate. This balance seems to be particularly critical in proteins with a highly symmetrical native structure, such as proteins L and G, which have similar native structure topology but fold by different mechanisms. Simplified, C(alpha)-atom only protein models have shown not be sufficient to differentiate these mechanisms. An all-atom Gō model provides a valuable intermediate model between structurally simplified protein representations and all-atom protein simulations with explicit/implicit solvent descriptions. We present here a detailed study of an all-atom Gō-like representation of protein L, in close comparison with the experimental results and with the results obtained from a simple C(alpha)-atom representation of the same protein. We also perform simulations for protein G, where we obtain a folding mechanism in which the protein symmetry is broken exactly in the opposite way to protein L as has been observed experimentally. A detailed analysis for protein L also shows that the role of specific residues is correctly and quantitatively reproduced by the all-atom Gō model over almost the entire protein.

  12. Distinct folding pathways of two homologous disulfide proteins: bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and tick anticoagulant peptide.

    PubMed

    Chang, Jui-Yoa

    2011-01-01

    The folding pathways of disulfide proteins vary substantially (Arolas et al., Trends Biochem Sci 31: 292-301, 2006). The diversity is mainly manifested by (a) the extent of heterogeneity of folding intermediates, (b) the extent of presence of native-like intermediates, and (c) the variation of folding kinetics. Even among structurally similar proteins, the difference can be enormous. This is demonstrated in this concise review with two structurally homologous kunitz-type protease inhibitors, bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor and tick anticoagulant peptide, as well as a group of cystine knot proteins. The diversity of their folding mechanisms is illustrated with two different folding techniques: (a) the conventional method of disulfide oxidation (oxidative folding), and (b) the novel method of disulfide scrambling (Chang, J Biol Chem 277: 120-126, 2002). This review also highlights the convergence of folding models concluded form the conventional conformational folding and those obtained by oxidative folding.

  13. 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 characterized. Recently, ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) measurements revealed that the oligomer polyproline-13 (Pro13, which in propanol (PrOH) favors the right-handed helical PPI structure having adjacent pyrrolidine rings in a cis configuration) folds through six sequential long-lived intermediates as it converts to the all-trans-configured PPII structure that is favored in aqueous solutions. Here, we examine the PPIPrOH → PPIIaq folding transition for a HisPro13 sequence, i.e., Pro13 having a single histidine residue added to the N-terminus. Remarkably, the IMS measurements show that, upon addition of histidine, all of the IMS peaks associated with intermediate structures disappear. Instead, HisPro13 folds via a cooperative two-state transition, delayed by a significant induction period. The induction period is temperature dependent-shifting the transition to longer times at lower temperatures. Equilibrium studies show that the HisPro13 PPIPrOH → PPIIaq transition is endothermic but favored entropically. From these clues, we propose a sequential folding mechanism and develop a model that suggests that ∼13-17 long-lived intermediates are likely responsible for the induction period. In this model, intermediates are separated by average individual activation barriers of ∼90 kJ·mol(-1), and are entropically favorable.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

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

  15. Optimized parameter selection reveals trends in Markov state models for protein folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Husic, Brooke E.; McGibbon, Robert T.; Sultan, Mohammad M.; Pande, Vijay S.

    2016-11-01

    As molecular dynamics simulations access increasingly longer time scales, complementary advances in the analysis of biomolecular time-series data are necessary. Markov state models offer a powerful framework for this analysis by describing a system's states and the transitions between them. A recently established variational theorem for Markov state models now enables modelers to systematically determine the best way to describe a system's dynamics. In the context of the variational theorem, we analyze ultra-long folding simulations for a canonical set of twelve proteins [K. Lindorff-Larsen et al., Science 334, 517 (2011)] by creating and evaluating many types of Markov state models. We present a set of guidelines for constructing Markov state models of protein folding; namely, we recommend the use of cross-validation and a kinetically motivated dimensionality reduction step for improved descriptions of folding dynamics. We also warn that precise kinetics predictions rely on the features chosen to describe the system and pose the description of kinetic uncertainty across ensembles of models as an open issue.

  16. A comparative study of structures and structural transitions of secondary transporters with the LeuT fold.

    PubMed

    Jeschke, Gunnar

    2013-03-01

    Secondary active transporters from several protein families share a core of two five-helix inverted repeats that has become known as the LeuT fold. The known high-resolution protein structures with this fold were analyzed by structural superposition of the core transmembrane domains (TMDs). Three angle parameters derived from the mean TMD axes correlate with accessibility of the central binding site from the outside or inside. Structural transitions between distinct conformations were analyzed for four proteins in terms of changes in relative TMD arrangement and in internal conformation of TMDs. Collectively moving groups of TMDs were found to be correlated in the covariance matrix of elastic network models. The main features of the structural transitions can be reproduced with the 5 % slowest normal modes of anisotropic elastic network models. These results support the rocking bundle model for the major conformational change between the outward- and inward-facing states of the protein and point to an important role for the independently moving last TMDs of each repeat in occluding access to the central binding site. Occlusion is also supported by flexing of some individual TMDs in the collectively moving bundle and hash motifs.

  17. Can natural proteins designed with 'inverted' peptide sequences adopt native-like protein folds?

    PubMed

    Sridhar, Settu; Guruprasad, Kunchur

    2014-01-01

    We have carried out a systematic computational analysis on a representative dataset of proteins of known three-dimensional structure, in order to evaluate whether it would possible to 'swap' certain short peptide sequences in naturally occurring proteins with their corresponding 'inverted' peptides and generate 'artificial' proteins that are predicted to retain native-like protein fold. The analysis of 3,967 representative proteins from the Protein Data Bank revealed 102,677 unique identical inverted peptide sequence pairs that vary in sequence length between 5-12 and 18 amino acid residues. Our analysis illustrates with examples that such 'artificial' proteins may be generated by identifying peptides with 'similar structural environment' and by using comparative protein modeling and validation studies. Our analysis suggests that natural proteins may be tolerant to accommodating such peptides.

  18. Ligation-state hydrogen exchange: coupled binding and folding equilibria in ribonuclease P protein.

    PubMed

    Henkels, Christopher H; Oas, Terrence G

    2006-06-21

    Bacillus subtilis ribonuclease P protein (P protein) is predominantly unfolded (D) at physiological pH and low ionic strength; however, small molecule anionic ligands (e.g., sulfate) directly bind to and stabilize the folded state (NL2). Because the D + 2L <--> NL2 transition is experimentally two-state, high-energy states such as the singly bound, folded species (NL) and the unliganded folded species (N) are generally difficult to detect at equilibrium. To study the conformational properties of these ensembles, NMR-detected amide hydrogen exchange (HX) rates of P protein were measured at four sulfate (i.e., ligand) concentrations, a method we denote "ligation-state hydrogen exchange". The ligand concentration dependence of the HX rate of 47 residues was fit to a model with four possible HX pathways, corresponding to the local and/or global opening reactions from NL2 and NL, the local opening of N, and the global opening of N to D. Data analysis permits the calculation of the residue-specific free energy of opening from each ensemble as well as the fractional amide HX flux through each pathway. Results indicate that the predominant route of HX is through the NL and N states, which represent only 0.45% and 0.0005% of the total protein population in 20 mM sodium sulfate, respectively. Despite the low population of N, a region of protected amides was identified. Therefore, exchange through unliganded forms must be accounted for prior to the interpretation of HX-based protein-interaction studies. We offer a simple test to determine if HX occurs through the liganded or unliganded form.

  19. The energy landscape of modular repeat proteins: topology determines folding mechanism in the ankyrin family.

    PubMed

    Ferreiro, Diego U; Cho, Samuel S; Komives, Elizabeth A; Wolynes, Peter G

    2005-12-02

    Proteins consisting of repeating amino acid motifs are abundant in all kingdoms of life, especially in higher eukaryotes. Repeat-containing proteins self-organize into elongated non-globular structures. Do the same general underlying principles that dictate the folding of globular domains apply also to these extended topologies? Using a simplified structure-based model capturing a perfectly funneled energy landscape, we surveyed the predicted mechanism of folding for ankyrin repeat containing proteins. The ankyrin family is one of the most extensively studied classes of non-globular folds. The model based only on native contacts reproduces most of the experimental observations on the folding of these proteins, including a folding mechanism that is reminiscent of a nucleation propagation growth. The confluence of simulation and experimental results suggests that the folding of non-globular proteins is accurately described by a funneled energy landscape, in which topology plays a determinant role in the folding mechanism.

  20. The folding of a family of three-helix bundle proteins: spectrin R15 has a robust folding nucleus, unlike its homologous neighbours.

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-03

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Kinetic network study of the diversity and temperature dependence of Trp-Cage folding pathways: combining transition path theory with stochastic simulations.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Weihua; Gallicchio, Emilio; Deng, Nanjie; Andrec, Michael; Levy, Ronald M

    2011-02-17

    We present a new approach to study a multitude of folding pathways and different folding mechanisms for the 20-residue mini-protein Trp-Cage using the combined power of replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations for conformational sampling, transition path theory (TPT) for constructing folding pathways, and stochastic simulations for sampling the pathways in a high dimensional structure space. REMD simulations of Trp-Cage with 16 replicas at temperatures between 270 and 566 K are carried out with an all-atom force field (OPLSAA) and an implicit solvent model (AGBNP). The conformations sampled from all temperatures are collected. They form a discretized state space that can be used to model the folding process. The equilibrium population for each state at a target temperature can be calculated using the weighted-histogram-analysis method (WHAM). By connecting states with similar structures and creating edges satisfying detailed balance conditions, we construct a kinetic network that preserves the equilibrium population distribution of the state space. After defining the folded and unfolded macrostates, committor probabilities (P(fold)) are calculated by solving a set of linear equations for each node in the network and pathways are extracted together with their fluxes using the TPT algorithm. By clustering the pathways into folding "tubes", a more physically meaningful picture of the diversity of folding routes emerges. Stochastic simulations are carried out on the network, and a procedure is developed to project sampled trajectories onto the folding tubes. The fluxes through the folding tubes calculated from the stochastic trajectories are in good agreement with the corresponding values obtained from the TPT analysis. The temperature dependence of the ensemble of Trp-Cage folding pathways is investigated. Above the folding temperature, a large number of diverse folding pathways with comparable fluxes flood the energy landscape. At low temperature

  3. Thermodynamics of downhill folding: multi-probe analysis of PDD, a protein that folds over a marginal free energy barrier.

    PubMed

    Naganathan, Athi N; Muñoz, Victor

    2014-07-31

    Downhill folding proteins fold in microseconds by crossing a very low or no free energy barrier (<3 RT), and exhibit a complex unfolding behavior in equilibrium. Such unfolding complexity is due to the weak thermodynamic coupling that exists between the various structural segments of these proteins, and it is manifested in unfolding curves that differ depending on the structural probe employed to monitor the process. Probe-dependent unfolding has important practical implications because it permits one to investigate the folding energy landscape in detail using multiprobe thermodynamic experiments. This type of thermodynamic behavior has been investigated in depth on the protein BBL, an example of extreme (one-state) downhill folding in which there is no free energy barrier at any condition, including the denaturation midpoint. However, an open question is, to what extent is such thermodynamic behavior observed on less extreme downhill folders? Here we perform a multiprobe spectroscopic characterization of the microsecond folder PDD, a structural and functional homologue of BBL that folds within the downhill regime, but is not an example of one-state downhill folding; rather at the denaturation midpoint PDD folds by crossing an incipient free energy barrier. Model-free analysis of the unfolding curves from four different spectroscopic probes together with differential scanning calorimetry reveals a dispersion of ∼9 K in the apparent melting temperature and also marked differences in unfolding broadness (from ∼50 to ∼130 kJ mol(-1) when analyzed with a two-state model), confirming that such properties are also observed on less extreme downhill folders. We subsequently perform a global quantitative analysis of the unfolding data of PDD using the same ME statistical mechanical model that was used before for the BBL domain. The analysis shows that this simple model captures all of the features observed on the unfolding of PDD (i.e., the intensity and temperature

  4. Design and structure of an equilibrium protein folding intermediate: a hint into dynamical regions of proteins.

    PubMed

    Ayuso-Tejedor, Sara; Angarica, Vladimir Espinosa; Bueno, Marta; Campos, Luis A; Abián, Olga; Bernadó, Pau; Sancho, Javier; Jiménez, M Angeles

    2010-07-23

    Partly unfolded protein conformations close to the native state may play important roles in protein function and in protein misfolding. Structural analyses of such conformations which are essential for their fully physicochemical understanding are complicated by their characteristic low populations at equilibrium. We stabilize here with a single mutation the equilibrium intermediate of apoflavodoxin thermal unfolding and determine its solution structure by NMR. It consists of a large native region identical with that observed in the X-ray structure of the wild-type protein plus an unfolded region. Small-angle X-ray scattering analysis indicates that the calculated ensemble of structures is consistent with the actual degree of expansion of the intermediate. The unfolded region encompasses discontinuous sequence segments that cluster in the 3D structure of the native protein forming the FMN cofactor binding loops and the binding site of a variety of partner proteins. Analysis of the apoflavodoxin inner interfaces reveals that those becoming destabilized in the intermediate are more polar than other inner interfaces of the protein. Natively folded proteins contain hydrophobic cores formed by the packing of hydrophobic surfaces, while natively unfolded proteins are rich in polar residues. The structure of the apoflavodoxin thermal intermediate suggests that the regions of natively folded proteins that are easily responsive to thermal activation may contain cores of intermediate hydrophobicity.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-07-18

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  7. Contact order revisited: Influence of protein size on the folding rate

    SciTech Connect

    Ivankov, Dmitry N.; Garbuzynskiy, Sergiy O.; Alm, Eric; Plaxco, Kevin W.; Baker, David; Finkelstein, Alexei V.

    2003-05-28

    Guided by the recent success of empirical model predicting the folding rates of small two-state folding proteins from the relative contact order (CO) of their native structures, by a theoretical model of protein folding that predicts that logarithm of the folding rate decreases with the protein chain length L as L2/3, and by the finding that the folding rates of multistate folding proteins strongly correlate with their sizes and have very bad correlation with CO, we reexamined the dependence of folding rate on CO and L in attempt to find a structural parameter that determines folding rates for the totality of proteins. We show that the Abs{sub CO} = CO x L, is able to predict rather accurately folding rates for both two-state and multistate folding proteins, as well as short peptides, and that this Abs{sub CO} scales with the protein chain length as L0.70 {+-} 0.07 for the totality of studied single-domain proteins and peptides.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robic, Srebrenka

    2010-01-01

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

  9. A spatio-temporal mining approach towards summarizing and analyzing protein folding trajectories.

    PubMed

    Yang, Hui; Parthasarathy, Srinivasan; Ucar, Duygu

    2007-04-04

    Understanding the protein folding mechanism remains a grand challenge in structural biology. In the past several years, computational theories in molecular dynamics have been employed to shed light on the folding process. Coupled with high computing power and large scale storage, researchers now can computationally simulate the protein folding process in atomistic details at femtosecond temporal resolution. Such simulation often produces a large number of folding trajectories, each consisting of a series of 3D conformations of the protein under study. As a result, effectively managing and analyzing such trajectories is becoming increasingly important. In this article, we present a spatio-temporal mining approach to analyze protein folding trajectories. It exploits the simplicity of contact maps, while also integrating 3D structural information in the analysis. It characterizes the dynamic folding process by first identifying spatio-temporal association patterns in contact maps, then studying how such patterns evolve along a folding trajectory. We demonstrate that such patterns can be leveraged to summarize folding trajectories, and to facilitate the detection and ordering of important folding events along a folding path. We also show that such patterns can be used to identify a consensus partial folding pathway across multiple folding trajectories. Furthermore, we argue that such patterns can capture both local and global structural topology in a 3D protein conformation, thereby facilitating effective structural comparison amongst conformations. We apply this approach to analyze the folding trajectories of two small synthetic proteins-BBA5 and GSGS (or Beta3S). We show that this approach is promising towards addressing the above issues, namely, folding trajectory summarization, folding events detection and ordering, and consensus partial folding pathway identification across trajectories.

  10. Single-molecule spectroscopy of protein folding in a chaperonin cage

    PubMed Central

    Hofmann, Hagen; Hillger, Frank; Pfeil, Shawn H.; Hoffmann, Armin; Streich, Daniel; Haenni, Dominik; Nettels, Daniel; Lipman, Everett A.; Schuler, Benjamin

    2010-01-01

    Molecular chaperones are known to be essential for avoiding protein aggregation in vivo, but it is still unclear how they affect protein folding mechanisms. We use single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer to follow the folding of a protein inside the GroEL/GroES chaperonin cavity over a time range from milliseconds to hours. Our results show that confinement in the chaperonin decelerates the folding of the C-terminal domain in the substrate protein rhodanese, but leaves the folding rate of the N-terminal domain unaffected. Microfluidic mixing experiments indicate that strong interactions of the substrate with the cavity walls impede the folding process, but the folding hierarchy is preserved. Our results imply that no universal chaperonin mechanism exists. Rather, a competition between intra- and intermolecular interactions determines the folding rates and mechanisms of a substrate inside the GroEL/GroES cage. PMID:20547872

  11. Assembling a Correctly Folded and Functional Heptahelical Membrane Protein by Protein Trans-splicing*

    PubMed Central

    Mehler, Michaela; Eckert, Carl Elias; Busche, Alena; Kulhei, Jennifer; Michaelis, Jonas; Becker-Baldus, Johanna; Wachtveitl, Josef; Dötsch, Volker; Glaubitz, Clemens

    2015-01-01

    Protein trans-splicing using split inteins is well established as a useful tool for protein engineering. Here we show, for the first time, that this method can be applied to a membrane protein under native conditions. We provide compelling evidence that the heptahelical proteorhodopsin can be assembled from two separate fragments consisting of helical bundles A and B and C, D, E, F, and G via a splicing site located in the BC loop. The procedure presented here is on the basis of dual expression and ligation in vivo. Global fold, stability, and photodynamics were analyzed in detergent by CD, stationary, as well as time-resolved optical spectroscopy. The fold within lipid bilayers has been probed by high field and dynamic nuclear polarization-enhanced solid-state NMR utilizing a 13C-labeled retinal cofactor and extensively 13C-15N-labeled protein. Our data show unambiguously that the ligation product is identical to its non-ligated counterpart. Furthermore, our data highlight the effects of BC loop modifications onto the photocycle kinetics of proteorhodopsin. Our data demonstrate that a correctly folded and functionally intact protein can be produced in this artificial way. Our findings are of high relevance for a general understanding of the assembly of membrane proteins for elucidating intramolecular interactions, and they offer the possibility of developing novel labeling schemes for spectroscopic applications. PMID:26405032

  12. Recent Progress in Machine Learning-Based Methods for Protein Fold Recognition

    PubMed Central

    Wei, Leyi; Zou, Quan

    2016-01-01

    Knowledge on protein folding has a profound impact on understanding the heterogeneity and molecular function of proteins, further facilitating drug design. Predicting the 3D structure (fold) of a protein is a key problem in molecular biology. Determination of the fold of a protein mainly relies on molecular experimental methods. With the development of next-generation sequencing techniques, the discovery of new protein sequences has been rapidly increasing. With such a great number of proteins, the use of experimental techniques to determine protein folding is extremely difficult because these techniques are time consuming and expensive. Thus, developing computational prediction methods that can automatically, rapidly, and accurately classify unknown protein sequences into specific fold categories is urgently needed. Computational recognition of protein folds has been a recent research hotspot in bioinformatics and computational biology. Many computational efforts have been made, generating a variety of computational prediction methods. In this review, we conduct a comprehensive survey of recent computational methods, especially machine learning-based methods, for protein fold recognition. This review is anticipated to assist researchers in their pursuit to systematically understand the computational recognition of protein folds. PMID:27999256

  13. Native proteins trap high-energy transit conformations.

    PubMed

    Brereton, Andrew E; Karplus, P Andrew

    2015-10-01

    During protein folding and as part of some conformational changes that regulate protein function, the polypeptide chain must traverse high-energy barriers that separate the commonly adopted low-energy conformations. How distortions in peptide geometry allow these barrier-crossing transitions is a fundamental open question. One such important transition involves the movement of a non-glycine residue between the left side of the Ramachandran plot (that is, ϕ < 0°) and the right side (that is, ϕ > 0°). We report that high-energy conformations with ϕ ~ 0°, normally expected to occur only as fleeting transition states, are stably trapped in certain highly resolved native protein structures and that an analysis of these residues provides a detailed, experimentally derived map of the bond angle distortions taking place along the transition path. This unanticipated information lays to rest any uncertainty about whether such transitions are possible and how they occur, and in doing so lays a firm foundation for theoretical studies to better understand the transitions between basins that have been little studied but are integrally involved in protein folding and function. Also, the context of one such residue shows that even a designed highly stable protein can harbor substantial unfavorable interactions.

  14. Smoothing a rugged protein folding landscape by sequence-based redesign

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Porebski, Benjamin T.; Keleher, Shani; Hollins, Jeffrey J.; Nickson, Adrian A.; Marijanovic, Emilia M.; Borg, Natalie A.; Costa, Mauricio G. S.; Pearce, Mary A.; Dai, Weiwen; Zhu, Liguang; Irving, James A.; Hoke, David E.; Kass, Itamar; Whisstock, James C.; Bottomley, Stephen P.; Webb, Geoffrey I.; McGowan, Sheena; Buckle, Ashley M.

    2016-09-01

    The rugged folding landscapes of functional proteins puts them at risk of misfolding and aggregation. Serine protease inhibitors, or serpins, are paradigms for this delicate balance between function and misfolding. Serpins exist in a metastable state that undergoes a major conformational change in order to inhibit proteases. However, conformational labiality of the native serpin fold renders them susceptible to misfolding, which underlies misfolding diseases such as α1-antitrypsin deficiency. To investigate how serpins balance function and folding, we used consensus design to create conserpin, a synthetic serpin that folds reversibly, is functional, thermostable, and polymerization resistant. Characterization of its structure, folding and dynamics suggest that consensus design has remodeled the folding landscape to reconcile competing requirements for stability and function. This approach may offer general benefits for engineering functional proteins that have risky folding landscapes, including the removal of aggregation-prone intermediates, and modifying scaffolds for use as protein therapeutics.

  15. Smoothing a rugged protein folding landscape by sequence-based redesign

    PubMed Central

    Porebski, Benjamin T.; Keleher, Shani; Hollins, Jeffrey J.; Nickson, Adrian A.; Marijanovic, Emilia M.; Borg, Natalie A.; Costa, Mauricio G. S.; Pearce, Mary A.; Dai, Weiwen; Zhu, Liguang; Irving, James A.; Hoke, David E.; Kass, Itamar; Whisstock, James C.; Bottomley, Stephen P.; Webb, Geoffrey I.; McGowan, Sheena; Buckle, Ashley M.

    2016-01-01

    The rugged folding landscapes of functional proteins puts them at risk of misfolding and aggregation. Serine protease inhibitors, or serpins, are paradigms for this delicate balance between function and misfolding. Serpins exist in a metastable state that undergoes a major conformational change in order to inhibit proteases. However, conformational labiality of the native serpin fold renders them susceptible to misfolding, which underlies misfolding diseases such as α1-antitrypsin deficiency. To investigate how serpins balance function and folding, we used consensus design to create conserpin, a synthetic serpin that folds reversibly, is functional, thermostable, and polymerization resistant. Characterization of its structure, folding and dynamics suggest that consensus design has remodeled the folding landscape to reconcile competing requirements for stability and function. This approach may offer general benefits for engineering functional proteins that have risky folding landscapes, including the removal of aggregation-prone intermediates, and modifying scaffolds for use as protein therapeutics. PMID:27667094

  16. A Particle Swarm Optimization-Based Approach with Local Search for Predicting Protein Folding.

    PubMed

    Yang, Cheng-Hong; Lin, Yu-Shiun; Chuang, Li-Yeh; Chang, Hsueh-Wei

    2017-03-13

    The hydrophobic-polar (HP) model is commonly used for predicting protein folding structures and hydrophobic interactions. This study developed a particle swarm optimization (PSO)-based algorithm combined with local search algorithms; specifically, the high exploration PSO (HEPSO) algorithm (which can execute global search processes) was combined with three local search algorithms (hill-climbing algorithm, greedy algorithm, and Tabu table), yielding the proposed HE-L-PSO algorithm. By using 20 known protein structures, we evaluated the performance of the HE-L-PSO algorithm in predicting protein folding in the HP model. The proposed HE-L-PSO algorithm exhibited favorable performance in predicting both short and long amino acid sequences with high reproducibility and stability, compared with seven reported algorithms. The HE-L-PSO algorithm yielded optimal solutions for all predicted protein folding structures. All HE-L-PSO-predicted protein folding structures possessed a hydrophobic core that is similar to normal protein folding.

  17. Equilibrium folding and stability of myotrophin: a model ankyrin repeat protein.

    PubMed

    Mosavi, Leila K; Williams, Suzanna; Peng Zy, Zheng-yu

    2002-07-05

    Proteins containing stretches of repeating amino acid sequences are prevalent throughout nature, yet little is known about the general folding and assembly mechanisms of these systems. Here we propose myotrophin as a model system to study the folding of ankyrin repeat proteins. Myotrophin is folded over a large pH range and is soluble at high concentrations. Thermal and urea denaturation studies show that the protein displays cooperative two-state folding properties despite its modular nature. Taken together with previous studies on other ankyrin repeat proteins, our data suggest that the two-state folding pathway may be characteristic of ankyrin repeat proteins and other integrated alpha-helical repeat proteins in general.

  18. Extracting features from protein sequences to improve deep extreme learning machine for protein fold recognition.

    PubMed

    Ibrahim, Wisam; Abadeh, Mohammad Saniee

    2017-03-27

    Protein fold recognition is an important problem in bioinformatics to predict three-dimensional structure of a protein. One of the most challenging tasks in protein fold recognition problem is the extraction of efficient features from the amino-acid sequences to obtain better classifiers. In this paper, we have proposed six descriptors to extract features from protein sequences. These descriptors are applied in the first stage of a three-stage framework PCA-DELM-LDA to extract feature vectors from the amino-acid sequences. Principal Component Analysis PCA has been implemented to reduce the number of extracted features. The extracted feature vectors have been used with original features to improve the performance of the Deep Extreme Learning Machine DELM in the second stage. Four new features have been extracted from the second stage and used in the third stage by Linear Discriminant Analysis LDA to classify the instances into 27 folds. The proposed framework is implemented on the independent and combined feature sets in SCOP datasets. The experimental results show that extracted feature vectors in the first stage could improve the performance of DELM in extracting new useful features in second stage.

  19. Cooperative Protein Folding by Two Protein Thiol Disulfide Oxidoreductases and ERO1 in Soybean1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Okuda, Aya; Masuda, Taro; Koishihara, Katsunori; Mita, Ryuta; Iwasaki, Kensuke; Hara, Kumiko; Naruo, Yurika; Hirose, Akiho; Tsuchi, Yuichiro

    2016-01-01

    Most proteins produced in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of eukaryotic cells fold via disulfide formation (oxidative folding). Oxidative folding is catalyzed by protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) and PDI-related ER protein thiol disulfide oxidoreductases (ER oxidoreductases). In yeast and mammals, ER oxidoreductin-1s (Ero1s) supply oxidizing equivalent to the active centers of PDI. In this study, we expressed recombinant soybean Ero1 (GmERO1a) and found that GmERO1a oxidized multiple soybean ER oxidoreductases, in contrast to mammalian Ero1s having a high specificity for PDI. One of these ER oxidoreductases, GmPDIM, associated in vivo and in vitro with GmPDIL-2, was unable to be oxidized by GmERO1a. We therefore pursued the possible cooperative oxidative folding by GmPDIM, GmERO1a, and GmPDIL-2 in vitro and found that GmPDIL-2 synergistically accelerated oxidative refolding. In this process, GmERO1a preferentially oxidized the active center in the a′ domain among the a, a′, and b domains of GmPDIM. A disulfide bond introduced into the active center of the a′ domain of GmPDIM was shown to be transferred to the active center of the a domain of GmPDIM and the a domain of GmPDIM directly oxidized the active centers of both the a or a′ domain of GmPDIL-2. Therefore, we propose that the relay of an oxidizing equivalent from one ER oxidoreductase to another may play an essential role in cooperative oxidative folding by multiple ER oxidoreductases in plants. PMID:26645455

  20. Importance of native-state topology for determining the folding rate of two-state proteins.

    PubMed

    Gromiha, M Michael

    2003-01-01

    Understanding the relationship between amino acid sequences and folding rate of proteins is a challenging task similar to protein folding problem. In this work, we have analyzed the relative importance of protein sequence and structure for predicting the protein folding rates in terms of amino acid properties and contact distances, respectively. We found that the parameters derived with protein sequence (physical-chemical, energetic, and conformational properties of amino acid residues) show very weak correlation (|r| < 0.39) with folding rates of 28 two-state proteins, indicating that the sequence information alone is not sufficient to understand the folding rates of two-state proteins. However, the maximum positive correlation obtained for the properties, number of medium-range contacts, and alpha-helical tendency reveals the importance of local interactions to initiate protein folding. On the other hand, a remarkable correlation (r varies from -0.74 to -0.88) has been obtained between structural parameters (contact order, long-range order, and total contact distance) and protein folding rates. Further, we found that the secondary structure content and solvent accessibility play a marginal role in determining the folding rates of two-state proteins. Multiple regression analysis carried out with the combination of three properties, beta-strand tendency, enthalpy change, and total contact distance improved the correlation to 0.92 with protein folding rates. The relative importance of existing methods along with multiple-regression model proposed in this work will be discussed. Our results demonstrate that the native-state topology is the major determinant for the folding rates of two-state proteins.

  1. Estimating the probability for a protein to have a new fold: A statistical computational model

    PubMed Central

    Portugaly, Elon; Linial, Michal

    2000-01-01

    Structural genomics aims to solve a large number of protein structures that represent the protein space. Currently an exhaustive solution for all structures seems prohibitively expensive, so the challenge is to define a relatively small set of proteins with new, currently unknown folds. This paper presents a method that assigns each protein with a probability of having an unsolved fold. The method makes extensive use of protomap, a sequence-based classification, and scop, a structure-based classification. According to protomap, the protein space encodes the relationship among proteins as a graph whose vertices correspond to 13,354 clusters of proteins. A representative fold for a cluster with at least one solved protein is determined after superposition of all scop (release 1.37) folds onto protomap clusters. Distances within the protomap graph are computed from each representative fold to the neighboring folds. The distribution of these distances is used to create a statistical model for distances among those folds that are already known and those that have yet to be discovered. The distribution of distances for solved/unsolved proteins is significantly different. This difference makes it possible to use Bayes' rule to derive a statistical estimate that any protein has a yet undetermined fold. Proteins that score the highest probability to represent a new fold constitute the target list for structural determination. Our predicted probabilities for unsolved proteins correlate very well with the proportion of new folds among recently solved structures (new scop 1.39 records) that are disjoint from our original training set. PMID:10792051

  2. Transform and relax sampling for highly anisotropic systems: Application to protein domain motion and folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kitao, Akio

    2011-07-01

    Transform and relax sampling (TRS) is proposed as a conformational sampling method to enhance "soft" fluctuation in highly anisotropic systems using molecular dynamics simulation. This method consists of three stages; transform, relax, and sampling. In the transform stage, molecular dynamics simulation is performed with randomly assigned force bias to enhance the fluctuations along relatively soft collective movements, as expected from the linear response theory. After relaxing the heated system to equilibrium without force bias in the relax stage, Monte Carlo-type determination is made as to whether the generated state is accepted or not. The sampling stage is then conducted for conformational sampling by conventional molecular dynamics simulation. TRS is first applied for the idealized multidimensional double-well Cα model to mimic protein open-close transition. Subsequently, it is applied to three different all-atom protein systems in an explicit solvent model; T4 lysozyme, glutamine binding protein, and a mini-protein chignolin. Investigation of structural variations in the hinge angle of T4 lysozyme in crystals is demonstrated by TRS. The liganded close structure of the glutamine binding protein is sampled starting from the unliganded open form. Chignolin is shown to fold into a native structure multiple times starting from highly extended structures within 100 ns. It is concluded that TRS sampled a reasonable conformational space within a relatively short simulation time in these cases. Possible future extensions of TRS are also discussed.

  3. MENT, a heterochromatin protein that mediates higher order chromatin folding, is a new serpin family member.

    PubMed

    Grigoryev, S A; Bednar, J; Woodcock, C L

    1999-02-26

    Terminal cell differentiation is correlated with the extensive sequestering of previously active genes into compact transcriptionally inert heterochromatin. In vertebrate blood cells, these changes can be traced to the accumulation of a developmentally regulated heterochromatin protein, MENT. Cryoelectron microscopy of chicken granulocyte chromatin, which is highly enriched with MENT, reveals exceptionally compact polynucleosomes, which maintain a level of higher order folding above that imposed by linker histones. The amino acid sequence of MENT reveals a close structural relationship with serpins, a large family of proteins known for their ability to undergo dramatic conformational transitions. Conservation of the "hinge region" consensus in MENT indicates that this ability is retained by the protein. MENT is distinguished from the other serpins by being a basic protein, containing several positively charged surface clusters, which are likely to be involved in ionic interactions with DNA. One of the positively charged domains bears a significant similarity to the chromatin binding region of nuclear lamina proteins and with the A.T-rich DNA-binding motif, which may account for the targeting of MENT to peripheral heterochromatin. MENT ectopically expressed in a mammalian cell line is transported into nuclei and is associated with intranuclear foci of condensed chromatin.

  4. A variety of DNA-binding and multimeric proteins contain the histone fold motif.

    PubMed Central

    Baxevanis, A D; Arents, G; Moudrianakis, E N; Landsman, D

    1995-01-01

    The histone fold motif has previously been identified as a structural feature common to all four core histones and is involved in both histone-histone and histone-DNA interactions. Through the use of a novel motif searching method, a group of proteins containing the histone fold motif has been established. The proteins in this group are involved in a wide variety of functions related mostly to DNA metabolism. Most of these proteins engage in protein-protein or protein-DNA interactions, as do their core histone counterparts. Among these, CCAAT-specific transcription factor CBF and its yeast homologue HAP are two examples of multimeric complexes with different component subunits that contain the histone fold motif. The histone fold proteins are distantly related, with a relatively small degree of absolute sequence similarity. It is proposed that these proteins may share a similar three-dimensional conformation despite the lack of significant sequence similarity. PMID:7651829

  5. Pharmacological chaperone reshapes the energy landscape for folding and aggregation of the prion protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, Amar Nath; Neupane, Krishna; Rezajooei, Negar; Cortez, Leonardo M.; Sim, Valerie L.; Woodside, Michael T.

    2016-06-01

    The development of small-molecule pharmacological chaperones as therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases has proven challenging, partly because their mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we study Fe-TMPyP, a tetrapyrrole that binds to the prion protein PrP and inhibits misfolding, examining its effects on PrP folding at the single-molecule level with force spectroscopy. Single PrP molecules are unfolded with and without Fe-TMPyP present using optical tweezers. Ligand binding to the native structure increases the unfolding force significantly and alters the transition state for unfolding, making it more brittle and raising the barrier height. Fe-TMPyP also binds the unfolded state, delaying native refolding. Furthermore, Fe-TMPyP binding blocks the formation of a stable misfolded dimer by interfering with intermolecular interactions, acting in a similar manner to some molecular chaperones. The ligand thus promotes native folding by stabilizing the native state while also suppressing interactions driving aggregation.

  6. Pharmacological chaperone reshapes the energy landscape for folding and aggregation of the prion protein

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Amar Nath; Neupane, Krishna; Rezajooei, Negar; Cortez, Leonardo M.; Sim, Valerie L.; Woodside, Michael T.

    2016-01-01

    The development of small-molecule pharmacological chaperones as therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases has proven challenging, partly because their mechanism of action remains unclear. Here we study Fe-TMPyP, a tetrapyrrole that binds to the prion protein PrP and inhibits misfolding, examining its effects on PrP folding at the single-molecule level with force spectroscopy. Single PrP molecules are unfolded with and without Fe-TMPyP present using optical tweezers. Ligand binding to the native structure increases the unfolding force significantly and alters the transition state for unfolding, making it more brittle and raising the barrier height. Fe-TMPyP also binds the unfolded state, delaying native refolding. Furthermore, Fe-TMPyP binding blocks the formation of a stable misfolded dimer by interfering with intermolecular interactions, acting in a similar manner to some molecular chaperones. The ligand thus promotes native folding by stabilizing the native state while also suppressing interactions driving aggregation. PMID:27346148

  7. Perturbing the folding energy landscape of the bacterial immunity protein Im7 by site-specific N-linked glycosylation

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Mark M.; Bartlett, Alice I.; Nerenberg, Paul S.; Friel, Claire T.; Hackenberger, Christian P. R.; Stultz, Collin M.; Radford, Sheena E.; Imperiali, Barbara

    2010-01-01

    N-linked glycosylation modulates protein folding and stability through a variety of mechanisms. As such there is considerable interest in the development of general rules to predict the structural consequences of site-specific glycosylation and to understand how these effects can be exploited in the design and development of modified proteins with advantageous properties. In this study, expressed protein ligation is used to create site-specifically glycosylated variants of the bacterial immunity protein Im7 modified with the chitobiose disaccharide (GlcNAc-GlcNAc). Glycans were introduced at seven solvent exposed sites within the Im7 sequence and the kinetic and thermodynamic consequences of N-linked glycosylation analyzed. The values for glycan incorporation were found to range from +5.2 to -3.8 kJ·mol-1. In several cases, glycosylation influences folding by modulating the local conformational preferences of the glycosylated sequence. These locally mediated effects are most prominent in the center of α-helices where glycosylation negatively effects folding and in compact turn motifs between segments of ordered secondary structure where glycosylation promotes folding and enhances the overall stability of the native protein. The studies also provide insight into why glycosylation is commonly identified at the transition between different types of secondary structure and when glycosylation may be used to elaborate protein structure to protect disordered sequences from proteolysis or immune system recognition. PMID:21148421

  8. Folding-unfolding transitions of Rv3221c on the pressure-temperature plane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Somkuti, Judit; Jain, Sriyans; Ramachandran, Srinivasan; ászló Smeller, L.

    2013-06-01

    Rv3221c is a biotin-binding protein found in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It has been reported that an elevated temperature is needed for it to adopt a folded conformation. We determined the complete pressure-temperature phase diagram, and determined the thermodynamical parameters of the denaturation. The phase diagram follows well the Hawley theory. The secondary structure of the protein was found to contain predominantly beta sheet. The pressure unfolding was partially reversible, resulting in pressure-sensitive aggregates, besides the correctly refolded and biotin-bound fraction of proteins.

  9. A protein family under 'stress' - serpin stability, folding and misfolding.

    PubMed

    Devlin, Glyn L; Bottomley, Stephen P

    2005-01-01

    The native fold of inhibitory serpins (serpin proteinase inhibitors) is metastable and therefore does not represent the most stable conformation that the primary sequence encodes for. The most stable form is adopted when the reactive centre loop (RCL) inserts, as the fourth strand, into the A b -sheet. Currently a serpin can adopt at least four more stable conformations, termed the cleaved, delta, latent and polymeric states. The accessibility of these alternative low energy folds renders the serpin molecule susceptible to mutations that can result in dysfunction and pathology. Here, we discuss the means by which the serpin can attain and preserve this metastable conformation. We also consider the triggers for misfolding to these more stable states and the mechanisms by which it occurs.

  10. Composition-based effective chain length for prediction of protein folding rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, Le; Wang, Jun; Wang, Wei

    2010-11-01

    Folding rate prediction is a useful way to find the key factors affecting folding kinetics of proteins. Structural information is more or less required in the present prediction methods, which limits the application of these methods to various proteins. In this work, an “effective length” is defined solely based on the composition of a protein, namely, the number of specific types of amino acids in a protein. A physical theory based on a minimalist model is employed to describe the relation between the folding rates and the effective length of proteins. Based on the resultant relationship between folding rates and effective length, the optimal sets of amino acids are found through the enumeration over all possible combinations of amino acids. This optimal set achieves a high correlation (with the coefficient of 0.84) between the folding rates and the optimal effective length. The features of these amino acids are consistent with our model and landscape theory. Further comparisons between our effective length and other factors are carried out. The effective length is physically consistent with structure-based prediction methods and has the best predictability for folding rates. These results all suggest that both entropy and energetics contribute importantly to folding kinetics. The ability to accurately and efficiently predict folding rates from composition enables the analysis of the kinetics for various kinds of proteins. The underlying physics in our method may be helpful to stimulate further understanding on the effects of various amino acids in folding dynamics.

  11. Web-based toolkits for topology prediction of transmembrane helical proteins, fold recognition, structure and binding scoring, folding-kinetics analysis and comparative analysis of domain combinations.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hongyi; Zhang, Chi; Liu, Song; Zhou, Yaoqi

    2005-07-01

    We have developed the following web servers for protein structural modeling and analysis at http://theory.med.buffalo.edu: THUMBUP, UMDHMM(TMHP) and TUPS, predictors of transmembrane helical protein topology based on a mean-burial-propensity scale of amino acid residues (THUMBUP), hidden Markov model (UMDHMM(TMHP)) and their combinations (TUPS); SPARKS 2.0 and SP3, two profile-profile alignment methods, that match input query sequence(s) to structural templates by integrating sequence profile with knowledge-based structural score (SPARKS 2.0) and structure-derived profile (SP3); DFIRE, a knowledge-based potential for scoring free energy of monomers (DMONOMER), loop conformations (DLOOP), mutant stability (DMUTANT) and binding affinity of protein-protein/peptide/DNA complexes (DCOMPLEX & DDNA); TCD, a program for protein-folding rate and transition-state analysis of small globular proteins; and DOGMA, a web-server that allows comparative analysis of domain combinations between plant and other 55 organisms. These servers provide tools for prediction and/or analysis of proteins on the secondary structure, tertiary structure and interaction levels, respectively.

  12. Cleavage Mapping the Topology of Protein Folding Intermediates

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2007-11-02

    investigate the changes that occur in two of these mutants. V66L has a greatly lowered m value while that of A90S is substantially increased (5...stability of the folded state of nuclease. The cleavage technique will be used to investigate the changes that occur in two of these mutants. V66L...Connecticut, 06520 3Instituto de Qufmica y Fisicoquimica Biolögicas, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioqufmica (UBA-CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina 4

  13. Real-time Redox Measurements during Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Reveal Interlinked Protein Folding Functions

    PubMed Central

    Merksamer, Philip I.; Trusina, Ala; Papa, Feroz R.

    2008-01-01

    SUMMARY Disruption of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes unfolded proteins to accumulate, triggering the unfolded protein response (UPR). UPR outputs in turn decrease ER unfolded proteins to close a negative feedback loop. However, because it is infeasible to directly measure the concentration of unfolded proteins in vivo, cells are generically described as experiencing “ER stress” whenever the UPR is active. Because ER redox potential is optimized for oxidative protein folding, we reasoned that measureable redox changes should accompany unfolded protein accumulation. To test this concept, we employed fluorescent protein reporters to dynamically measure ER redox status and UPR activity in single cells. Using these tools, we show that diverse stressors, both experimental and physiological, compromise ER protein oxidation when UPR-imposed homeostatic control is lost. Using genetic analysis we uncovered redox heterogeneities in isogenic cell populations, and revealed functional interlinks between ER protein folding, modification, and quality control systems. PMID:19026441

  14. Assessing Coupled Protein Folding and Binding Through Temperature-Dependent Isothermal Titration Calorimetry.

    PubMed

    Sahu, Debashish; Bastidas, Monique; Lawrence, Chad W; Noid, William G; Showalter, Scott A

    2016-01-01

    Broad interest in the thermodynamic driving forces of coupled macromolecular folding and binding is motivated by the prevalence of disorder-to-order transitions observed when intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) bind to their partners. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) is one of the few methods available for completely evaluating the thermodynamic parameters describing a protein-ligand binding event. Significantly, when the effective ΔH° for the coupled folding and binding process is determined by ITC in a temperature series, the constant-pressure heat capacity change (ΔCp) associated with these coupled equilibria is experimentally accessible, offering a unique opportunity to investigate the driving forces behind them. Notably, each of these molecular-scale events is often accompanied by strongly temperature-dependent enthalpy changes, even over the narrow temperature range experimentally accessible for biomolecules, making single temperature determinations of ΔH° less informative than typically assumed. Here, we will document the procedures we have adopted in our laboratory for designing, executing, and globally analyzing temperature-dependent ITC studies of coupled folding and binding in IDP interactions. As a biologically significant example, our recent evaluation of temperature-dependent interactions between the disordered tail of FCP1 and the winged-helix domain from Rap74 will be presented. Emphasis will be placed on the use of publically available analysis programs written in MATLAB that facilitate quantification of the thermodynamic forces governing IDP interactions. Although motivated from the perspective of IDPs, the experimental design principles and data fitting procedures presented here are general to the study of most noncooperative ligand binding equilibria.

  15. Intact protein folding in the glutathione-depleted endoplasmic reticulum implicates alternative protein thiol reductants

    PubMed Central

    Tsunoda, Satoshi; Avezov, Edward; Zyryanova, Alisa; Konno, Tasuku; Mendes-Silva, Leonardo; Pinho Melo, Eduardo; Harding, Heather P; Ron, David

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) requires efficient protein thiol oxidation, but also relies on a parallel reductive process to edit disulfides during the maturation or degradation of secreted proteins. To critically examine the widely held assumption that reduced ER glutathione fuels disulfide reduction, we expressed a modified form of a cytosolic glutathione-degrading enzyme, ChaC1, in the ER lumen. ChaC1CtoS purged the ER of glutathione eliciting the expected kinetic defect in oxidation of an ER-localized glutathione-coupled Grx1-roGFP2 optical probe, but had no effect on the disulfide editing-dependent maturation of the LDL receptor or the reduction-dependent degradation of misfolded alpha-1 antitrypsin. Furthermore, glutathione depletion had no measurable effect on induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR); a sensitive measure of ER protein folding homeostasis. These findings challenge the importance of reduced ER glutathione and suggest the existence of alternative electron donor(s) that maintain the reductive capacity of the ER. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03421.001 PMID:25073928

  16. Fold of the conserved DTC domain in deltex proteins

    SciTech Connect

    Obiero, Josiah; Walker, John R.; Dhe-Paganon, Sirano

    2012-04-30

    Human Deltex 3-like (DTX3L) is a member of the Deltex family of proteins. Initially identified as a B-lymphoma and BAL-associated protein, DTX3L is an E3 ligase that regulates subcellular localization of its partner protein, BAL, by a dynamic nucleocytoplasmic trafficking mechanism. Unlike other members of the Deltex family of proteins, DTX3L lacks the highly basic N-terminal motif and the central proline-rich motif present in other Deltex proteins, and instead contains other unique N-terminal domains. The C-terminal domains are, however, homologous with other members of the Deltex family of proteins; these include a RING domain and a previously unidentified C-terminal domain. In this study, we report the high-resolution crystal structure of this previously uncharacterized C-terminal domain of human DTX3L, which we term the Deltex C-terminal domain.

  17. Protein folding and unfolding studied at atomic resolution by fast two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Schanda, Paul; Forge, Vincent; Brutscher, Bernhard

    2007-07-03

    Atom-resolved real-time studies of kinetic processes in proteins have been hampered in the past by the lack of experimental techniques that yield sufficient temporal and atomic resolution. Here we present band-selective optimized flip-angle short transient (SOFAST) real-time 2D NMR spectroscopy, a method that allows simultaneous observation of reaction kinetics for a large number of nuclear sites along the polypeptide chain of a protein with an unprecedented time resolution of a few seconds. SOFAST real-time 2D NMR spectroscopy combines fast NMR data acquisition techniques with rapid sample mixing inside the NMR magnet to initiate the kinetic event. We demonstrate the use of SOFAST real-time 2D NMR to monitor the conformational transition of alpha-lactalbumin from a molten globular to the native state for a large number of amide sites along the polypeptide chain. The kinetic behavior observed for the disappearance of the molten globule and the appearance of the native state is monoexponential and uniform along the polypeptide chain. This observation confirms previous findings that a single transition state ensemble controls folding of alpha-lactalbumin from the molten globule to the native state. In a second application, the spontaneous unfolding of native ubiquitin under nondenaturing conditions is characterized by amide hydrogen exchange rate constants measured at high pH by using SOFAST real-time 2D NMR. Our data reveal that ubiquitin unfolds in a gradual manner with distinct unfolding regimes.

  18. PFD: a database for the investigation of protein folding kinetics and stability.

    PubMed

    Fulton, Kate F; Devlin, Glyn L; Jodun, Rachel A; Silvestri, Linda; Bottomley, Stephen P; Fersht, Alan R; Buckle, Ashley M

    2005-01-01

    We have developed a new database that collects all protein folding data into a single, easily accessible public resource. The Protein Folding Database (PFD) contains annotated structural, methodological, kinetic and thermodynamic data for more than 50 proteins, from 39 families. A user-friendly web interface has been developed that allows powerful searching, browsing and information retrieval, whilst providing links to other protein databases. The database structure allows visualization of folding data in a useful and novel way, with a long-term aim of facilitating data mining and bioinformatics approaches. PFD can be accessed freely at http://pfd.med.monash.edu.au.

  19. Crumpling transition of the triangular lattice without open edges: Effect of a modified folding rule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nishiyama, Yoshihiro

    2010-04-01

    Folding of the triangular lattice in a discrete three-dimensional space is investigated by means of the transfer-matrix method. This model was introduced by Bowick and co-workers as a discretized version of the polymerized membrane in thermal equilibrium. The folding rule (constraint) is incompatible with the periodic-boundary condition, and the simulation has been made under the open-boundary condition. In this paper, we propose a modified constraint, which is compatible with the periodic-boundary condition; technically, the restoration of translational invariance leads to a substantial reduction in the transfer-matrix size. Treating the cluster sizes L≤7 , we analyze the singularities of the crumpling transitions for a wide range of the bending rigidity K . We observe a series of the crumpling transitions at K=0.206(2) , -0.32(1) , and -0.76(10) . At each transition point, we estimate the latent heat as Q=0.356(30) , 0.08(3), and 0.05(5), respectively.

  20. Electrostatically accelerated encounter and folding for facile recognition of intrinsically disordered proteins.

    PubMed

    Ganguly, Debabani; Zhang, Weihong; Chen, Jianhan

    2013-01-01

    Achieving facile specific recognition is essential for intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) that are involved in cellular signaling and regulation. Consideration of the physical time scales of protein folding and diffusion-limited protein-protein encounter has suggested that the frequent requirement of protein folding for specific IDP recognition could lead to kinetic bottlenecks. How IDPs overcome such potential kinetic bottlenecks to viably function in signaling and regulation in general is poorly understood. Our recent computational and experimental study of cell-cycle regulator p27 (Ganguly et al., J. Mol. Biol. (2012)) demonstrated that long-range electrostatic forces exerted on enriched charges of IDPs could accelerate protein-protein encounter via "electrostatic steering" and at the same time promote "folding-competent" encounter topologies to enhance the efficiency of IDP folding upon encounter. Here, we further investigated the coupled binding and folding mechanisms and the roles of electrostatic forces in the formation of three IDP complexes with more complex folded topologies. The surface electrostatic potentials of these complexes lack prominent features like those observed for the p27/Cdk2/cyclin A complex to directly suggest the ability of electrostatic forces to facilitate folding upon encounter. Nonetheless, similar electrostatically accelerated encounter and folding mechanisms were consistently predicted for all three complexes using topology-based coarse-grained simulations. Together with our previous analysis of charge distributions in known IDP complexes, our results support a prevalent role of electrostatic interactions in promoting efficient coupled binding and folding for facile specific recognition. These results also suggest that there is likely a co-evolution of IDP folded topology, charge characteristics, and coupled binding and folding mechanisms, driven at least partially by the need to achieve fast association kinetics for cellular

  1. On hydrodynamic interpretation of folding of an α-helical protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andryushchenko, V. A.; Chekmarev, S. F.

    2016-11-01

    Using the method of molecular dynamics, the simulation of folding of an α-helical protein from the unfolded to compact and functional (native) state is performed. The protein folding is interpreted as a stationary motion of a compressible "folding fluid". It is shown that the densities of folding fluxes obey the same similarity relations as the velocities of an incompressible fluid in the Kolmogorov's turbulence theory, except that instead of the rate of change of kinetic energy per mass unit, the rate of change of flux variance per volume unit plays the role of the key parameter.

  2. Peroxin Puzzles and Folded Freight: Peroxisomal Protein Import in Review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crookes, Wendy J.; Olsen, Laura J.

    Peroxisomes are organelles that perform a variety of functions, including the metabolism of hydrogen peroxide and the oxidation of fatty acids. Peroxisomes do not possess organellar DNA; all peroxisomal matrix proteins are posttranslationally translocated into the organelle. The mechanism of peroxisomal protein translocation has been the subject of vigorous research in the past decade. Many of the proteins (peroxins, abbreviated Pex) that play critical roles in peroxisome biogenesis have been identified through functional complementation of yeast strains and of Chinese hamster ovary cell lines that are defective in peroxisome biogenesis. Researchers are now turning towards biochemical and genetic analyses of these peroxins to define their roles in peroxisome biogenesis and to discover interacting protein partners. Evidence suggests that some of the interacting partners include molecular chaperones. Several current models for peroxisomal protein import are presented.

  3. From local structure to a global framework: recognition of protein folds

    PubMed Central

    Joseph, Agnel Praveen; de Brevern, Alexandre G.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding has been a major area of research for many years. Nonetheless, the mechanisms leading to the formation of an active biological fold are still not fully apprehended. The huge amount of available sequence and structural information provides hints to identify the putative fold for a given sequence. Indeed, protein structures prefer a limited number of local backbone conformations, some being characterized by preferences for certain amino acids. These preferences largely depend on the local structural environment. The prediction of local backbone conformations has become an important factor to correctly identifying the global protein fold. Here, we review the developments in the field of local structure prediction and especially their implication in protein fold recognition. PMID:24740960

  4. Azatryptophans as tools to study polarity requirements for folding of green fluorescent protein.

    PubMed

    Hoesl, Michael Georg; Larregola, Maud; Cui, Haissi; Budisa, Nediljko

    2010-10-01

    Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein and its widely used mutants enhanced green fluorescent protein and enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP) are ideal target proteins to study protein folding. The spectral signals of their chromophores are directly correlated with the folding status of the surrounding protein matrix. Previous studies revealed that tryptophan at position 57 (Trp57) plays a crucial role for the green fluorescent protein's structural and functional integrity. To precisely dissect its role in ECFP folding, we performed its substitution with the isosteric analogs 4-azatryptophan [(4-Aza)Trp] and 7-azatryptophan [(7-Aza)Trp]. Although Trp is moderately hydrophobic, these isosteric analogs are hydrophilic, which makes them an almost ideal tool to study the role of Trp57 in ECFP folding. We achieved high-level expression of both (4-Aza)Trp-ECFP and (7-Aza)Trp-ECFP. However, great portions (70-90%) of protein samples were insoluble and did not contain a maturated chromophore. All attempts to refold the insoluble protein fractions failed. Nevertheless, low amounts of fully labeled, soluble, chromophore containing fractions with altered spectral features were also isolated and identified. The most probable reason for the high yield of misfolding is the introduction of strong hydrophilicity at position 57 which strongly interferes with productive and efficient folding of ECFP. In addition, the results support a strong correlation between translational kinetics of non-canonical amino acids in the ribosome and in vivo folding of the related modified protein sequence.

  5. A database of protein structure families with common folding motifs.

    PubMed

    Holm, L; Ouzounis, C; Sander, C; Tuparev, G; Vriend, G

    1992-12-01

    The availability of fast and robust algorithms for protein structure comparison provides an opportunity to produce a database of three-dimensional comparisons, called families of structurally similar proteins (FSSP). The database currently contains an extended structural family for each of 154 representative (below 30% sequence identity) protein chains. Each data set contains: the search structure; all its relatives with 70-30% sequence identity, aligned structurally; and all other proteins from the representative set that contain substructures significantly similar to the search structure. Very close relatives (above 70% sequence identity) rarely have significant structural differences and are excluded. The alignments of remote relatives are the result of pairwise all-against-all structural comparisons in the set of 154 representative protein chains. The comparisons were carried out with each of three novel automatic algorithms that cover different aspects of protein structure similarity. The user of the database has the choice between strict rigid-body comparisons and comparisons that take into account interdomain motion or geometrical distortions; and, between comparisons that require strictly sequential ordering of segments and comparisons, which allow altered topology of loop connections or chain reversals. The data sets report the structurally equivalent residues in the form of a multiple alignment and as a list of matching fragments to facilitate inspection by three-dimensional graphics. If substructures are ignored, the result is a database of structure alignments of full-length proteins, including those in the twilight zone of sequence similarity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  6. Visualization of coupled protein folding and binding in bacteria and purification of the heterodimeric complex

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Haoyong; Chong, Shaorong

    2003-01-01

    During overexpression of recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli, misfolded proteins often aggregate and form inclusion bodies. If an aggregation-prone recombinant protein is fused upstream (as an N-terminal fusion) to GFP, aggregation of the recombinant protein domain also leads to misfolding of the downstream GFP domain, resulting in a decrease or loss of fluorescence. We investigated whether the GFP domain could fold correctly if aggregation of the upstream protein domain was prevented in vivo by a coupled protein folding and binding interaction. Such interaction has been previously shown to occur between the E. coli integration host factors α and β, and between the domains of the general transcriptional coactivator cAMP response element binding protein (CREB)-binding protein and the activator for thyroid hormone and retinoid receptors. In this study, fusion of integration host factor β or the CREB-binding protein domain upstream to GFP resulted in aggregation of the fusion protein. Coexpression of their respective partners, on the other hand, allowed soluble expression of the fusion protein and a dramatic increase in fluorescence. The study demonstrated that coupled protein folding and binding could be correlated to GFP fluorescence. A modified miniintein containing an affinity tag was inserted between the upstream protein domain and GFP to allow rapid purification and identification of the heterodimeric complex. The GFP coexpression fusion system may be used to identify novel protein–protein interactions that involve coupled folding and binding or protein partners that can solubilize aggregation-prone recombinant proteins. PMID:12515863

  7. Glucocorticoids alleviate intestinal ER stress by enhancing protein folding and degradation of misfolded proteins.

    PubMed

    Das, Indrajit; Png, Chin Wen; Oancea, Iulia; Hasnain, Sumaira Z; Lourie, Rohan; Proctor, Martina; Eri, Rajaraman D; Sheng, Yong; Crane, Denis I; Florin, Timothy H; McGuckin, Michael A

    2013-06-03

    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in intestinal secretory cells has been linked with colitis in mice and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Endogenous intestinal glucocorticoids are important for homeostasis and glucocorticoid drugs are efficacious in IBD. In Winnie mice with intestinal ER stress caused by misfolding of the Muc2 mucin, the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX) suppressed ER stress and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), substantially restoring goblet cell Muc2 production. In mice lacking inflammation, a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist increased ER stress, and DEX suppressed ER stress induced by the N-glycosylation inhibitor, tunicamycin (Tm). In cultured human intestinal secretory cells, in a glucocorticoid receptor-dependent manner, DEX suppressed ER stress and UPR activation induced by blocking N-glycosylation, reducing ER Ca(2+) or depleting glucose. DEX up-regulated genes encoding chaperones and elements of ER-associated degradation (ERAD), including EDEM1. Silencing EDEM1 partially inhibited DEX's suppression of misfolding-induced ER stress, showing that DEX enhances ERAD. DEX inhibited Tm-induced MUC2 precursor accumulation, promoted production of mature mucin, and restored ER exit and secretion of Winnie mutant recombinant Muc2 domains, consistent with enhanced protein folding. In IBD, glucocorticoids are likely to ameliorate ER stress by promoting correct folding of secreted proteins and enhancing removal of misfolded proteins from the ER.

  8. A comprehensive database of verified experimental data on protein folding kinetics

    PubMed Central

    Wagaman, Amy S; Coburn, Aaron; Brand-Thomas, Itai; Dash, Barnali; Jaswal, Sheila S

    2014-01-01

    Insights into protein folding rely increasingly on the synergy between experimental and theoretical approaches. Developing successful computational models requires access to experimental data of sufficient quantity and high quality. We compiled folding rate constants for what initially appeared to be 184 proteins from 15 published collections/web databases. To generate the highest confidence in the dataset, we verified the reported lnkf value and exact experimental construct and conditions from the original experimental report(s). The resulting comprehensive database of 126 verified entries, ACPro, will serve as a freely accessible resource (https://www.ats. amherst.edu/protein/) for the protein folding community to enable confident testing of predictive models. In addition, we provide a streamlined submission form for researchers to add new folding kinetics results, requiring specification of all the relevant experimental information according to the standards proposed in 2005 by the protein folding consortium organized by Plaxco. As the number and diversity of proteins whose folding kinetics are studied expands, our curated database will enable efficient and confident incorporation of new experimental results into a standardized collection. This database will support a more robust symbiosis between experiment and theory, leading ultimately to more rapid and accurate insights into protein folding, stability, and dynamics. PMID:25229122

  9. Machine Learning: How Much Does It Tell about Protein Folding Rates?

    PubMed

    Corrales, Marc; Cuscó, Pol; Usmanova, Dinara R; Chen, Heng-Chang; Bogatyreva, Natalya S; Filion, Guillaume J; Ivankov, Dmitry N

    2015-01-01

    The prediction of protein folding rates is a necessary step towards understanding the principles of protein folding. Due to the increasing amount of experimental data, numerous protein folding models and predictors of protein folding rates have been developed in the last decade. The problem has also attracted the attention of scientists from computational fields, which led to the publication of several machine learning-based models to predict the rate of protein folding. Some of them claim to predict the logarithm of protein folding rate with an accuracy greater than 90%. However, there are reasons to believe that such claims are exaggerated due to large fluctuations and overfitting of the estimates. When we confronted three selected published models with new data, we found a much lower predictive power than reported in the original publications. Overly optimistic predictive powers appear from violations of the basic principles of machine-learning. We highlight common misconceptions in the studies claiming excessive predictive power and propose to use learning curves as a safeguard against those mistakes. As an example, we show that the current amount of experimental data is insufficient to build a linear predictor of logarithms of folding rates based on protein amino acid composition.

  10. Machine Learning: How Much Does It Tell about Protein Folding Rates?

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Heng-Chang; Bogatyreva, Natalya S.; Filion, Guillaume J.; Ivankov, Dmitry N.

    2015-01-01

    The prediction of protein folding rates is a necessary step towards understanding the principles of protein folding. Due to the increasing amount of experimental data, numerous protein folding models and predictors of protein folding rates have been developed in the last decade. The problem has also attracted the attention of scientists from computational fields, which led to the publication of several machine learning-based models to predict the rate of protein folding. Some of them claim to predict the logarithm of protein folding rate with an accuracy greater than 90%. However, there are reasons to believe that such claims are exaggerated due to large fluctuations and overfitting of the estimates. When we confronted three selected published models with new data, we found a much lower predictive power than reported in the original publications. Overly optimistic predictive powers appear from violations of the basic principles of machine-learning. We highlight common misconceptions in the studies claiming excessive predictive power and propose to use learning curves as a safeguard against those mistakes. As an example, we show that the current amount of experimental data is insufficient to build a linear predictor of logarithms of folding rates based on protein amino acid composition. PMID:26606303

  11. Linking rates of folding in lattice models of proteins with underlying thermodynamic characteristics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klimov, D. K.; Thirumalai, D.

    1998-09-01

    We investigate the sequence-dependent properties of proteins that determine the dual requirements of stability of the native state and its kinetic accessibility using simple cubic lattice models. Three interaction schemes are used to describe the potentials between nearest neighbor nonbonded beads. We show that, under the simulation conditions when the native basin of attraction (NBA) is the most stable, there is an excellent correlation between folding times τF and the dimensionless parameter σT=(Tθ-TF)/Tθ, where Tθ is the collapse temperature and TF is the folding transition temperature. There is also a significant correlation between τF and another dimensionless quantity Z=(EN-Ems)/δ, where EN is the energy of the native state, Ems is the average energy of the ensemble of misfolded structures, and δ is the dispersion in the contact energies. In contrast, there is no significant correlation between τF and the Z-score gap ΔZ=EN-Ems. An approximate relationship between σT and the Z-score is derived, which explains the superior correlation seen between τF and σT. For two state folders τF is linked to the free energy difference (not simply energy gap, however it is defined) between the unfolded states and the NBA.

  12. Secretion of slow-folding proteins by a Type 1 secretion system.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, Christian K W; Lenders, Michael H H; Smits, Sander H J; Schmitt, Lutz

    2012-01-01

    Protein production through dedicated secretion systems might offer an potential alternative to the conventional cytoplasmical expression. The application of Type 1 secretion systems of Gram-negative bacteria, however, where often not successful in the past for a wide range of proteins. Recently, two studies using the E. coli maltose binding protein (MalE) and the rat intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) revealed a rational to circumvent these limitations. Here, wild-type passenger proteins were not secreted, while folding mutants with decreased folding kinetics were efficiently exported to the extracellular space. Subsequently, an one-step purification protocol yielded homogeneous and active protein. Taken together, theses two studies suggest that the introduction of slow-folding mutations into a protein sequence might be the key to use Type 1 secretion systems for the biotechnological production of proteins.

  13. Local rules for protein folding on a triangular lattice and generalized hydrophobicity in the HP model

    SciTech Connect

    Agarwala, R.; Batzoglou, S.; Dancik, V.

    1997-06-01

    We consider the problem of determining the three-dimensional folding of a protein given its one-dimensional amino acid sequence. We use the HP model for protein folding proposed by Dill, which models protein as a chain of amino acid residues that are either hydrophobic or polar, and hydrophobic interactions are the dominant initial driving force for the protein folding. Hart and Istrail gave approximation algorithms for folding proteins on the cubic lattice under HP model. In this paper, we examine the choice of a lattice by considering its algorithmic and geometric implications and argue that triangular lattice is a more reasonable choice. We present a set of folding rules for a triangular lattice and analyze the approximation ratio which they achieve. In addition, we introduce a generalization of the HP model to account for residues having different levels of hydrophobicity. After describing the biological foundation for this generalization, we show that in the new model we are able to achieve similar constant factor approximation guarantees on the triangular lattice as were achieved in the standard HP model. While the structures derived from our folding rules are probably still far from biological reality, we hope that having a set of folding rules with different properties will yield more interesting folds when combined.

  14. Environment-specific amino acid substitution tables: tertiary templates and prediction of protein folds.

    PubMed Central

    Overington, J.; Donnelly, D.; Johnson, M. S.; Sali, A.; Blundell, T. L.

    1992-01-01

    The local environment of an amino acid in a folded protein determines the acceptability of mutations at that position. In order to characterize and quantify these structural constraints, we have made a comparative analysis of families of homologous proteins. Residues in each structure are classified according to amino acid type, secondary structure, accessibility of the side chain, and existence of hydrogen bonds from the side chains. Analysis of the pattern of observed substitutions as a function of local environment shows that there are distinct patterns, especially for buried polar residues. The substitution data tables are available on diskette with Protein Science. Given the fold of a protein, one is able to predict sequences compatible with the fold (profiles or templates) and potentially to discriminate between a correctly folded and misfolded protein. Conversely, analysis of residue variation across a family of aligned sequences in terms of substitution profiles can allow prediction of secondary structure or tertiary environment. PMID:1304904

  15. Ring Separation Highlights the Protein-Folding Mechanism Used by the Phage EL-Encoded Chaperonin.

    PubMed

    Molugu, Sudheer K; Hildenbrand, Zacariah L; Morgan, David Gene; Sherman, Michael B; He, Lilin; Georgopoulos, Costa; Sernova, Natalia V; Kurochkina, Lidia P; Mesyanzhinov, Vadim V; Miroshnikov, Konstantin A; Bernal, Ricardo A

    2016-04-05

    Chaperonins are ubiquitous, ATP-dependent protein-folding molecular machines that are essential for all forms of life. Bacteriophage φEL encodes its own chaperonin to presumably fold exceedingly large viral proteins via profoundly different nucleotide-binding conformations. Our structural investigations indicate that ATP likely binds to both rings simultaneously and that a misfolded substrate acts as the trigger for ATP hydrolysis. More importantly, the φEL complex dissociates into two single rings resulting from an evolutionarily altered residue in the highly conserved ATP-binding pocket. Conformational changes also more than double the volume of the single-ring internal chamber such that larger viral proteins are accommodated. This is illustrated by the fact that φEL is capable of folding β-galactosidase, a 116-kDa protein. Collectively, the architecture and protein-folding mechanism of the φEL chaperonin are significantly different from those observed in group I and II chaperonins.

  16. Nonresonant femtosecond laser vaporization of aqueous protein preserves folded structure

    PubMed Central

    Brady, John J.; Judge, Elizabeth J.; Levis, Robert J.

    2011-01-01

    Femtosecond laser vaporization-based mass spectrometry can be used to measure protein conformation in vitro at atmospheric pressure. Cytochrome c and lysozyme are vaporized from the condensed phase into the gas phase intact when exposed to an intense (1013 W/cm2), nonresonant (800 nm), ultrafast (75 fs) laser pulse. Electrospray postionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry reveals that the vaporized protein maintains the solution-phase conformation through measurement of the charge-state distribution and the collision-induced dissociation channels. PMID:21746908

  17. Single molecule fluorescence studies of transition paths in DNA hairpin folding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Truex, Katherine; Chung, Hoi Sung; Louis, John; Eaton, William

    DNA hairpins are the simplest structures for investigating fundamental aspects of nucleic acid folding mechanisms. For two-state hairpins, all of the mechanistic information on how the hairpin folds is contained in the transition path (TP), the rare event in single molecule trajectories when the free energy barrier between folded and unfolded states is actually crossed. The only previous experimental study of TPs in nucleic acids used optical tweezer measurements and Szabo's analytical theory for diffusive barrier crossing to reconstruct the free energy surface for an indirect determination of average TP times (Neupane et al. PRL 2012). We used confocal single molecule FRET and maximum likelihood analysis of photon trajectories to determine an upper bound of 2.5 μs for the average TP time of a DNA hairpin (Truex et al., PRL 2015), compared to the value of 4 μs predicted by Neupane et al., providing an important test of energy landscape theory. Current experiments are aimed at eventually characterizing structural changes during TPs, which will provide a very demanding test of mechanisms predicted by both theoretical models and simulations.

  18. Influences of heterogeneous native contact energy and many-body interactions on the prediction of protein folding mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhuqing; Ouyang, Yanhua; Chen, Tao

    2016-11-16

    Since single-point mutant perturbation has been used to probe protein folding mechanisms in experiments, the ϕ-value has become a critical parameter to infer the transition state (TS) for two-state proteins. Experimentally, large scale analysis has shown a nearly single uniform ϕ-value with normally distributed error from 24 different proteins; moreover, in zero stability conditions, the intrinsic variable ϕ(0) is around 0.36. To explore how and to what extent theoretical models can capture experimental phenomena, we here use structure-based explicit chain coarse-grained models to investigate the influence of single-point mutant perturbation on protein folding for single domain two-state proteins. Our results indicate that uniform, additive contact energetic interactions cannot predict experimental Brønsted plots well. Those points deviate largely from the main data sets in Brønsted plots, are mostly hydrophobic, and are located in N- and C-terminal contacting regions. Heterogenous contact energy, which is dependent on sequence separation, can narrow the point dispersion in a Brønsted plot. Moreover, we demonstrate that combining many-body interactions with heterogeneous native contact energy can present mean ϕ-values consistent with experimental findings, with a comparable distributed error. This indicates that for more accurate elucidation of protein folding mechanisms by residue-level structure-based models, these elements should be considered.

  19. Systematic characterization of protein folding pathways using diffusion maps: Application to Trp-cage miniprotein

    SciTech Connect

    Kim, Sang Beom; Dsilva, Carmeline J.; Debenedetti, Pablo G.; Kevrekidis, Ioannis G.

    2015-02-28

    Understanding the mechanisms by which proteins fold from disordered amino-acid chains to spatially ordered structures remains an area of active inquiry. Molecular simulations can provide atomistic details of the folding dynamics which complement experimental findings. Conventional order parameters, such as root-mean-square deviation and radius of gyration, provide structural information but fail to capture the underlying dynamics of the protein folding process. It is therefore advantageous to adopt a method that can systematically analyze simulation data to extract relevant structural as well as dynamical information. The nonlinear dimensionality reduction technique known as diffusion maps automatically embeds the high-dimensional folding trajectories in a lower-dimensional space from which one can more easily visualize folding pathways, assuming the data lie approximately on a lower-dimensional manifold. The eigenvectors that parametrize the low-dimensional space, furthermore, are determined systematically, rather than chosen heuristically, as is done with phenomenological order parameters. We demonstrate that diffusion maps can effectively characterize the folding process of a Trp-cage miniprotein. By embedding molecular dynamics simulation trajectories of Trp-cage folding in diffusion maps space, we identify two folding pathways and intermediate structures that are consistent with the previous studies, demonstrating that this technique can be employed as an effective way of analyzing and constructing protein folding pathways from molecular simulations.

  20. Folding coupled with assembly in split green fluorescent proteins studied by structure-based molecular simulations.

    PubMed

    Ito, Mashiho; Ozawa, Takeaki; Takada, Shoji

    2013-10-24

    Split green fluorescent protein (GFP) is a powerful tool for imaging of protein-protein interactions in living cells, but molecular mechanisms of the folding and the assembly of split GFPs are poorly understood. Here, using a simple Go model that is based on the energy landscape theory, we performed comprehensive folding simulations of six split GFPs with different split points. Of the six, the fluorescence recovery was reported in four but not in the other two. In the simulations, we found that when the complete folding and assembly were observed, the N-terminal fragment always folded earlier than the C-terminal fragment. The in silico folding rates of the split GFPs were larger for the four split GFPs that the fluorescence recovery was reported in literature. The stability of standalone N-terminal fragments were well-correlated with the folding rates of split GFPs. These suggest that the efficient folding and assembly of split GFPs are realized when the N-terminal fragment folds spontaneously with the central α-helix as a nucleation core and that the C-terminal fragment folding is coupled to the assembly to the preformed N-terminal fragment.

  1. Heavy metal ions are potent inhibitors of protein folding

    SciTech Connect

    Sharma, Sandeep K.; Goloubinoff, Pierre; Christen, Philipp

    2008-07-25

    Environmental and occupational exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury and lead results in severe health hazards including prenatal and developmental defects. The deleterious effects of heavy metal ions have hitherto been attributed to their interactions with specific, particularly susceptible native proteins. Here, we report an as yet undescribed mode of heavy metal toxicity. Cd{sup 2+}, Hg{sup 2+} and Pb{sup 2+} proved to inhibit very efficiently the spontaneous refolding of chemically denatured proteins by forming high-affinity multidentate complexes with thiol and other functional groups (IC{sub 50} in the nanomolar range). With similar efficacy, the heavy metal ions inhibited the chaperone-assisted refolding of chemically denatured and heat-denatured proteins. Thus, the toxic effects of heavy metal ions may result as well from their interaction with the more readily accessible functional groups of proteins in nascent and other non-native form. The toxic scope of heavy metals seems to be substantially larger than assumed so far.

  2. Hands-on Force Spectroscopy: Weird Springs and Protein Folding

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Euler, Manfred

    2008-01-01

    A force spectroscopy model experiment is presented using a low-cost tensile apparatus described earlier. Force-extension measurements of twisted rubber bands are obtained. They exhibit a complex nonlinear elastic behaviour that resembles atomic force spectroscopy investigations of molecules of titin, a muscle protein. The model experiments open up…

  3. Understanding the influence of codon translation rates on cotranslational protein folding.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Edward P; Ciryam, Prajwal; Vendruscolo, Michele; Dobson, Christopher M

    2014-05-20

    Protein domains can fold into stable tertiary structures while they are synthesized by the ribosome in a process known as cotranslational folding. If a protein does not fold cotranslationally, however, it has the opportunity to do so post-translationally, that is, after the nascent chain has been fully synthesized and released from the ribosome. The rate at which a ribosome adds an amino acid encoded by a particular codon to the elongating nascent chain can vary significantly and is called the codon translation rate. Recent experiments have illustrated the profound impact that codon translation rates can have on the cotranslational folding process and the acquisition of function by nascent proteins. Synonymous codon mutations in an mRNA molecule change the chemical identity of a codon and its translation rate without changing the sequence of the synthesized protein. This change in codon translation rate can, however, cause a nascent protein to malfunction as a result of cotranslational misfolding. In some situations, such dysfunction can have profound implications; for example, it can alter the substrate specificity of an ABC transporter protein, resulting in patients who are nonresponsive to chemotherapy treatment. Thus, codon translation rates are crucial in coordinating protein folding in a cellular environment and can affect downstream cellular processes that depend on the proper functioning of newly synthesized proteins. As the importance of codon translation rates makes clear, a necessary aspect of fully understanding cotranslational folding lies in considering the kinetics of the process in addition to its thermodynamics. In this Account, we examine the contributions that have been made to elucidating the mechanisms of cotranslational folding by using the theoretical and computational tools of chemical kinetics, molecular simulations, and systems biology. These efforts have extended our ability to understand, model, and predict the influence of codon

  4. Mathematics, thermodynamics, and modeling to address ten common misconceptions about protein structure, folding, and stability.

    PubMed

    Robic, Srebrenka

    2010-01-01

    To fully understand the roles proteins play in cellular processes, students need to grasp complex ideas about protein structure, folding, and stability. Our current understanding of these topics is based on mathematical models and experimental data. However, protein structure, folding, and stability are often introduced as descriptive, qualitative phenomena in undergraduate classes. In the process of learning about these topics, students often form incorrect ideas. For example, by learning about protein folding in the context of protein synthesis, students may come to an incorrect conclusion that once synthesized on the ribosome, a protein spends its entire cellular life time in its fully folded native confirmation. This is clearly not true; proteins are dynamic structures that undergo both local fluctuations and global unfolding events. To prevent and address such misconceptions, basic concepts of protein science can be introduced in the context of simple mathematical models and hands-on explorations of publicly available data sets. Ten common misconceptions about proteins are presented, along with suggestions for using equations, models, sequence, structure, and thermodynamic data to help students gain a deeper understanding of basic concepts relating to protein structure, folding, and stability.

  5. Emergent protein folding modeled with evolved neural cellular automata using the 3D HP model.

    PubMed

    Santos, José; Villot, Pablo; Diéguez, Martin

    2014-11-01

    We used cellular automata (CA) for the modeling of the temporal folding of proteins. Unlike the focus of the vast research already done on the direct prediction of the final folded conformations, we will model the temporal and dynamic folding process. To reduce the complexity of the interactions and the nature of the amino acid elements, lattice models like HP were used, a model that categorizes the amino acids regarding their hydrophobicity. Taking into account the restrictions of the lattice model, the CA model defines how the amino acids interact through time to obtain a folded conformation. We extended the classical CA models using artificial neural networks for their implementation (neural CA), and we used evolutionary computing to automatically obtain the models by means of Differential Evolution. As the iterative folding also provides the final folded conformation, we can compare the results with those from direct prediction methods of the final protein conformation. Finally, as the neural CA that provides the iterative folding process can be evolved using several protein sequences and used as operators in the folding of another protein with different length, this represents an advantage over the NP-hard complexity of the original problem of the direct prediction.

  6. On the possibility of a folded crustal layer stored in the hydrous mantle transition zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yoshida, Masaki; Tajima, Fumiko

    2013-06-01

    Previous numerical studies of mantle convection focusing on subduction dynamics have indicated that viscosity (rheological) heterogeneity in the subducting plates and the surrounding mantle may have a primary effect on the behavior of subducting plates. Meanwhile, the existence of a low-viscosity layer (LVL) beneath the mantle transition zone (MTZ) has been suggested by several geodynamic studies. We investigated the effects of a rheologically weaker crustal layer in a hydrous (wet) MTZ with an underlying LVL on the behavior of subducting plates and determined the trace of crustal material using a numerical simulation model of subduction dynamics in three-dimensional regional spherical geometry. The combined effect of a rheologically weaker crustal layer and an LVL beneath the MTZ produces characteristic transient behavior of the crustal layer, whose trace shows a folded, loop-like feature in the wet MTZ along with a folded subducting slab in the LVL. This phenomenon is caused by mechanical interaction of the crustal layer with an upward positive bending force due to the main body of the subducting slab folding in the LVL and an enhanced downward negative buoyancy force due to an increase in density from the garnet to the post-garnet phase of crustal material. The transiently folded crustal layer behind the root of the stagnant slab is also observed. This result is consistent with seismological evidence suggesting a piece of subducted oceanic crust in the uppermost lower mantle beneath the subducting slab in the Mariana trench. Over half of the subducted crust is temporarily stored in the MTZ. However, this stored crustal material begins to penetrate into the lower mantle within 10 Myr, a relatively short timeframe relative to the overturn time of mantle convection. Eventually, most of the crustal material is entrained into the lower mantle, but a non-negligible portion remains stored in the MTZ for >50 Myr after the beginning of the accumulation of subducted crust

  7. The folding type of a protein is relevant to the amino acid composition.

    PubMed

    Nakashima, H; Nishikawa, K; Ooi, T

    1986-01-01

    The folding types of 135 proteins, the three-dimensional structures of which are known, were analyzed in terms of the amino acid composition. The amino acid composition of a protein was expressed as a point in a multidimensional space spanned with 20 axes, on which the corresponding contents of 20 amino acids in the protein were represented. The distribution pattern of proteins in this composition space was examined in relation to five folding types, alpha, beta, alpha/beta, alpha + beta, and irregular type. The results show that amino acid compositions of the alpha, beta, and alpha/beta types are located in different regions in the composition space, thus allowing distinct separation of proteins depending on the folding types. The points representing proteins of the alpha + beta and irregular types, however, are widely scattered in the space, and the existing regions overlap with those of the other folding types. A simple method of utilizing the "distance" in the space was found to be convenient for classification of proteins into the five folding types. The assignment of the folding type with this method gave an accuracy of 70% in the coincidence with the experimental data.

  8. Probing the folding intermediate of Bacillus subtilis RNase P protein by nuclear magnetic resonance.

    PubMed

    Chang, Yu-Chu; Franch, William R; Oas, Terrence G

    2010-11-09

    Protein folding intermediates are often imperative for overall folding processes and consequent biological functions. However, the low population and transient nature of the intermediate states often hinder their biochemical and biophysical characterization. Previous studies have demonstrated that Bacillus subtilis ribonuclease P protein (P protein) is conformationally heterogeneous and folds with multiphasic kinetics, indicating the presence of an equilibrium and kinetic intermediate in its folding mechanism. In this study, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to study the ensemble corresponding to this intermediate (I). The results indicate that the N-terminal and C-terminal helical regions are mostly unfolded in I. 1H−15N heteronuclear single-quantum coherence NMR spectra collected as a function of pH suggest that the protonation of His 22 may play a major role in the energetics of the equilibria among the unfolded, intermediate, and folded state ensembles of P protein. NMR paramagnetic relaxation enhancement experiments were also used to locate the small anion binding sites in both the intermediate and folded ensembles. The results for the folded protein are consistent with the previously modeled binding regions. These structural insights suggest a possible role for I in the RNase P holoenzyme assembly process.

  9. Probing possible downhill folding: native contact topology likely places a significant constraint on the folding cooperativity of proteins with approximately 40 residues.

    PubMed

    Badasyan, Artem; Liu, Zhirong; Chan, Hue Sun

    2008-12-12

    Experiments point to appreciable variations in folding cooperativity among natural proteins with approximately 40 residues, indicating that the behaviors of these proteins are valuable for delineating the contributing factors to cooperative folding. To explore the role of native topology in a protein's propensity to fold cooperatively and how native topology might constrain the degree of cooperativity achievable by a given set of physical interactions, we compared folding/unfolding kinetics simulated using three classes of native-centric C(alpha) chain models with different interaction schemes. The approach was applied to two homologous 45-residue fragments from the peripheral subunit-binding domain family and a 39-residue fragment of the N-terminal domain of ribosomal protein L9. Free-energy profiles as functions of native contact number were computed to assess the heights of thermodynamic barriers to folding. In addition, chevron plots of folding/unfolding rates were constructed as functions of native stability to facilitate comparison with available experimental data. Although common Gō-like models with pairwise Lennard-Jones-type interactions generally fold less cooperatively than real proteins, the rank ordering of cooperativity predicted by these models is consistent with experiment for the proteins investigated, showing increasing folding cooperativity with increasing nonlocality of a protein's native contacts. Models that account for water-expulsion (desolvation) barriers and models with many-body (nonadditive) interactions generally entail higher degrees of folding cooperativity indicated by more linear model chevron plots, but the rank ordering of cooperativity remains unchanged. A robust, experimentally valid rank ordering of model folding cooperativity independent of the multiple native-centric interaction schemes tested here argues that native topology places significant constraints on how cooperatively a protein can fold.

  10. Contribution of cotranslational folding to the rate of formation of native protein structure.

    PubMed Central

    Fedorov, A N; Baldwin, T O

    1995-01-01

    To compare the process of protein folding in the cell with refolding following denaturation in vitro, we have investigated and compared the kinetics of renaturation of a full-length protein upon dilution from concentrated urea with the rate of folding in the course of biosynthesis. Formation of enzymatically active bacterial luciferase, an alpha beta heterodimer, occurred 2 min after completion of beta-subunit synthesis in an Escherichia coli cell-free system. Renaturation of urea-denatured beta subunit, either in the presence of the cell-free protein synthesis system or in buffer solutions, proceeded more slowly. Cellular components present in the cell-free protein synthesis system slightly accelerated the rate of refolding of urea-unfolded beta subunit. The results indicate that the luciferase beta subunit begins the folding process cotranslationally and that cotranslational folding contributes to the rapid formation of the native structure in the cell. Images Fig. 1 PMID:7862665

  11. A Study of Global Motions in the Folding of Small Proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pogorelov, Taras V.; Luthey-Schulten, Zaida

    2001-06-01

    The protein folding problem is a long-standing challenge in the area of molecular biophysics. All-atom molecular dynamics studies of proteins are one of the promising computational approaches to the problem. Femtosecond constrain on the timestep with a characteristic folding time being in the order of microsecond lead to the dificulties of modeling at the present level of computer technology. Large dimensionality of the coordinate space present another problem for analysis of the protein motions. To reduce the dimensionality required to describe the folding, we apply singular value decomposition (SVD) method to study the trajectories of a polypeptide and a small protein in the presence of a Go-like potential, that has been added to the full atom potentials. The Go-potential biases the energy landscape towards the native basin and allows folding to occur within a nanosecond.

  12. Methods for molecular dynamics simulations of protein folding/unfolding in solution.

    PubMed

    Beck, David A C; Daggett, Valerie

    2004-09-01

    All atom molecular dynamics simulations have become a standard method for mapping equilibrium protein dynamics and non-equilibrium events like folding and unfolding. Here, we present detailed methods for performing such simulations. Generic protocols for minimization, solvation, simulation, and analysis derived from previous studies are also presented. As a measure of validation, our water model is compared with experiment. An example of current applications of these methods, simulations of the ultrafast folding protein Engrailed Homeodomain are presented including the experimental evidence used to verify their results. Ultrafast folders are an invaluable tool for studying protein behavior as folding and unfolding events measured by experiment occur on timescales accessible with the high-resolution molecular dynamics methods we describe. Finally, to demonstrate the prospect of these methods for folding proteins, a temperature quench simulation of a thermal unfolding intermediate of the Engrailed Homeodomain is described.

  13. BIMOLECULAR FLUORESCENCE COMPLEMENTATION ANALYSIS OF INDUCIBLE PROTEIN INTERACTIONS: EFFECTS OF FACTORS AFFECTING PROTEIN FOLDING ON FLUORESCENT PROTEIN FRAGMENT ASSOCIATION

    PubMed Central

    Robida, Aaron M; Kerppola, Tom K

    2009-01-01

    Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) analysis enables visualization of the subcellular locations of protein interactions in living cells. We investigated the temporal resolution and the quantitative accuracy of BiFC analysis using fragments of different fluorescent proteins. We determined the kinetics of BiFC complex formation in response to the rapamycin-inducible interaction between the FK506 binding protein (FKBP) and the FKBP-rapamycin binding domain (FRB). Fragments of YFP fused to FKBP and FRB produced detectable BiFC complex fluorescence 10 minutes after rapamycin addition and a ten-fold increase in the mean fluorescence intensity in 8 hours. The N-terminal fragment of the Venus fluorescent protein fused to FKBP produced constitutive BiFC complexes with several C-terminal fragments fused to FRB. A chimeric N-terminal fragment containing residues from Venus and YFP produced either constitutive or inducible BiFC complexes depending on the temperature at which the cells were cultured. The concentrations of inducers required for half-maximal induction of BiFC complex formation by all fluorescent protein fragments tested were consistent with the affinities of the inducers for unmodified FKBP and FRB. Treatment of the FK506 inhibitor of FKBP-FRB interaction prevented the formation of BiFC complexes by FKBP and FRB fusions, but did not disrupt existing BiFC complexes. Proteins synthesized prior to rapamycin addition formed BiFC complexes with the same efficiency as newly synthesized proteins. Inhibitors of protein synthesis attenuated BiFC complex formation independent of their effects on fusion protein synthesis. The kinetics at which they inhibited BiFC complex formation suggest that they prevented association of the fluorescent protein fragments, but not the slow maturation of BiFC complex fluorescence. Agents that induce the unfolded protein response also reduced formation of BiFC complexes. The effects of these agents were suppressed by cellular

  14. Exploring the Balance between Folding and Functional Dynamics in Proteins and RNA

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Jovaun; Nguyen, Kien; Whitford, Paul Charles

    2015-01-01

    As our understanding of biological dynamics continues to be refined, it is becoming clear that biomolecules can undergo transitions between ordered and disordered states as they execute functional processes. From a computational perspective, studying disorder events poses a challenge, as they typically occur on long timescales, and the associated molecules are often large (i.e., hundreds of residues). These size and time requirements make it advantageous to use computationally inexpensive models to characterize large-scale dynamics, where more highly detailed models can provide information about individual sub-steps associated with function. To reduce computational demand, one often uses a coarse-grained representation of the molecule or a simplified description of the energetics. In order to use simpler models to identify transient disorder in RNA and proteins, it is imperative that these models can accurately capture structural fluctuations about folded configurations, as well as the overall stability of each molecule. Here, we explore a class of simplified model for which all non-hydrogen atoms are explicitly represented. We find that this model can provide a consistent description of protein folding and native-basin dynamics for several representative biomolecules. We additionally show that the native-basin fluctuations of tRNA and the ribosome are robust to variations in the model. Finally, the extended variable loop in tRNAIle is predicted to be very dynamic, which may facilitate biologically-relevant rearrangements. Together, this study provides a foundation that will aid in the application of simplified models to study disorder during function in ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assemblies. PMID:25822873

  15. Orientation-dependent potential of mean force for protein folding.

    PubMed

    Mukherjee, Arnab; Bhimalapuram, Prabhakar; Bagchi, Biman

    2005-07-01

    We present a solvent-implicit minimalistic model potential among the amino acid residues of proteins, obtained by using the known native structures [deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB)]. In this model, the amino acid side chains are represented by a single ellipsoidal site, defined by the group of atoms about the center of mass of the side chain. These ellipsoidal sites interact with other sites through an orientation-dependent interaction potential which we construct in the following fashion. First, the site-site potential of mean force (PMF) between heavy atoms is calculated [following F. Melo and E. Feytsman, J. Mol. Biol. 267, 207 (1997)] from statistics of their distance separation obtained from crystal structures. These site-site potentials are then used to calculate the distance and the orientation-dependent potential between side chains of all the amino acid residues (AAR). The distance and orientation dependencies show several interesting results. For example, we find that the PMF between two hydrophobic AARs, such as phenylalanine, is strongly attractive at short distances (after the obvious repulsive region at very short separation) and is characterized by a deep minimum, for specific orientations. For the interaction between two hydrophilic AARs, such a deep minimum is absent and in addition, the potential interestingly reveals the combined effect of polar (charge) and hydrophobic interactions among some of these AARs. The effectiveness of our potential has been tested by calculating the Z-scores for a large set of proteins. The calculated Z-scores show high negative values for most of them, signifying the success of the potential to identify the native structure from among a large number of its decoy states.

  16. Water promotes the sealing of nanoscale packing defects in folding proteins.

    PubMed

    Fernández, Ariel

    2014-05-21

    A net dipole moment is shown to arise from a non-Debye component of water polarization created by nanoscale packing defects on the protein surface. Accordingly, the protein electrostatic field exerts a torque on the induced dipole, locally impeding the nucleation of ice at the protein-water interface. We evaluate the solvent orientation steering (SOS) as the reversible work needed to align the induced dipoles with the Debye electrostatic field and computed the SOS for the variable interface of a folding protein. The minimization of the SOS is shown to drive protein folding as evidenced by the entrainment of the total free energy by the SOS energy along trajectories that approach a Debye limit state where no torque arises. This result suggests that the minimization of anomalous water polarization at the interface promotes the sealing of packing defects, thereby maintaining structural integrity and committing the protein chain to fold.

  17. Computational evidence that fast translation speed can increase the probability of cotranslational protein folding.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ercheng; Wang, Jun; Chen, Changjun; Xiao, Yi

    2015-10-21

    Translation speed can affect the cotranslational folding of nascent peptide. Experimental observations have indicated that slowing down translation rates of codons can increase the probability of protein cotranslational folding. Recently, a kinetic modeling indicates that fast translation can also increase the probability of cotranslational protein folding by avoiding misfolded intermediates. We show that the villin headpiece subdomain HP35 is an ideal model to demonstrate this phenomenon. We studied cotranslational folding of HP35 with different fast translation speeds by all-atom molecular dynamics simulations and found that HP35 can fold along a well-defined pathway that passes the on-pathway intermediate but avoids the misfolded off-pathway intermediate in certain case. This greatly increases the probability of HP35 cotranslational folding and the approximate mean first passage time of folding into native state is about 1.67μs. Since we also considered the space-confined effect of the ribosomal exit tunnel on the cotranslational folding, our simulation results suggested alternative mechanism for the increasing of cotranslational folding probability by fast translation speed.

  18. Acceleration of protein folding by four orders of magnitude through a single amino acid substitution

    PubMed Central

    Roderer, Daniel J. A.; Schärer, Martin A.; Rubini, Marina; Glockshuber, Rudi

    2015-01-01

    Cis prolyl peptide bonds are conserved structural elements in numerous protein families, although their formation is energetically unfavorable, intrinsically slow and often rate-limiting for folding. Here we investigate the reasons underlying the conservation of the cis proline that is diagnostic for the fold of thioredoxin-like thiol-disulfide oxidoreductases. We show that replacement of the conserved cis proline in thioredoxin by alanine can accelerate spontaneous folding to the native, thermodynamically most stable state by more than four orders of magnitude. However, the resulting trans alanine bond leads to small structural rearrangements around the active site that impair the function of thioredoxin as catalyst of electron transfer reactions by more than 100-fold. Our data provide evidence for the absence of a strong evolutionary pressure to achieve intrinsically fast folding rates, which is most likely a consequence of proline isomerases and molecular chaperones that guarantee high in vivo folding rates and yields. PMID:26121966

  19. De Novo Evolutionary Emergence of a Symmetrical Protein Is Shaped by Folding Constraints

    PubMed Central

    Smock, Robert G.; Yadid, Itamar; Dym, Orly; Clarke, Jane; Tawfik, Dan S.

    2016-01-01

    Summary Molecular evolution has focused on the divergence of molecular functions, yet we know little about how structurally distinct protein folds emerge de novo. We characterized the evolutionary trajectories and selection forces underlying emergence of β-propeller proteins, a globular and symmetric fold group with diverse functions. The identification of short propeller-like motifs (<50 amino acids) in natural genomes indicated that they expanded via tandem duplications to form extant propellers. We phylogenetically reconstructed 47-residue ancestral motifs that form five-bladed lectin propellers via oligomeric assembly. We demonstrate a functional trajectory of tandem duplications of these motifs leading to monomeric lectins. Foldability, i.e., higher efficiency of folding, was the main parameter leading to improved functionality along the entire evolutionary trajectory. However, folding constraints changed along the trajectory: initially, conflicts between monomer folding and oligomer assembly dominated, whereas subsequently, upon tandem duplication, tradeoffs between monomer stability and foldability took precedence. PMID:26806127

  20. Evolution of the folding ability of proteins through functional selection

    PubMed Central

    Saito, Seiji; Sasai, Masaki; Yomo, Tetsuya

    1997-01-01

    An evolutionary process is simulated with a simple spin-glass-like model of proteins to examine the origin of folding ability. At each generation, sequences are randomly mutated and subjected to a simulation of the folding process based on the model. According to the frequency of local configurations at the active sites, sequences are selected and passed to the next generation. After a few hundred generations, a sequence capable of folding globally into a native conformation emerges. Moreover, the selected sequence has a distinct energy minimum and an anisotropic funnel on the energy surface, which are the imperative features for fast folding of proteins. The proposed model reveals that the functional selection on the local configurations leads a sequence to fold globally into a conformation at a faster rate. PMID:9326608

  1. Three-fold rotational defects in two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Yung-Chang; Björkman, Torbjörn; Komsa, Hannu-Pekka; Teng, Po-Yuan; Yeh, Chao-Hui; Huang, Fei-Sheng; Lin, Kuan-Hung; Jadczak, Joanna; Huang, Ying-Sheng; Chiu, Po-Wen; Krasheninnikov, Arkady V.; Suenaga, Kazu

    2015-01-01

    As defects frequently govern the properties of crystalline solids, the precise microscopic knowledge of defect atomic structure is of fundamental importance. We report a new class of point defects in single-layer transition metal dichalcogenides that can be created through 60° rotations of metal–chalcogen bonds in the trigonal prismatic lattice, with the simplest among them being a three-fold symmetric trefoil-like defect. The defects, which are inherently related to the crystal symmetry of transition metal dichalcogenides, can expand through sequential bond rotations, as evident from in situ scanning transmission electron microscopy experiments, and eventually form larger linear defects consisting of aligned 8–5–5–8 membered rings. First-principles calculations provide insights into the evolution of rotational defects and show that they give rise to p-type doping and local magnetic moments, but weakly affect mechanical characteristics of transition metal dichalcogenides. Thus, controllable introduction of rotational defects can be used to engineer the properties of these materials. PMID:25832503

  2. Pressure-temperature folding landscape in proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.

    PubMed

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

    2013-12-15

    High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) is a valuable tool to study processes such as protein folding, protein hydration and protein-protein interactions. HHP is a nondestructive technique because it reversibly affects internal cavities excluded from the solvent present in the hydrophobic core of proteins. HHP allows the solvation of buried amino acid side chains, thus shifting the equilibrium towards states of the studied molecule or molecular ensemble that occupy smaller volumes. HHP has long been used to dissociate multimeric proteins and protein aggregates and allows investigation of intermediate folding states, some of which are formed by proteins involved in human degenerative diseases, such as spongiform encephalopathies and Parkinson's disease, as well as cancer. When coupled with nuclear magnetic resonance and spectroscopic methods such as infrared and fluorescence spectroscopy, HHP treatment facilitates the understanding of protein folding and misfolding processes; the latter is related to protein aggregation into amyloid or amorphous species. In this review, we will address how HHP provides information about intermediate folding states and the aggregation processes of p53, which is related to cancer, and prion proteins, transthyretin and α-synuclein, which are related to human degenerative diseases.

  3. A protein block based fold recognition method for the annotation of twilight zone sequences.

    PubMed

    Suresh, V; Ganesan, K; Parthasarathy, S

    2013-03-01

    The description of protein backbone was recently improved with a group of structural fragments called Structural Alphabets instead of the regular three states (Helix, Sheet and Coil) secondary structure description. Protein Blocks is one of the Structural Alphabets used to describe each and every region of protein backbone including the coil. According to de Brevern (2000) the Protein Blocks has 16 structural fragments and each one has 5 residues in length. Protein Blocks fragments are highly informative among the available Structural Alphabets and it has been used for many applications. Here, we present a protein fold recognition method based on Protein Blocks for the annotation of twilight zone sequences. In our method, we align the predicted Protein Blocks of a query amino acid sequence with a library of assigned Protein Blocks of 953 known folds using the local pair-wise alignment. The alignment results with z-value ≥ 2.5 and P-value ≤ 0.08 are predicted as possible folds. Our method is able to recognize the possible folds for nearly 35.5% of the twilight zone sequences with their predicted Protein Block sequence obtained by pb_prediction, which is available at Protein Block Export server.

  4. Integral and differential form of the protein folding problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tramontano, Anna

    2004-07-01

    The availability of the complete genomic sequences of many species, including human, has raised enormous expectations in medicine, pharmacology, ecology, biotechnology and forensic sciences. However, knowledge is only a first step toward understanding, and we are only at the early stage of a scientific process that might lead us to satisfy all the expectations raised by the genomic projects. In this review I will discuss the present status of computational methods that attempt to infer the unique three-dimensional structure of proteins from their amino acid sequences. Although this problem has been defined as the “holy grail” of biology, it represents only one of the many hurdles in our path towards the understanding of life at a molecular level.

  5. Fundamental processes of protein folding: measuring the energetic balance between helix formation and hydrophobic interactions.

    PubMed

    Xian, Wujing; Connolly, Peter J; Oslin, Marcela; Hausrath, Andrew C; Osterhout, John J

    2006-09-01

    Theories of protein folding often consider contributions from three fundamental elements: loops, hydrophobic interactions, and secondary structures. The pathway of protein folding, the rate of folding, and the final folded structure should be predictable if the energetic contributions to folding of these fundamental factors were properly understood. alphatalpha is a helix-turn-helix peptide that was developed by de novo design to provide a model system for the study of these important elements of protein folding. Hydrogen exchange experiments were performed on selectively 15N-labeled alphatalpha and used to calculate the stability of hydrogen bonds within the peptide. The resulting pattern of hydrogen bond stability was analyzed using a version of Lifson-Roig model that was extended to include a statistical parameter for tertiary interactions. This parameter, x, represents the additional statistical weight conferred upon a helical state by a tertiary contact. The hydrogen exchange data is most closely fit by the XHC model with an x parameter of 9.25. Thus the statistical weight of a hydrophobic tertiary contact is approximately 5.8x the statistical weight for helix formation by alanine. The value for the x parameter derived from this study should provide a basis for the understanding of the relationship between hydrophobic cluster formation and secondary structure formation during the early stages of protein folding.

  6. Balance Between Folding and Degradation for Hsp90-Dependent Client Proteins: A Key Role for CHIP

    PubMed Central

    Kundrat, Lenka; Regan, Lynne

    2011-01-01

    Cells must regulate the synthesis and degradation of their proteins to maintain a balance that is appropriate for their specific growth conditions. Here we present the results of an investigation of the balance between protein folding and degradation for mammalian chaperone Hsp90-dependent client proteins. The central players are the molecular chaperones Hsp70 and Hsp90, the co-chaperone HOP, and ubiquitin ligase, CHIP. Hsp70 and Hsp90 bind to HOP thus forming a ternary folding complex whereas the binding of CHIP to the chaperones has previously been shown to lead to ubiquitination and ultimately to degradation of the client proteins as well as the chaperones. To understand the folding/degradation balance in more detail, we characterized the stoichiometries of the CHIP-Hsp70 and CHIP-Hsp90 complexes and measured the corresponding dissociation constants to be ~ 1 µM and ~ 4.5 µM respectively. We quantified the rate of ubiquitination of various substrates by CHIP in vitro. We further determined that the folding and degradation machineries cannot coexist in one complex. Lastly, we measured the in vivo concentrations of Hsp70, Hsp90, HOP, and CHIP under normal conditions and when client proteins are being degraded due to inhibition of the folding pathway. These in vivo measurements along with the in vitro data allowed us to calculate the approximate cellular concentrations of the folding and degradation complexes under both conditions and formulate a quantitative model for the balance between protein folding and degradation as well as an explanation for the shift to client protein degradation when the folding pathway is inhibited. PMID:20704274

  7. Role of mRNA structure in the control of protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Faure, Guilhem; Ogurtsov, Aleksey Y.; Shabalina, Svetlana A.; Koonin, Eugene V.

    2016-01-01

    Specific structures in mRNA modulate translation rate and thus can affect protein folding. Using the protein structures from two eukaryotes and three prokaryotes, we explore the connections between the protein compactness, inferred from solvent accessibility, and mRNA structure, inferred from mRNA folding energy (ΔG). In both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the ΔG value of the most stable 30 nucleotide segment of the mRNA (ΔGmin) strongly, positively correlates with protein solvent accessibility. Thus, mRNAs containing exceptionally stable secondary structure elements typically encode compact proteins. The correlations between ΔG and protein compactness are much more pronounced in predicted ordered parts of proteins compared to the predicted disordered parts, indicative of an important role of mRNA secondary structure elements in the control of protein folding. Additionally, ΔG correlates with the mRNA length and the evolutionary rate of synonymous positions. The correlations are partially independent and were used to construct multiple regression models which explain about half of the variance of protein solvent accessibility. These findings suggest a model in which the mRNA structure, particularly exceptionally stable RNA structural elements, act as gauges of protein co-translational folding by reducing ribosome speed when the nascent peptide needs time to form and optimize the core structure. PMID:27466388

  8. Ab initio protein folding simulations using atomic burials as informational intermediates between sequence and structure.

    PubMed

    van der Linden, Marx Gomes; Ferreira, Diogo César; de Oliveira, Leandro Cristante; Onuchic, José N; de Araújo, Antônio F Pereira

    2014-07-01

    The three-dimensional structure of proteins is determined by their linear amino acid sequences but decipherment of the underlying protein folding code has remained elusive. Recent studies have suggested that burials, as expressed by atomic distances to the molecular center, are sufficiently informative for structural determination while potentially obtainable from sequences. Here we provide direct evidence for this distinctive role of burials in the folding code, demonstrating that burial propensities estimated from local sequence can indeed be used to fold globular proteins in ab initio simulations. We have used a statistical scheme based on a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) to classify all heavy atoms of a protein into a small number of burial atomic types depending on sequence context. Molecular dynamics simulations were then performed with a potential that forces all atoms of each type towards their predicted burial level, while simple geometric constraints were imposed on covalent structure and hydrogen bond formation. The correct folded conformation was obtained and distinguished in simulations that started from extended chains for a selection of structures comprising all three folding classes and high burial prediction quality. These results demonstrate that atomic burials can act as informational intermediates between sequence and structure, providing a new conceptual framework for improving structural prediction and understanding the fundamentals of protein folding.

  9. Use of folding modulators to improve heterologous protein production in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Kolaj, Olga; Spada, Stefania; Robin, Sylvain; Wall, J Gerard

    2009-01-01

    Despite the fundamental importance of E. coli in the manufacture of a wide range of biotechnological and biomedical products, extensive process and/or target optimisation is routinely required in order to achieve functional yields in excess of low mg/l levels. Molecular chaperones and folding catalysts appear to present a panacea for problems of heterologous protein folding in the organism, due largely to their broad substrate range compared with, e.g., protein-specific mutagenesis approaches. Painstaking investigation of chaperone overproduction has, however, met with mixed – and largely unpredictable – results to date. The past 5 years have nevertheless seen an explosion in interest in exploiting the native folding modulators of E. coli, and particularly cocktails thereof, driven largely by the availability of plasmid systems that facilitate simultaneous, non-rational screening of multiple chaperones during recombinant protein expression. As interest in using E. coli to produce recombinant membrane proteins and even glycoproteins grows, approaches to reduce aggregation, delay host cell lysis and optimise expression of difficult-to-express recombinant proteins will become even more critical over the coming years. In this review, we critically evaluate the performance of molecular chaperones and folding catalysts native to E. coli in improving functional production of heterologous proteins in the bacterium and we discuss how they might best be exploited to provide increased amounts of correctly-folded, active protein for biochemical and biophysical studies. PMID:19173718

  10. Autonomously Folding Protein Fragments Reveal Differences in the Energy Landscapes of Homologous RNases H

    PubMed Central

    Rosen, Laura E.; Marqusee, Susan

    2015-01-01

    An important approach to understanding how a protein sequence encodes its energy landscape is to compare proteins with different sequences that fold to the same general native structure. In this work, we compare E. coli and T. thermophilus homologs of the protein RNase H. Using protein fragments, we create equilibrium mimics of two different potential partially-folded intermediates (Icore and Icore+1) hypothesized to be present on the energy landscapes of these two proteins. We observe that both T. thermophilus RNase H (ttRNH) fragments are folded and have distinct stabilities, indicating that both regions are capable of autonomous folding and that both intermediates are present as local minima on the ttRNH energy landscape. In contrast, the two E. coli RNase H (ecRNH) fragments have very similar stabilities, suggesting that the presence of additional residues in the Icore+1 fragment does not affect the folding or structure as compared to Icore. NMR experiments provide additional evidence that only the Icore intermediate is populated by ecRNH. This is one of the biggest differences that has been observed between the energy landscapes of these two proteins. Additionally, we used a FRET experiment in the background of full-length ttRNH to specifically monitor the formation of the Icore+1 intermediate. We determine that the ttRNH Icore+1 intermediate is likely the intermediate populated prior to the rate-limiting barrier to global folding, in contrast to E. coli RNase H for which Icore is the folding intermediate. This result provides new insight into the nature of the rate-limiting barrier for the folding of RNase H. PMID:25803034

  11. On Simplified Global Nonlinear Function for Fitness Landscape: A Case Study of Inverse Protein Folding

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Yun; Hu, Changyu; Dai, Yang; Liang, Jie

    2014-01-01

    The construction of fitness landscape has broad implication in understanding molecular evolution, cellular epigenetic state, and protein structures. We studied the problem of constructing fitness landscape of inverse protein folding or protein design, with the aim to generate amino acid sequences that would fold into an a priori determined structural fold which would enable engineering novel or enhanced biochemistry. For this task, an effective fitness function should allow identification of correct sequences that would fold into the desired structure. In this study, we showed that nonlinear fitness function for protein design can be constructed using a rectangular kernel with a basis set of proteins and decoys chosen a priori. The full landscape for a large number of protein folds can be captured using only 480 native proteins and 3,200 non-protein decoys via a finite Newton method. A blind test of a simplified version of fitness function for sequence design was carried out to discriminate simultaneously 428 native sequences not homologous to any training proteins from 11 million challenging protein-like decoys. This simplified function correctly classified 408 native sequences (20 misclassifications, 95% correct rate), which outperforms several other statistical linear scoring function and optimized linear function. Our results further suggested that for the task of global sequence design of 428 selected proteins, the search space of protein shape and sequence can be effectively parametrized with just about 3,680 carefully chosen basis set of proteins and decoys, and we showed in addition that the overall landscape is not overly sensitive to the specific choice of this set. Our results can be generalized to construct other types of fitness landscape. PMID:25110986

  12. On simplified global nonlinear function for fitness landscape: a case study of inverse protein folding.

    PubMed

    Xu, Yun; Hu, Changyu; Dai, Yang; Liang, Jie

    2014-01-01

    The construction of fitness landscape has broad implication in understanding molecular evolution, cellular epigenetic state, and protein structures. We studied the problem of constructing fitness landscape of inverse protein folding or protein design, with the aim to generate amino acid sequences that would fold into an a priori determined structural fold which would enable engineering novel or enhanced biochemistry. For this task, an effective fitness function should allow identification of correct sequences that would fold into the desired structure. In this study, we showed that nonlinear fitness function for protein design can be constructed using a rectangular kernel with a basis set of proteins and decoys chosen a priori. The full landscape for a large number of protein folds can be captured using only 480 native proteins and 3,200 non-protein decoys via a finite Newton method. A blind test of a simplified version of fitness function for sequence design was carried out to discriminate simultaneously 428 native sequences not homologous to any training proteins from 11 million challenging protein-like decoys. This simplified function correctly classified 408 native sequences (20 misclassifications, 95% correct rate), which outperforms several other statistical linear scoring function and optimized linear function. Our results further suggested that for the task of global sequence design of 428 selected proteins, the search space of protein shape and sequence can be effectively parametrized with just about 3,680 carefully chosen basis set of proteins and decoys, and we showed in addition that the overall landscape is not overly sensitive to the specific choice of this set. Our results can be generalized to construct other types of fitness landscape.

  13. A single aromatic core mutation converts a designed “primitive” protein from halophile to mesophile folding

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    The halophile environment has a number of compelling aspects with regard to the origin of structured polypeptides (i.e., proteogenesis) and, instead of a curious niche that living systems adapted into, the halophile environment is emerging as a candidate “cradle” for proteogenesis. In this viewpoint, a subsequent halophile-to-mesophile transition was a key step in early evolution. Several lines of evidence indicate that aromatic amino acids were a late addition to the codon table and not part of the original “prebiotic” set comprising the earliest polypeptides. We test the hypothesis that the availability of aromatic amino acids could facilitate a halophile-to-mesophile transition by hydrophobic core-packing enhancement. The effects of aromatic amino acid substitutions were evaluated in the core of a “primitive” designed protein enriched for the 10 prebiotic amino acids (A,D,E,G,I,L,P,S,T,V)—having an exclusively prebiotic core and requiring halophilic conditions for folding. The results indicate that a single aromatic amino acid substitution is capable of eliminating the requirement of halophile conditions for folding of a “primitive” polypeptide. Thus, the availability of aromatic amino acids could have facilitated a critical halophile-to-mesophile protein folding adaptation—identifying a selective advantage for the incorporation of aromatic amino acids into the codon table. PMID:25297559

  14. The Role of Electrostatic Interactions in Folding of β-Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Caitlin M.; Dyer, R. Brian

    2016-01-01

    Atomic-level molecular dynamic simulations are capable of fully folding structurally diverse proteins; however, they are limited in their ability to accurately represent electrostatic interactions. Here we have experimentally tested the role of charged residues on stability and folding kinetics of one of the most widely simulated β-proteins, the WW domain. The folding of wild type Pin1 WW domain, which has two positively charged residues in the first turn, was compared to the fast folding mutant FiP35 Pin1, which introduces a negative charge into the first turn. A combination of FTIR spectroscopy and laser-induced temperature-jump coupled with infrared spectroscopy was used to probe changes in the amide I region. The relaxation dynamics of the peptide backbone, β-sheets and β-turns, and negatively charged aspartic acid side chain of FiP35 were measured independently by probing the corresponding bands assigned in the amide I region. Folding is initiated in the turns and the β-sheets form last. While the global folding mechanism is in good agreement with simulation predictions, we observe changes in the protonation state of aspartic acid during folding that have not been captured by simulation methods. The protonation state of aspartic acid is coupled to protein folding; the apparent pKa of aspartic acid in the folded protein is 6.4. The dynamics of the aspartic acid follow the dynamics of the intermediate phase, supporting assignment of this phase to formation of the first hairpin. These results demonstrate the importance of electrostatic interactions in turn stability and formation of extended β-sheet structures. PMID:26750867

  15. Fluorescent In Situ Folding Control for Rapid Optimization of Cell-Free Membrane Protein Synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Müller-Lucks, Annika; Bock, Sinja; Wu, Binghua; Beitz, Eric

    2012-01-01

    Cell-free synthesis is an open and powerful tool for high-yield protein production in small reaction volumes predestined for high-throughput structural and functional analysis. Membrane proteins require addition of detergents for solubilization, liposomes, or nanodiscs. Hence, the number of parameters to be tested is significantly higher than with soluble proteins. Optimization is commonly done with respect to protein yield, yet without knowledge of the protein folding status. This approach contains a large inherent risk of ending up with non-functional protein. We show that fluorophore formation in C-terminal fusions with green fluorescent protein (GFP) indicates the folding state of a membrane protein in situ, i.e. within the cell-free reaction mixture, as confirmed by circular dichroism (CD), proteoliposome reconstitution and functional assays. Quantification of protein yield and in-gel fluorescence intensity imply suitability of the method for membrane proteins of bacterial, protozoan, plant, and mammalian origin, representing vacuolar and plasma membrane localization, as well as intra- and extracellular positioning of the C-terminus. We conclude that GFP-fusions provide an extension to cell-free protein synthesis systems eliminating the need for experimental folding control and, thus, enabling rapid optimization towards membrane protein quality. PMID:22848743

  16. A protein fold classifier formed by fusing different modes of pseudo amino acid composition via PSSM.

    PubMed

    Kavousi, Kaveh; Moshiri, Behzad; Sadeghi, Mehdi; Araabi, Babak N; Moosavi-Movahedi, Ali Akbar

    2011-02-01

    Protein function is related to its chemical reaction to the surrounding environment including other proteins. On the other hand, this depends on the spatial shape and tertiary structure of protein and folding of its constituent components in space. The correct identification of protein domain fold solely using extracted information from protein sequence is a complicated and controversial task in the current computational biology. In this article a combined classifier based on the information content of extracted features from the primary structure of protein has been introduced to face this challenging problem. In the first stage of our proposed two-tier architecture, there are several classifiers each of which is trained with a different sequence based feature vector. Apart from the application of the predicted secondary structure, hydrophobicity, van der Waals volume, polarity, polarizability, and different dimensions of pseudo-amino acid composition vectors in similar studies, the position specific scoring matrix (PSSM) has also been used to improve the correct classification rate (CCR) in this study. Using K-fold cross validation on training dataset related to 27 famous folds of SCOP, the 28 dimensional probability output vector from each evidence theoretic K-NN classifier is used to determine the information content or expertness of corresponding feature for discrimination in each fold class. In the second stage, the outputs of classifiers for test dataset are fused using Sugeno fuzzy integral operator to make better decision for target fold class. The expertness factor of each classifier in each fold class has been used to calculate the fuzzy integral operator weights. Results make it possible to provide deeper interpretation about the effectiveness of each feature for discrimination in target classes for query proteins.

  17. Refolding of urea-denatured α-chymotrypsin by protein-folding liquid chromatography.

    PubMed

    Congyu, Ke; Wujuan, Sun; Qunzheng, Zhang; Xindu, Geng

    2013-04-01

    An approach for re-folding denatured proteins during proteome research by protein folding liquid chromatography (PFLC) is presented. Standard protein, α-chymotrypsin (α-Chy), was selected as a model protein and hydrophobic interaction chromatography was performed as a typical PFLC; the three different α-Chy states - urea-denatured (U state), its folded intermediates (M state) and nature state (N state) - were studied during protein folding. Based on the test by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry and bioactivity, only one stable M state of the α-Chy was identified and then it was prepared for further investigation. The specific bioactivity of the refolded α-Chy was found to be higher than that of commercial α-Chy as the urea concentration in the sample solution ranged from 1.0 to 3.0 m; the highest specific bioactivity at urea concentration was 1.0 m, indicating the possibility for re-folding some proteins that have partially or completely lost their bioactivity, as a dilute urea solution was employed for dissolving the sample. The experiment showed that the peak height of its M state increased with increasing urea concentration, and correspondingly decreased in the amount of the refolded α-Chy. When the urea concentration reached 6.0 m, the unfolded α-Chy could not be refolded at all.

  18. Simulation studies of protein folding/unfolding equilibrium under polar and nonpolar confinement.

    PubMed

    Tian, Jianhui; Garcia, Angel E

    2011-09-28

    We study the equilibrium folding/unfolding thermodynamics of a small globular miniprotein, the Trp cage, that is confined to the interior of a 2 nm radius fullerene ball. The interactions of the fullerene surface are changed from nonpolar to polar to mimic the interior of the GroEL/ES chaperonin that assists proteins to fold in vivo. We find that nonpolar confinement stabilizes the folded state of the protein due to the effects of volume reduction that destabilize the unfolded state and also due to interactions with the fullerene surface. For the Trp cage, polar confinement has a net destabilizing effect that results from the stabilizing confinement and the competitive exclusion effect that keeps the protein away from the surface hydration shell and stronger interactions between charged side chains in the protein and the polar surface that compete against the formation of an ion pair that stabilizes the protein folded state. We show that confinement effects due to volume reduction can be overcome by sequence-specific interactions of the protein side chains with the encapsulating surface. This study shows that there is a complex balance among many competing effects that determine the mechanism of GroEL chaperonin in enhancing the folding rate of polypeptide inside its cavity.

  19. Förster resonance energy transfer as a probe of membrane protein folding.

    PubMed

    Kang, Guipeun; López-Peña, Ignacio; Oklejas, Vanessa; Gary, Cyril S; Cao, Weihan; Kim, Judy E

    2012-02-01

    The folding reaction of a β-barrel membrane protein, outer membrane protein A (OmpA), is probed with Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) experiments. Four mutants of OmpA were generated in which the donor fluorophore, tryptophan, and acceptor molecule, a naphthalene derivative, are placed in various locations on the protein to report the evolution of distances across the bilayer and across the protein pore during a folding event. Analysis of the FRET efficiencies reveals three timescales for tertiary structure changes associated with insertion and folding into a synthetic bilayer. A narrow pore forms during the initial stage of insertion, followed by bilayer traversal. Finally, a long-time component is attributed to equilibration and relaxation, and may involve global changes such as pore expansion and strand extension. These results augment the existing models that describe concerted insertion and folding events, and highlight the ability of FRET to provide insight into the complex mechanisms of membrane protein folding. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane protein structure and function.

  20. Topography of funneled landscapes determines the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jin; Oliveira, Ronaldo J.; Chu, Xiakun; Whitford, Paul C.; Chahine, Jorge; Han, Wei; Wang, Erkang; Onuchic, José N.; Leite, Vitor B.P.

    2012-01-01

    The energy landscape approach has played a fundamental role in advancing our understanding of protein folding. Here, we quantify protein folding energy landscapes by exploring the underlying density of states. We identify three quantities essential for characterizing landscape topography: the stabilizing energy gap between the native and nonnative ensembles δE, the energetic roughness ΔE, and the scale of landscape measured by the entropy S. We show that the dimensionless ratio between the gap, roughness, and entropy of the system accurately predicts the thermodynamics, as well as the kinetics of folding. Large Λ implies that the energy gap (or landscape slope towards the native state) is dominant, leading to more funneled landscapes. We investigate the role of topological and energetic roughness for proteins of different sizes and for proteins of the same size, but with different structural topologies. The landscape topography ratio Λ is shown to be monotonically correlated with the thermodynamic stability against trapping, as characterized by the ratio of folding temperature versus trapping temperature. Furthermore, Λ also monotonically correlates with the folding kinetic rates. These results provide the quantitative bridge between the landscape topography and experimental folding measurements. PMID:23019359

  1. Atomistic protein folding simulations on the submillisecond time scale using worldwide distributed computing.

    PubMed

    Pande, Vijay S; Baker, Ian; Chapman, Jarrod; Elmer, Sidney P; Khaliq, Siraj; Larson, Stefan M; Rhee, Young Min; Shirts, Michael R; Snow, Christopher D; Sorin, Eric J; Zagrovic, Bojan

    2003-01-01

    Atomistic simulations of protein folding have the potential to be a great complement to experimental studies, but have been severely limited by the time scales accessible with current computer hardware and algorithms. By employing a worldwide distributed computing network of tens of thousands of PCs and algorithms designed to efficiently utilize this new many-processor, highly heterogeneous, loosely coupled distributed computing paradigm, we have been able to simulate hundreds of microseconds of atomistic molecular dynamics. This has allowed us to directly simulate the folding mechanism and to accurately predict the folding rate of several fast-folding proteins and polymers, including a nonbiological helix, polypeptide alpha-helices, a beta-hairpin, and a three-helix bundle protein from the villin headpiece. Our results demonstrate that one can reach the time scales needed to simulate fast folding using distributed computing, and that potential sets used to describe interatomic interactions are sufficiently accurate to reach the folded state with experimentally validated rates, at least for small proteins.

  2. Beta-Barrel Scaffold of Fluorescent Proteins: Folding, Stability and Role in Chromophore Formation

    PubMed Central

    Stepanenko, Olesya V.; Stepanenko, Olga V.; Kuznetsova, Irina M.; Verkhusha, Vladislav V.; Turoverov, Konstantin K.

    2013-01-01

    This review focuses on the current view of the interaction between the β-barrel scaffold of fluorescent proteins and their unique chromophore located in the internal helix. The chromophore originates from the polypeptide chain and its properties are influenced by the surrounding protein matrix of the β-barrel. On the other hand, it appears that a chromophore tightens the β-barrel scaffold and plays a crucial role in its stability. Furthermore, the presence of a mature chromophore causes hysteresis of protein unfolding and refolding. We survey studies measuring protein unfolding and refolding using traditional methods as well as new approaches, such as mechanical unfolding and reassembly of truncated fluorescent proteins. We also analyze models of fluorescent protein unfolding and refolding obtained through different approaches, and compare the results of protein folding in vitro to co-translational folding of a newly synthesized polypeptide chain. PMID:23351712

  3. The role of proline in the prevention of aggregation during protein folding in vitro.

    PubMed

    Kumar, T K; Samuel, D; Jayaraman, G; Srimathi, T; Yu, C

    1998-10-01

    Proline effectively inhibits protein aggregation during the refolding of bovine carbonic anhydrase. Other osmolytes used such as glycine and ethylene glycol fail to exhibit the 'aggregation-blockade' role shown by proline. Results of viscosity and ANS fluorescence (1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulphonic acid) experiments suggest that proline at high concentrations forms an ordered supramolecular assembly. Based on these results, it is proposed that proline behaves as a protein folding chaperone due to the formation of an ordered, amphipathic supramolecular assembly. To our knowledge, this is the first report wherein proline is proposed as a protein folding aid.

  4. Introducing the Levinthal's Protein Folding Paradox and Its Solution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Martínez, Leandro

    2014-01-01

    The protein folding (Levinthal's) paradox states that it would not be possible in a physically meaningful time to a protein to reach the native (functional) conformation by a random search of the enormously large number of possible structures. This paradox has been solved: it was shown that small biases toward the native conformation result…

  5. Structural heterogeneity of 6 M GdmCl-denatured proteins: implications for the mechanism of protein folding.

    PubMed

    Chang, Jui-Yoa

    2009-10-13

    An in vitro experiment with protein folding is typically initiated with 6 M GdmCl-denatured proteins, which are generally considered fully unfolded. However, studies conducted by various laboratories have shown that many 6 M GdmCl-denatured proteins are structurally heterogeneous and still retain nativelike residual structures. The extent of conformational heterogeneity of the 6 M GdmCl-denatured protein has significant implications for the folding landscape as well as the interpretation of the observed early stage folding mechanism. Using the method of disulfide scrambling, we are able to gain rough insight into the diverse structural properties of 6 M GdmCl-denatured proteins. It demonstrates that most 6 M GdmCl-denatured proteins are approximately fully denatured, but partially unfolded. Most of them comprise diverse conformational isomers. We review here the cumulative evidence obtained from various laboratories and also provide experimental data obtained in our laboratory.

  6. New insights into structural determinants of prion protein folding and stability.

    PubMed

    Benetti, Federico; Legname, Giuseppe

    2015-01-01

    Prions are the etiological agent of fatal neurodegenerative diseases called prion diseases or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. These maladies can be sporadic, genetic or infectious disorders. Prions are due to post-translational modifications of the cellular prion protein leading to the formation of a β-sheet enriched conformer with altered biochemical properties. The molecular events causing prion formation in sporadic prion diseases are still elusive. Recently, we published a research elucidating the contribution of major structural determinants and environmental factors in prion protein folding and stability. Our study highlighted the crucial role of octarepeats in stabilizing prion protein; the presence of a highly enthalpically stable intermediate state in prion-susceptible species; and the role of disulfide bridge in preserving native fold thus avoiding the misfolding to a β-sheet enriched isoform. Taking advantage from these findings, in this work we present new insights into structural determinants of prion protein folding and stability.

  7. Does mRNA structure contain genetic information for regulating co-translational protein folding?

    PubMed Central

    Yang, Jian-Rong

    2017-01-01

    Currently many facets of genetic information are illdefined. In particular, how protein folding is genetically regulated has been a long-standing issue for genetics and protein biology. And a generic mechanistic model with supports of genomic data is still lacking. Recent technological advances have enabled much needed genome-wide experiments. While putting the effect of codon optimality on debate, these studies have supplied mounting evidence suggesting a role of mRNA structure in the regulation of protein folding by modulating translational elongation rate. In conjunctions with previous theories, this mechanistic model of protein folding guided by mRNA structure shall expand our understandings of genetic information and offer new insights into various biomedical puzzles. PMID:28271668

  8. Pressure induces folding intermediates that are crucial for protein-DNA recognition and virus assembly.

    PubMed

    Silva, Jerson L; Oliveira, Andréa C; Gomes, Andre M O; Lima, Luís Maurício T R; Mohana-Borges, Ronaldo; Pacheco, Ana B F; Foguel, Débora

    2002-03-25

    Protein-nucleic acid interactions are crucial for a variety of fundamental biological processes such as replication, transcription, restriction, translation and virus assembly. The molecular basis of protein-DNA and protein-RNA recognition is deeply related to the thermodynamics of the systems. We review here how protein-nucleic acid interactions can be approached in the same way as protein-protein interactions involved in protein folding and protein assembly, using hydrostatic pressure as the primary tool and employing several spectroscopic techniques, especially fluorescence, circular dichroism and high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance. High pressure has the unique property of stabilizing partially folded states or molten-globule states of a protein. The competition between correct folding and misfolding, which in many proteins leads to formation of insoluble aggregates is an important problem in the biotechnology industry and in human diseases such as amyloidosis, Alzheimer's, prion and tumor diseases. The pressure studies reveal that a gradient of partially folded (molten globule) conformations is present between the unfolded and fully folded structure of several bacteria, plant and mammalian viruses. Using pressure, we have detected the presence of a ribonucleoprotein intermediate, where the coat protein is partially unfolded but bound to RNA. These intermediates are potential targets for antiviral compounds. Pressure studies on viruses have direct biotechnological applications. The ability of pressure to inactivate viruses has been evaluated with a view toward the applications of vaccine development and virus sterilization. Recent studies demonstrate that pressure causes virus inactivation while preserving the immunogenic properties. There is substantial evidence that a high-pressure cycle traps a virus in the 'fusion intermediate state', not infectious but highly immunogenic.

  9. Analysis of proteins with the 'hot dog' fold: Prediction of function and identification of catalytic residues of hypothetical proteins

    PubMed Central

    Pidugu, Lakshmi S; Maity, Koustav; Ramaswamy, Karthikeyan; Surolia, Namita; Suguna, Kaza

    2009-01-01

    Background The hot dog fold has been found in more than sixty proteins since the first report of its existence about a decade ago. The fold appears to have a strong association with fatty acid biosynthesis, its regulation and metabolism, as the proteins with this fold are predominantly coenzyme A-binding enzymes with a variety of substrates located at their active sites. Results We have analyzed the structural features and sequences of proteins having the hot dog fold. This study reveals that though the basic architecture of the fold is well conserved in these proteins, significant differences exist in their sequence, nature of substrate and oligomerization. Segments with certain conserved sequence motifs seem to play crucial structural and functional roles in various classes of these proteins. Conclusion The analysis led to predictions regarding the functional classification and identification of possible catalytic residues of a number of hot dog fold-containing hypothetical proteins whose structures were determined in high throughput structural genomics projects. PMID:19473548

  10. Atomic-Level Structure Characterization of an Ultrafast Folding Mini-Protein Denatured State

    PubMed Central

    Rogne, Per; Ozdowy, Przemysław; Richter, Christian; Saxena, Krishna; Schwalbe, Harald; Kuhn, Lars T.

    2012-01-01

    Atomic-level analyses of non-native protein ensembles constitute an important aspect of protein folding studies to reach a more complete understanding of how proteins attain their native form exhibiting biological activity. Previously, formation of hydrophobic clusters in the 6 M urea-denatured state of an ultrafast folding mini-protein known as TC5b from both photo-CIDNP NOE transfer studies and FCS measurements was observed. Here, we elucidate the structural properties of this mini-protein denatured in 6 M urea performing 15N NMR relaxation studies together with a thorough NOE analysis. Even though our results demonstrate that no elements of secondary structure persist in the denatured state, the heterogeneous distribution of R2 rate constants together with observing pronounced heteronuclear NOEs along the peptide backbone reveals specific regions of urea-denatured TC5b exhibiting a high degree of structural rigidity more frequently observed for native proteins. The data are complemented with studies on two TC5b point mutants to verify the importance of hydrophobic interactions for fast folding. Our results corroborate earlier findings of a hydrophobic cluster present in urea-denatured TC5b comprising both native and non-native contacts underscoring their importance for ultra rapid folding. The data assist in finding ways of interpreting the effects of pre-existing native and/or non-native interactions on the ultrafast folding of proteins; a fact, which might have to be considered when defining the starting conditions for molecular dynamics simulation studies of protein folding. PMID:22848459

  11. Principles of protein folding--a perspective from simple exact models.

    PubMed Central

    Dill, K. A.; Bromberg, S.; Yue, K.; Fiebig, K. M.; Yee, D. P.; Thomas, P. D.; Chan, H. S.

    1995-01-01

    General principles of protein structure, stability, and folding kinetics have recently been explored in computer simulations of simple exact lattice models. These models represent protein chains at a rudimentary level, but they involve few parameters, approximations, or implicit biases, and they allow complete explorations of conformational and sequence spaces. Such simulations have resulted in testable predictions that are sometimes unanticipated: The folding code is mainly binary and delocalized throughout the amino acid sequence. The secondary and tertiary structures of a protein are specified mainly by the sequence of polar and nonpolar monomers. More specific interactions may refine the structure, rather than dominate the folding code. Simple exact models can account for the properties that characterize protein folding: two-state cooperativity, secondary and tertiary structures, and multistage folding kinetics--fast hydrophobic collapse followed by slower annealing. These studies suggest the possibility of creating "foldable" chain molecules other than proteins. The encoding of a unique compact chain conformation may not require amino acids; it may require only the ability to synthesize specific monomer sequences in which at least one monomer type is solvent-averse. PMID:7613459

  12. Structural transitions in neutral and charged proteins in vacuo.

    PubMed

    Arteca, G A; Tapia, O

    2001-01-01

    In vacuo proteins provide a simple laboratory to explore the roles of sequence, temperature, charge state, and initial configuration in protein folding. Moreover, by the very absence of solvent, the study of anhydrous proteins in vacuo will also help us to understand specific environmental effects. From the experimental viewpoint, these systems are now beginning to be characterized at low resolution. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, in combination with tools for protein shape analysis, can complement experiments and provide further insights on the folding-unfolding transitions of these proteins. We review some aspects of this issue by using the results from a detailed MD study of hen egg-white lysozyme. For lysozyme ions, unfolding can be triggered by Coulombic repulsion. In neutral lysozyme, unfolding can be induced by centrifugal forces and also by weakening the monomer-monomer interaction. In both cases, the resulting unfolded transients can be used as initial configurations for relaxation dynamics. All trajectories are analyzed in terms of global molecular shape features of the backbone, including its anisometry and chain entanglement complexity. This strategy allows us to quantify separately the degree of polymer collapse and the evolution of large-scale folding features. Using these last two notions, we discuss some basic questions regarding the nature of the accessible paths associated with unfolding from, and refolding into, compact conformers.

  13. Protein structure, stability and folding in the cell -- in silico biophysical approaches

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheung, Margaret

    2010-03-01

    How the crowded environment inside a cell affects the structural conformation of a protein with aspherical shape is a vital question because the geometry of proteins and protein-protein complexes are far from globules in vivo. Here we address this question by combining computational and experimental studies of a spherical protein (i.e. apoflavodoxin), a football-shaped protein (i.e., Borrelia burgdorferi VlsE) and a dumbbell-shaped protein (i.e. calmodulin) under crowded, cell-like conditions. The results show that macromolecular crowding affects protein folding dynamics as well as an overall protein shape associated with changes in secondary structures. Our work demonstrates the malleability of ``native'' proteins and implies that crowding-induced shape changes may be important for protein function and malfunction in vivo.

  14. Statistical analysis of native contact formation in the folding of designed model proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiana, Guido; Broglia, Ricardo A.

    2001-02-01

    The time evolution of the formation probability of native bonds has been studied for designed sequences which fold fast into the native conformation. From this analysis a clear hierarchy of bonds emerge: (a) local, fast forming highly stable native bonds built by some of the most strongly interacting amino acids of the protein; (b) nonlocal bonds formed late in the folding process, in coincidence with the folding nucleus, and involving essentially the same strongly interacting amino acids already participating in the fast bonds; (c) the rest of the native bonds whose behavior is subordinated, to a large extent, to that of the strong local and nonlocal native contacts.

  15. MOLECULAR GENETIC AND BIOCHEMICAL APPROACHES FOR DEFINING LIPID-DEPENDENT MEMBRANE PROTEIN FOLDING

    PubMed Central

    Dowhan, William; Bogdanov, Mikhail

    2011-01-01

    We provide an overview of lipid-dependent polytopic membrane protein folding and topogenesis. Lipid dependence of this process was determined by employing Escherichia coli cells in which specific lipids can be eliminated, substituted, tightly titrated or controlled temporally during membrane protein synthesis and assembly. The secondary transport protein lactose permease (LacY) was used to establish general principles underlying the molecular basis of lipid-dependent effects on protein domain folding, protein transmembrane domain (TM) orientation, and function. These principles were then extended to several other secondary transport proteins of E. coli. The methods used to follow proper conformational organization of protein domains and the topological organization of protein TMs in whole cells and membranes are described. The proper folding of an extramembrane domain of LacY that is crucial for energy dependent uphill transport function depends on specific lipids acting as non-protein molecular chaperones. Correct TM topogenesis is dependent on charge interactions between the cytoplasmic surface of membrane proteins and a proper balance of the membrane surface net charge defined by the lipid head groups. Short-range interactions between the nascent protein chain and the translocon are necessary but not sufficient for establishment of final topology. After release from the translocon short-range interactions between lipid head groups and the nascent protein chain, partitioning of protein hydrophobic domains into the membrane bilayer, and long–range interactions within the protein thermodynamically drive final membrane protein organization. Given the diversity of membrane lipid compositions throughout nature, it is tempting to speculate that during the course of evolution the physical and chemical properties of proteins and lipids have co-evolved in the context of the lipid environment of membrane systems in which both are mutually depend on each other for

  16. The delicate balance between secreted protein folding and endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation in human physiology.

    PubMed

    Guerriero, Christopher J; Brodsky, Jeffrey L

    2012-04-01

    Protein folding is a complex, error-prone process that often results in an irreparable protein by-product. These by-products can be recognized by cellular quality control machineries and targeted for proteasome-dependent degradation. The folding of proteins in the secretory pathway adds another layer to the protein folding "problem," as the endoplasmic reticulum maintains a unique chemical environment within the cell. In fact, a growing number of diseases are attributed to defects in secretory protein folding, and many of these by-products are targeted for a process known as endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Since its discovery, research on the mechanisms underlying the ERAD pathway has provided new insights into how ERAD contributes to human health during both normal and diseases states. Links between ERAD and disease are evidenced from the loss of protein function as a result of degradation, chronic cellular stress when ERAD fails to keep up with misfolded protein production, and the ability of some pathogens to coopt the ERAD pathway. The growing number of ERAD substrates has also illuminated the differences in the machineries used to recognize and degrade a vast array of potential clients for this pathway. Despite all that is known about ERAD, many questions remain, and new paradigms will likely emerge. Clearly, the key to successful disease treatment lies within defining the molecular details of the ERAD pathway and in understanding how this conserved pathway selects and degrades an innumerable cast of substrates.

  17. Nucleic acid chaperons: a theory of an RNA-assisted protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Biro, Jan C

    2005-01-01

    Background Proteins are assumed to contain all the information necessary for unambiguous folding (Anfinsen's principle). However, ab initio structure prediction is often not successful because the amino acid sequence itself is not sufficient to guide between endless folding possibilities. It seems to be a logical to try to find the "missing" information in nucleic acids, in the redundant codon base. Results mRNA energy dot plots and protein residue contact maps were found to be rather similar. The structure of mRNA is also conserved if the protein structure is conserved, even if the sequence similarity is low. These observations led me to suppose that some similarity might exist between nucleic acid and protein folding. I found that amino acid pairs, which are co-located in the protein structure, are preferentially coded by complementary codons. This codon complementarity is not perfect; it is suboptimal where the 1st and 3rd codon residues are complementary to each other in reverse orientation, while the 2nd codon letters may be, but are not necessarily, complementary. Conclusion Partial complementary coding of co-locating amino acids in protein structures suggests that mRNA assists in protein folding and functions not only as a template but even as a chaperon during translation. This function explains the role of wobble bases and answers the mystery of why we have a redundant codon base. PMID:16137324

  18. Assessing the effect of dynamics on the closed-loop protein-folding hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Chintapalli, Sree V.; Illingworth, Christopher J. R.; Upton, Graham J. G.; Sacquin-Mora, Sophie; Reeves, Philip J.; Mohammedali, Hani S.; Reynolds, Christopher A.

    2014-01-01

    The closed-loop (loop-n-lock) hypothesis of protein folding suggests that loops of about 25 residues, closed through interactions between the loop ends (locks), play an important role in protein structure. Coarse-grain elastic network simulations, and examination of loop lengths in a diverse set of proteins, each supports a bias towards loops of close to 25 residues in length between residues of high stability. Previous studies have established a correlation between total contact distance (TCD), a metric of sequence distances between contacting residues (cf. contact order), and the log-folding rate of a protein. In a set of 43 proteins, we identify an improved correlation (r2 = 0.76), when the metric is restricted to residues contacting the locks, compared to the equivalent result when all residues are considered (r2 = 0.65). This provides qualified support for the hypothesis, albeit with an increased emphasis upon the importance of a much larger set of residues surrounding the locks. Evidence of a similar-sized protein core/extended nucleus (with significant overlap) was obtained from TCD calculations in which residues were successively eliminated according to their hydrophobicity and connectivity, and from molecular dynamics simulations. Our results suggest that while folding is determined by a subset of residues that can be predicted by application of the closed-loop hypothesis, the original hypothesis is too simplistic; efficient protein folding is dependent on a considerably larger subset of residues than those involved in lock formation. PMID:24258160

  19. SYNONYMOUS CODONS DIRECT CO-TRANSLATIONAL FOLDING TOWARDS DIFFERENT PROTEIN CONFORMATIONS

    PubMed Central

    Mittelstaet, Joerg; Kutz, Felicitas; Schwalbe, Harald; Rodnina, Marina V.; Komar, Anton A.

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY In all genomes, most amino acids are encoded by more than one codon. Synonymous codons can modulate protein production and folding, but the mechanism connecting codon usage to protein homeostasis is not known. Here we show that synonymous codon variants in the gene encoding gamma-B crystallin, a mammalian eye lens protein, modulate the rates of translation and co-translational folding of protein domains monitored in real time by Förster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence intensity changes. Gamma-B crystallins produced from mRNAs with changed codon bias have the same amino acid sequence, but attain different conformations as indicated by altered in vivo stability and in vitro protease resistance. 2D NMR spectroscopic data suggest that structural differences are associated with different cysteine oxidation states of the purified proteins, providing a link between translation, folding, and the structures of isolated proteins. Thus, synonymous codons provide a secondary code for protein folding in the cell. PMID:26849192

  20. THE DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN SECRETED PROTEIN FOLDING AND ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM-ASSOCIATED DEGRADATION IN HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY

    PubMed Central

    Guerriero, Christopher J.; Brodsky, Jeffrey L.

    2014-01-01

    Protein folding is a complex, error-prone process that often results in an irreparable protein by-product. These by-products can be recognized by cellular quality control machineries and targeted for proteasome-dependent degradation. The folding of proteins in the secretory pathway adds another layer to the protein folding “problem,” as the endoplasmic reticulum maintains a unique chemical environment within the cell. In fact, a growing number of diseases are attributed to defects in secretory protein folding, and many of these by-products are targeted for a process known as endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Since its discovery, research on the mechanisms underlying the ERAD pathway has provided new insights into how ERAD contributes to human health during both normal and diseases states. Links between ERAD and disease are evidenced from the loss of protein function as a result of degradation, chronic cellular stress when ERAD fails to keep up with misfolded protein production, and the ability of some pathogens to coopt the ERAD pathway. The growing number of ERAD substrates has also illuminated the differences in the machineries used to recognize and degrade a vast array of potential clients for this pathway. Despite all that is known about ERAD, many questions remain, and new paradigms will likely emerge. Clearly, the key to successful disease treatment lies within defining the molecular details of the ERAD pathway and in understanding how this conserved pathway selects and degrades an innumerable cast of substrates. PMID:22535891

  1. Global stability of protein folding from an empirical free energy function.

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Blanco, Yasser B; Marrero-Ponce, Yovani; Paz, Waldo; García, Yamila; Salgado, Jesús

    2013-03-21

    The principles governing protein folding stand as one of the biggest challenges of Biophysics. Modeling the global stability of proteins and predicting their tertiary structure are hard tasks, due in part to the variety and large number of forces involved and the difficulties to describe them with sufficient accuracy. We have developed a fast, physics-based empirical potential, intended to be used in global structure prediction methods. This model considers four main contributions: Two entropic factors, the hydrophobic effect and configurational entropy, and two terms resulting from a decomposition of close-packing interactions, namely the balance of the dispersive interactions of folded and unfolded states and electrostatic interactions between residues. The parameters of the model were fixed from a protein data set whose unfolding free energy has been measured at the "standard" experimental conditions proposed by Maxwell et al. (2005) and a large data set of 1151 monomeric proteins obtained from the PDB. A blind test with proteins taken from ProTherm database, at similar experimental conditions, was carried out. We found a good correlation with the test data set, proving the effectiveness of our model for predicting protein folding free energies in considered standard conditions. Such a prediction compares favorably against estimations made with FoldX's function and the force field GROMOS96. This model constitutes a valuable tool for the fast evaluation of protein structure stability in 3D structure prediction methods.

  2. YidC assists the stepwise and stochastic folding of membrane proteins

    PubMed Central

    Serdiuk, Tetiana; Balasubramaniam, Dhandayuthapani; Sugihara, Junichi; Mari, Stefania A.; Kaback, H. Ronald; Müller, Daniel J.

    2016-01-01

    How chaperones, insertases and translocases facilitate insertion and folding of complex cytoplasmic proteins into cellular membranes is not fully understood. Here, we utilize single-molecule force spectroscopy to observe YidC, a transmembrane chaperone/insertase, sculpting the folding trajectory of the polytopic α-helical membrane protein lactose permease (LacY). In the absence of YidC, unfolded LacY inserts individual structural segments into the membrane; however, misfolding dominates the process so that folding cannot be completed. YidC prevents LacY from misfolding by stabilizing the unfolded state from which LacY inserts structural segments stepwise into the membrane until folding is completed. During stepwise insertion, YidC and membrane together stabilize the transient folds. Remarkably, the order of insertion of structural segments is stochastic, thereby indicating that LacY can fold along variable pathways towards the native structure. Since YidC is essential in membrane protein biogenesis and LacY a paradigm for the major facilitator superfamily, our observations have general relevance. PMID:27595331

  3. The role of high-dimensional diffusive search, stabilization, and frustration in protein folding.

    PubMed

    Rimratchada, Supreecha; McLeish, Tom C B; Radford, Sheena E; Paci, Emanuele

    2014-04-15

    Proteins are polymeric molecules with many degrees of conformational freedom whose internal energetic interactions are typically screened to small distances. Therefore, in the high-dimensional conformation space of a protein, the energy landscape is locally relatively flat, in contrast to low-dimensional representations, where, because of the induced entropic contribution to the full free energy, it appears funnel-like. Proteins explore the conformation space by searching these flat subspaces to find a narrow energetic alley that we call a hypergutter and then explore the next, lower-dimensional, subspace. Such a framework provides an effective representation of the energy landscape and folding kinetics that does justice to the essential characteristic of high-dimensionality of the search-space. It also illuminates the important role of nonnative interactions in defining folding pathways. This principle is here illustrated using a coarse-grained model of a family of three-helix bundle proteins whose conformations, once secondary structure has formed, can be defined by six rotational degrees of freedom. Two folding mechanisms are possible, one of which involves an intermediate. The stabilization of intermediate subspaces (or states in low-dimensional projection) in protein folding can either speed up or slow down the folding rate depending on the amount of native and nonnative contacts made in those subspaces. The folding rate increases due to reduced-dimension pathways arising from the mere presence of intermediate states, but decreases if the contacts in the intermediate are very stable and introduce sizeable topological or energetic frustration that needs to be overcome. Remarkably, the hypergutter framework, although depending on just a few physically meaningful parameters, can reproduce all the types of experimentally observed curvature in chevron plots for realizations of this fold.

  4. Integrated prediction of protein folding and unfolding rates from only size and structural class.

    PubMed

    De Sancho, David; Muñoz, Victor

    2011-10-14

    Protein stability, folding and unfolding rates are all determined by the multidimensional folding free energy surface, which in turn is dictated by factors such as size, structure, and amino-acid sequence. Work over the last 15 years has highlighted the role of size and 3D structure in determining folding rates, resulting in many procedures for their prediction. In contrast, unfolding rates are thought to depend on sequence specifics and be much more difficult to predict. Here we introduce a minimalist physics-based model that computes one-dimensional folding free energy surfaces using the number of aminoacids (N) and the structural class (α-helical, all-β, or α-β) as only protein-specific input. In this model N sets the overall cost in conformational entropy and the net stabilization energy, whereas the structural class defines the partitioning of the stabilization energy between local and non-local interactions. To test its predictive power, we calibrated the model empirically and implemented it into an algorithm for the PREdiction of Folding and Unfolding Rates (PREFUR). We found that PREFUR predicts the absolute folding and unfolding rates of an experimental database of 52 proteins with accuracies of ±0.7 and ±1.4 orders of magnitude, respectively (relative to experimental spans of 6 and 8 orders of magnitude). Such prediction uncertainty for proteins vastly varying in size and structure is only two-fold larger than the differences in folding (±0.34) and unfolding rates (±0.7) caused by single-point mutations. Moreover, PREFUR predicts protein stability with an accuracy of ±6.3 kJ mol(-1), relative to the 5 kJ mol(-1) average perturbation induced by single-point mutations. The remarkable performance of our simplistic model demonstrates that size and structural class are the major determinants of the folding landscapes of natural proteins, whereas sequence variability only provides the final 10-20% tuning. PREFUR is thus a powerful bioinformatic tool

  5. Denatured proteins and early folding intermediates simulated in a reduced conformational space.

    PubMed

    Kmiecik, Sebastian; Kurcinski, Mateusz; Rutkowska, Aleksandra; Gront, Dominik; Kolinski, Andrzej

    2006-01-01

    Conformations of globular proteins in the denatured state were studied using a high-resolution lattice model of proteins and Monte Carlo dynamics. The model assumes a united-atom and high-coordination lattice representation of the polypeptide conformational space. The force field of the model mimics the short-range protein-like conformational stiffness, hydrophobic interactions of the side chains and the main-chain hydrogen bonds. Two types of approximations for the short-range interactions were compared: simple statistical potentials and knowledge-based protein-specific potentials derived from the sequence-structure compatibility of short fragments of protein chains. Model proteins in the denatured state are relatively compact, although the majority of the sampled conformations are globally different from the native fold. At the same time short protein fragments are mostly native-like. Thus, the denatured state of the model proteins has several features of the molten globule state observed experimentally. Statistical potentials induce native-like conformational propensities in the denatured state, especially for the fragments located in the core of folded proteins. Knowledge-based protein-specific potentials increase only slightly the level of similarity to the native conformations, in spite of their qualitatively higher specificity in the native structures. For a few cases, where fairly accurate experimental data exist, the simulation results are in semiquantitative agreement with the physical picture revealed by the experiments. This shows that the model studied in this work could be used efficiently in computational studies of protein dynamics in the denatured state, and consequently for studies of protein folding pathways, i.e. not only for the modeling of folded structures, as it was shown in previous studies. The results of the present studies also provide a new insight into the explanation of the Levinthal's paradox.

  6. Folding and association of a homotetrameric protein complex in an all-atom Go model.

    PubMed

    Berhanu, W M; Jiang, P; Hansmann, U H E

    2013-01-01

    The 84-residue homotetrameric BBAT1 is one of the smallest stable protein complexes and therefore is a good test system to study the self-assembly of multimeric proteins. We have researched for this protein the interplay between the folding of monomers and their assembly into tetramers. Replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations relying on a Go model are compared with earlier simulations that use the physics-based coarse-grained UNRES model.

  7. Microfluidic mixers for the investigation of rapid protein folding kinetics using synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Kane, Avinash S; Hoffmann, Armin; Baumgärtel, Peter; Seckler, Robert; Reichardt, Gerd; Horsley, David A; Schuler, Benjamin; Bakajin, Olgica

    2008-12-15

    We have developed a microfluidic mixer optimized for rapid measurements of protein folding kinetics using synchrotron radiation circular dichroism (SRCD) spectroscopy. The combination of fabrication in fused silica and synchrotron radiation allows measurements at wavelengths below 220 nm, the typical limit of commercial instrumentation. At these wavelengths, the discrimination between the different types of protein secondary structure increases sharply. The device was optimized for rapid mixing at moderate sample consumption by employing a serpentine channel design, resulting in a dead time of less than 200 micros. Here, we discuss the design and fabrication of the mixer and quantify the mixing efficiency using wide-field and confocal epi-fluorescence microscopy. We demonstrate the performance of the device in SRCD measurements of the folding kinetics of cytochrome c, a small, fast-folding protein. Our results show that the combination of SRCD with microfluidic mixing opens new possibilities for investigating rapid conformational changes in biological macromolecules that have previously been inaccessible.

  8. Catalysis of protein folding by chaperones accelerates evolutionary dynamics in adapting cell populations.

    PubMed

    Cetinbaş, Murat; Shakhnovich, Eugene I

    2013-01-01

    Although molecular chaperones are essential components of protein homeostatic machinery, their mechanism of action and impact on adaptation and evolutionary dynamics remain controversial. Here we developed a physics-based ab initio multi-scale model of a living cell for population dynamics simulations to elucidate the effect of chaperones on adaptive evolution. The 6-loci genomes of model cells encode model proteins, whose folding and interactions in cellular milieu can be evaluated exactly from their genome sequences. A genotype-phenotype relationship that is based on a simple yet non-trivially postulated protein-protein interaction (PPI) network determines the cell division rate. Model proteins can exist in native and molten globule states and participate in functional and all possible promiscuous non-functional PPIs. We find that an active chaperone mechanism, whereby chaperones directly catalyze protein folding, has a significant impact on the cellular fitness and the rate of evolutionary dynamics, while passive chaperones, which just maintain misfolded proteins in soluble complexes have a negligible effect on the fitness. We find that by partially releasing the constraint on protein stability, active chaperones promote a deeper exploration of sequence space to strengthen functional PPIs, and diminish the non-functional PPIs. A key experimentally testable prediction emerging from our analysis is that down-regulation of chaperones that catalyze protein folding significantly slows down the adaptation dynamics.

  9. Outer Membrane Protein Folding and Topology from a Computational Transfer Free Energy Scale.

    PubMed

    Lin, Meishan; Gessmann, Dennis; Naveed, Hammad; Liang, Jie

    2016-03-02

    Knowledge of the transfer free energy of amino acids from aqueous solution to a lipid bilayer is essential for understanding membrane protein folding and for predicting membrane protein structure. Here we report a computational approach that can calculate the folding free energy of the transmembrane region of outer membrane β-barrel proteins (OMPs) by combining an empirical energy function with a reduced discrete state space model. We quantitatively analyzed the transfer free energies of 20 amino acid residues at the center of the lipid bilayer of OmpLA. Our results are in excellent agreement with the experimentally derived hydrophobicity scales. We further exhaustively calculated the transfer free energies of 20 amino acids at all positions in the TM region of OmpLA. We found that the asymmetry of the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane as well as the TM residues of an OMP determine its functional fold in vivo. Our results suggest that the folding process of an OMP is driven by the lipid-facing residues in its hydrophobic core, and its NC-IN topology is determined by the differential stabilities of OMPs in the asymmetrical outer membrane. The folding free energy is further reduced by lipid A and assisted by general depth-dependent cooperativities that exist between polar and ionizable residues. Moreover, context-dependency of transfer free energies at specific positions in OmpLA predict regions important for protein function as well as structural anomalies. Our computational approach is fast, efficient and applicable to any OMP.

  10. Exploring the Energy Landscapes of Protein Folding Simulations with Bayesian Computation

    PubMed Central

    Burkoff, Nikolas S.; Várnai, Csilla; Wells, Stephen A.; Wild, David L.

    2012-01-01

    Nested sampling is a Bayesian sampling technique developed to explore probability distributions localized in an exponentially small area of the parameter space. The algorithm provides both posterior samples and an estimate of the evidence (marginal likelihood) of the model. The nested sampling algorithm also provides an efficient way to calculate free energies and the expectation value of thermodynamic observables at any temperature, through a simple post processing of the output. Previous applications of the algorithm have yielded large efficiency gains over other sampling techniques, including parallel tempering. In this article, we describe a parallel implementation of the nested sampling algorithm and its application to the problem of protein folding in a Gō-like force field of empirical potentials that were designed to stabilize secondary structure elements in room-temperature simulations. We demonstrate the method by conducting folding simulations on a number of small proteins that are commonly used for testing protein-folding procedures. A topological analysis of the posterior samples is performed to produce energy landscape charts, which give a high-level description of the potential energy surface for the protein folding simulations. These charts provide qualitative insights into both the folding process and the nature of the model and force field used. PMID:22385859

  11. Identification of cooperative folding units in a set of native proteins.

    PubMed Central

    Wallqvist, A.; Smythers, G. W.; Covell, D. G.

    1997-01-01

    Cooperative unfolding penalties are calculated by statistically evaluating an ensemble of denatured states derived from native structures. The ensemble of denatured states is determined by dividing the native protein into short contiguous segments and defining all possible combinations of native, i.e., interacting, and non-native, i.e., non-interacting, segments. We use a novel knowledge-based scoring function, derived from a set of non-homologous proteins in the Protein Data Bank, to describe the interactions among residues. This procedure is used for the structural identification of cooperative folding cores for four globular proteins: bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor, horse heart cytochrome c, French bean plastocyanin, and staphylococcal nuclease. The theoretical folding units are shown to correspond to regions that exhibit enhanced stability against denaturation as determined from experimental hydrogen exchange protection factors. Using a sequence similarity score for related sequences, we show that, in addition to residues necessary for enzymatic function, those amino acids comprising structurally important folding cores are also preferentially conserved during evolution. This implies that the identified folding cores may be part of an array of fundamental structural folding units. PMID:9260276

  12. Kinematics and thermodynamics of a folding heteropolymer.

    PubMed Central

    Fukugita, M; Lancaster, D; Mitchard, M G

    1993-01-01

    In order to elucidate the folding dynamics of protein, we have carried out numerical simulations of a heteropolymer model of self-interacting random chains. We find that folding propensity depends strongly on sequence and that both folding and nonfolding sequences exist. Furthermore we show that folding is a two-step process: the transition from coil state to unique folded state takes place through a globule phase. In addition to the continuous coil-globule transition, there exists an abrupt transition that separates the unique folded state from the globule state and ensures the stability of the native state. PMID:8327518

  13. Acceleration through passive destabilization: protein folding in a weak hydrophobic environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jewett, Andrew; Baumketner, Andrij; Shea, Joan-Emma

    2004-03-01

    The GroEL chaperonin is a biomolecule which assists the folding of an extremely diverse range of proteins in Eubacteria. Some proteins undergo many rounds of ATP-regulated binding and dissociation from GroEL/ES before folding. It has been proposed that transient stress from ATP-regulated binding and release from GroEL/ES frees frustrated proteins from misfolded conformations. However recent evidence suggests that chaperonin-accelerated protein folding can take place entirely within a mutated GroEL+ES cavity that is unable to open and release the protein. Using molecular dynamics, we demonstrate that static confinement within a weakly hydrophobic (attractive) cavity (similar to the interior of the cavity formed by the GroEL+ES complex) is sufficient to significantly accelerate the folding of a highly frustrated protein-like heteropolymer. Our frustrated molecule benifits kinetically from a static hydrophobic environment that destabilizes misfolded conformations. This may shed light on the mechanisms used by other chaperones which do not depend on ATP.

  14. The effect of electrostatics on the marginal cooperativity of an ultrafast folding protein.

    PubMed

    Desai, Tanay M; Cerminara, Michele; Sadqi, Mourad; Muñoz, Victor

    2010-11-05

    Proteins fold up by coordinating the different segments of their polypeptide chain through a network of weak cooperative interactions. Such cooperativity results in unfolding curves that are typically sigmoidal. However, we still do not know what factors modulate folding cooperativity or the minimal amount that ensures folding into specific three-dimensional structures. Here, we address these issues on BBL, a small helical protein that folds in microseconds via a marginally cooperative downhill process (Li, P., Oliva, F. Y., Naganathan, A. N., and Muñoz, V. (2009) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106, 103-108). Particularly, we explore the effects of salt-induced screening of the electrostatic interactions in BBL at neutral pH and in acid-denatured BBL. Our results show that electrostatic screening stabilizes the native state of the neutral and protonated forms, inducing complete refolding of acid-denatured BBL. Furthermore, without net electrostatic interactions, the unfolding process becomes much less cooperative, as judged by the broadness of the equilibrium unfolding curve and the relaxation rate. Our experiments show that the marginally cooperative unfolding of BBL can still be made twice as broad while the protein retains its ability to fold into the native three-dimensional structure in microseconds. This result demonstrates experimentally that efficient folding does not require cooperativity, confirming predictions from theory and computer simulations and challenging the conventional biochemical paradigm. Furthermore, we conclude that electrostatic interactions are an important factor in determining folding cooperativity. Thus, electrostatic modulation by pH-salt and/or mutagenesis of charged residues emerges as an attractive tool for tuning folding cooperativity.

  15. Measuring residue associations in protein structures. Possible implications for protein folding.

    PubMed

    Karlin, S; Zuker, M; Brocchieri, L

    1994-06-03

    perspective on the early and intermediate stages of protein folding.

  16. A coarse-grained potential for fold recognition and molecular dynamics simulations of proteins

    PubMed Central

    Májek, Peter; Elber, Ron

    2009-01-01

    A coarse grained potential for protein simulations and fold ranking is presented. The potential is based on a two-point model of individual amino acids and a specific implementation of hydrogen bonding. Parameters are determined for distance dependent pair interactions, pseudo bonds, angles, and torsions. A scaling factor for a hydrogen bonding term is also determined. Iterative sampling for 4867 proteins reproduces distributions of internal coordinates and distances observed in the Protein Data Bank. The adjustment of the potential and re-sampling are in the spirit of the generalized ensemble approach. No native structure information (e.g. secondary structure) is used in the calculation of the potential, or in the simulation of a particular protein. The potential is subject to two tests: (i) simulations of 956 globular proteins in the neighborhood of their native folds (these proteins were not used in the training set), and (ii) discrimination between native and decoy structures for 2470 proteins with 305,000 decoys, and the “Decoys ‘R’ Us” dataset. In the first test, 58% of tested proteins stay within 5 Å from the native fold in Molecular Dynamics simulations of more than twenty nanoseconds using the new potential. The potential is also useful in differentiating between correct and approximate folds providing significant signal for structure prediction algorithms. Sampling with the potential consistently regenerates the distribution of distances and internal coordinates it learned. Nevertheless, during Molecular Dynamics simulations structures are found that reproduce the learned distributions but are far from the native fold. PMID:19291741

  17. Protein-folding location can regulate manganese-binding versus copper- or zinc-binding.

    PubMed

    Tottey, Steve; Waldron, Kevin J; Firbank, Susan J; Reale, Brian; Bessant, Conrad; Sato, Katsuko; Cheek, Timothy R; Gray, Joe; Banfield, Mark J; Dennison, Christopher; Robinson, Nigel J

    2008-10-23

    Metals are needed by at least one-quarter of all proteins. Although metallochaperones insert the correct metal into some proteins, they have not been found for the vast majority, and the view is that most metalloproteins acquire their metals directly from cellular pools. However, some metals form more stable complexes with proteins than do others. For instance, as described in the Irving-Williams series, Cu(2+) and Zn(2+) typically form more stable complexes than Mn(2+). Thus it is unclear what cellular mechanisms manage metal acquisition by most nascent proteins. To investigate this question, we identified the most abundant Cu(2+)-protein, CucA (Cu(2+)-cupin A), and the most abundant Mn(2+)-protein, MncA (Mn(2+)-cupin A), in the periplasm of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803. Each of these newly identified proteins binds its respective metal via identical ligands within a cupin fold. Consistent with the Irving-Williams series, MncA only binds Mn(2+) after folding in solutions containing at least a 10(4) times molar excess of Mn(2+) over Cu(2+) or Zn(2+). However once MncA has bound Mn(2+), the metal does not exchange with Cu(2+). MncA and CucA have signal peptides for different export pathways into the periplasm, Tat and Sec respectively. Export by the Tat pathway allows MncA to fold in the cytoplasm, which contains only tightly bound copper or Zn(2+) (refs 10-12) but micromolar Mn(2+) (ref. 13). In contrast, CucA folds in the periplasm to acquire Cu(2+). These results reveal a mechanism whereby the compartment in which a protein folds overrides its binding preference to control its metal content. They explain why the cytoplasm must contain only tightly bound and buffered copper and Zn(2+).

  18. Percolation-like phase transitions in network models of protein dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, Jeffrey K.; Pande, Vijay S.

    2015-06-01

    In broad terms, percolation theory describes the conditions under which clusters of nodes are fully connected in a random network. A percolation phase transition occurs when, as edges are added to a network, its largest connected cluster abruptly jumps from insignificance to complete dominance. In this article, we apply percolation theory to meticulously constructed networks of protein folding dynamics called Markov state models. As rare fluctuations are systematically repressed (or reintroduced), we observe percolation-like phase transitions in protein folding networks: whole sets of conformational states switch from nearly complete isolation to complete connectivity in a rapid fashion. We analyze the general and critical properties of these phase transitions in seven protein systems and discuss how closely dynamics on protein folding landscapes relate to percolation on random lattices.

  19. Purification and characterization of oligonucleotide binding (OB)-fold protein from medicinal plant Tinospora cordifolia.

    PubMed

    Amir, Mohd; Haque, Md Anzarul; Wahiduzzaman; Dar, Mohammad Aasif; Islam, Asimul; Ahmad, Faizan; Hassan, Md Imtaiyaz

    2016-01-01

    The oligonucleotide binding fold (OB-fold) is a small structural motif present in many proteins. It is originally named for its oligonucleotide or oligosaccharide binding properties. These proteins have been identified as essential for replication, recombination and repair of DNA. We have successfully purified a protein contains OB-fold from the stem of Tinospora cordifolia, a medicinal plants of north India. Stems were crushed and centrifuged, and fraction obtained at 60% ammonium sulphate was extensively dialyzed and applied to the weak anion exchange chromatography on Hi-Trap DEAE-FF in 50mM Tris-HCl buffer at pH 8.0. Eluted fractions were concentrated and applied to gel filtration column to get pure protein. We observed a single band of 20-kDa on SDS-PAGE. Finally, the protein was identified as OB-fold by MALDI-TOF. The purified OB-fold protein was characterized for its secondary structural elements using circular dichroism (CD) in the far-UV region. Generally the OB-fold has a characteristic feature as five-stranded beta-sheet coiled to form a closed beta- barrel. To estimate its chemical stability, guanidinium chloride-induced denaturation curve was followed by observing changes in the far-UV CD as a function of the denaturant concentration. Analysis of this denaturation curve gave values of 8.90±0.25kcalmol(-1) and 3.78±0.18M for ΔGD° (Gibbs free energy change at 25°C) and Cm (midpoint of denaturation), respectively. To determine heat stability parameters of OB-fold protein, differential scanning calorimetry was performed. Calorimetric values of ΔGD°, Tm (midpoint of denaturation), ΔHm (enthalpy change at Tm), and ΔCp (constant-pressure heat capacity change) are 9.05±0.27kcalmol(-1), 85.2±0,3°C, 105±4kcalmol(-1) and 1.6±0.08kcalmol(-1)K(-1). This is the first report on the isolation, purification and characterization of OB-fold protein from a medicinal plant T. cordifolia.

  20. Design of a novel globular protein fold with atomic-level accuracy.

    PubMed

    Kuhlman, Brian; Dantas, Gautam; Ireton, Gregory C; Varani, Gabriele; Stoddard, Barry L; Baker, David

    2003-11-21

    A major challenge of computational protein design is the creation of novel proteins with arbitrarily chosen three-dimensional structures. Here, we used a general computational strategy that iterates between sequence design and structure prediction to design a 93-residue alpha/beta protein called Top7 with a novel sequence and topology. Top7 was found experimentally to be folded and extremely stable, and the x-ray crystal structure of Top7 is similar (root mean square deviation equals 1.2 angstroms) to the design model. The ability to design a new protein fold makes possible the exploration of the large regions of the protein universe not yet observed in nature.

  1. Solution structure of a membrane-anchored ubiquitin-fold (MUB) protein from Homo sapiens.

    PubMed

    de la Cruz, Norberto B; Peterson, Francis C; Lytle, Betsy L; Volkman, Brian F

    2007-07-01

    The protein Bc059385, whose solution structure is reported here, is the human representative of a recently identified family of membrane-anchored ubiquitin-fold (MUB) proteins. Analysis of their similarity to ubiquitin indicates that homologous amino acid residues in MUBs form a hydrophobic surface very similar to the recognition patch surrounding Ile-44 in ubiquitin. This suggests that MUBs may interact with proteins containing an alpha-helical motif similar to those of some ubiquitin binding domains. A disordered loop common to MUBs may also provide a second protein interaction site. From the available data, it is probable that this protein is prenylated and associated with the membrane. With <20% identity to ubiquitin, the MUB family further expands the sequence space that maps to the beta-grasp fold, and adds membrane localization to its list of functional roles.

  2. A rewired green fluorescent protein: folding and function in a nonsequential, noncircular GFP permutant.

    PubMed

    Reeder, Philippa J; Huang, Yao-Ming; Dordick, Jonathan S; Bystroff, Christopher

    2010-12-28

    The sequential order of secondary structural elements in proteins affects the folding and activity to an unknown extent. To test the dependence on sequential connectivity, we reconnected secondary structural elements by their solvent-exposed ends, permuting their sequential order, called "rewiring". This new protein design strategy changes the topology of the backbone without changing the core side chain packing arrangement. While circular and noncircular permutations have been observed in protein structures that are not related by sequence homology, to date no one has attempted to rationally design and construct a protein with a sequence that is noncircularly permuted while conserving three-dimensional structure. Herein, we show that green fluorescent protein can be rewired, still functionally fold, and exhibit wild-type fluorescence excitation and emission spectra.

  3. 'Let the phage do the work': Using the phage P22 coat protein structures as a framework to understand its folding and assembly mutants

    SciTech Connect

    Teschke, Carolyn M.; Parent, Kristin N.

    2010-06-05

    The amino acid sequence of viral capsid proteins contains information about their folding, structure and self-assembly processes. While some viruses assemble from small preformed oligomers of coat proteins, other viruses such as phage P22 and herpesvirus assemble from monomeric proteins (Fuller and King, 1980). The subunit assembly process is strictly controlled through protein:protein interactions such that icosahedral structures are formed with specific symmetries, rather than aberrant structures. dsDNA viruses commonly assemble by first forming a precursor capsid that serves as a DNA packaging machine. DNA packaging is accompanied by a conformational transition of the small precursor procapsid into a larger capsid for isometric viruses. Here we highlight the pseudo-atomic structures of phage P22 coat protein and rationalize several decades of data about P22 coat protein folding, assembly and maturation generated from a combination of genetics and biochemistry.

  4. Folding peptides and proteins with all-atom physics: methods and applications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shell, M. Scott

    2008-03-01

    Computational methods offer powerful tools for investigating proteins and peptides at the molecular-level; however, it has proven challenging to reproduce the long time scale folding processes of these molecules at a level that is both faithful to the atomic driving forces and attainable with modern commodity cluster computing. Alternatively, the past decade has seen significant progress in using bioinformatics-based approaches to infer the three dimensional native structures of proteins, drawing upon extensive knowledge databases of known protein structures [1]. These methods work remarkably well when a homologous protein can be found to provide a structural template for a candidate sequence. However, in cases where homology to database proteins is low, where the folding pathway is of interest, or where conformational flexibility is substantial---as in many emerging protein and peptide technologies---bioinformatics methods perform poorly. There is therefore great interest in seeing purely physics-based approaches succeed. We discuss a purely physics-based, database-free folding method, relying on proper thermal sampling (replica exchange molecular dynamics) and molecular potential energy functions. In order to surmount the tremendous computational demands of all-atom folding simulations, our approach implements a conformational search strategy based on a putative protein folding mechanism called zipping and assembly [2-4]. That is, we explicitly seek out potential folding pathways inferred from short simulations, and iteratively pursue all such routes by coaxing a polypeptide chain along them. The method is called the Zipping and Assembly Method (ZAM) and it works in two parts: (1) the full polypeptide chain is broken into small fragments that are first simulated independently and then successively re-assembled into larger segments with further sampling, and (2) consistently stable structure in fragments is detected and locked into place, in order to avoid re

  5. Establishing knowledge on the sequence arrangement pattern of nucleated protein folding

    PubMed Central

    Leng, Fei; Xu, Chao; Xia, Xia-Yu; Pan, Xian-Ming

    2017-01-01

    The heat-tolerance mechanisms of (hyper)thermophilic proteins provide a unique opportunity to investigate the unsolved protein folding problem. In an attempt to determine whether the interval between residues in sequence might play a role in determining thermostability, we constructed a sequence interval-dependent value function to calculate the residue pair frequency. Additionally, we identified a new sequence arrangement pattern, where like-charged residues tend to be adjacently assembled, while unlike-charged residues are distributed over longer intervals, using statistical analysis of a large sequence database. This finding indicated that increasing the intervals between unlike-charged residues can increase protein thermostability, with the arrangement patterns of these charged residues serving as thermodynamically favorable nucleation points for protein folding. Additionally, we identified that the residue pairs K-E, R-E, L-V and V-V involving long sequence intervals play important roles involving increased protein thermostability. This work demonstrated a novel approach for considering sequence intervals as keys to understanding protein folding. Our findings of novel relationships between residue arrangement and protein thermostability can be used in industry and academia to aid the design of thermostable proteins. PMID:28273143

  6. Gradual disordering of the native state on a slow two-state folding protein monitored by single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and NMR.

    PubMed

    Campos, Luis A; Sadqi, Mourad; Liu, Jianwei; Wang, Xiang; English, Douglas S; Muñoz, Victor

    2013-10-24

    Theory predicts that folding free energy landscapes are intrinsically malleable and as such are expected to respond to perturbations in topographically complex ways. Structural changes upon perturbation have been observed experimentally for unfolded ensembles, folding transition states, and fast downhill folding proteins. However, the native state of proteins that fold in a two-state fashion is conventionally assumed to be structurally invariant during unfolding. Here we investigate how the native and unfolded states of the chicken α-spectrin SH3 domain (a well characterized slow two-state folder) change in response to chemical denaturants and/or temperature. We can resolve the individual properties of the two end-states across the chemical unfolding transition employing single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy (SM-FRET) and across the thermal unfolding transition by NMR because SH3 folds-unfolds in the slow chemical exchange regime. Our results demonstrate that α-spectrin SH3 unfolds in a canonical way in the sense that it converts between the native state and an unfolded ensemble that expands in response to chemical denaturants. However, as conditions become increasingly destabilizing, the native state also expands gradually, and a large fraction of its native intramolecular hydrogen bonds break up. This gradual disordering of the native state takes place in times shorter than the 100 μs resolution of our SM-FRET experiments. α-Spectrin SH3 thus showcases the extreme plasticity of folding landscapes, which extends to the native state of slow two-state proteins. Our results point to the idea that folding mechanisms under physiological conditions might be quite different from those obtained by linear extrapolation from denaturing conditions. Furthermore, they highlight a pressing need for re-evaluating the conventional procedures for analyzing and interpreting folding experiments, which may be based on too-simplistic assumptions.

  7. Competition between chemical denaturation and macromolecular crowding effects on the folding dynamics of proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Samiotakis, Antonios; Cheung, Margaret

    2011-03-01

    It is well known that proteins fold and function in the crowded environment of the cell's interior. In the recent years it has been established that the so-called ``macromolecular crowding'' effect can enhance the folding stability of proteins by destabilizing their unfolded states. On the other hand, chemical and thermal denaturation are often used in experiments as tools to destabilize protein structures when probing a protein's folding landscape. However, little is known about the combined effects of these competing phenomena on proteins. In this work, we use coarse-grained molecular simulations to study the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of the small peptide Trp-cage, in the combined presence of macromolecular crowders and chemical denaturant. With the use of an energy function derived by all-atomistic simulations in the presence of urea, we investigate the thermodynamics and kinetics of Trp-cage's folding mechanism at several concentrations of urea. The effects of the competition between stabilization by macromolecular crowding and destabilization by chemical denaturation will also be discussed. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation, Molecular & Cellular Biosciences (MCB0919974).

  8. Earthworm Lumbricus rubellus MT-2: Metal Binding and Protein Folding of a True Cadmium-MT

    PubMed Central

    Kowald, Gregory R.; Stürzenbaum, Stephen R.; Blindauer, Claudia A.

    2016-01-01

    Earthworms express, as most animals, metallothioneins (MTs)—small, cysteine-rich proteins that bind d10 metal ions (Zn(II), Cd(II), or Cu(I)) in clusters. Three MT homologues are known for Lumbricus rubellus, the common red earthworm, one of which, wMT-2, is strongly induced by exposure of worms to cadmium. This study concerns composition, metal binding affinity and metal-dependent protein folding of wMT-2 expressed recombinantly and purified in the presence of Cd(II) and Zn(II). Crucially, whilst a single Cd7wMT-2 species was isolated from wMT-2-expressing E. coli cultures supplemented with Cd(II), expressions in the presence of Zn(II) yielded mixtures. The average affinities of wMT-2 determined for either Cd(II) or Zn(II) are both within normal ranges for MTs; hence, differential behaviour cannot be explained on the basis of overall affinity. Therefore, the protein folding properties of Cd- and Zn-wMT-2 were compared by 1H NMR spectroscopy. This comparison revealed that the protein fold is better defined in the presence of cadmium than in the presence of zinc. These differences in folding and dynamics may be at the root of the differential behaviour of the cadmium- and zinc-bound protein in vitro, and may ultimately also help in distinguishing zinc and cadmium in the earthworm in vivo. PMID:26742040

  9. Does alpha-helix folding necessarily provide an energy source for the protein-lipid binding?

    PubMed

    Gursky, Olga

    2007-01-01

    Lipid-induced alpha-helix folding, which occurs in many lipid surface-binding proteins and peptides such as apolipoproteins and synucleins, has been proposed to provide an energy source for protein-lipid interactions. We propose that in a system comprised of a phospholipid surface and a small polypeptide that is unfolded in solution and binds reversibly to lipid surface, helical folding involves expenditure of free energy as compared to a similar polypeptide that is alpha-helical in solution. This is a consequence of the entropic cost of helix folding that is illustrated in a simple thermodynamic model and exemplifies the general "key-into-lock" paradigm of protein-ligand binding. Even though this simple model does not explicitly address the protein-induced lipid re-arrangement and may not directly apply to large proteins that undergo significant tertiary structural changes upon lipid binding, it suggests that the notion of helix folding as an energy source for lipid binding should be treated with caution.

  10. Earthworm Lumbricus rubellus MT-2: Metal Binding and Protein Folding of a True Cadmium-MT.

    PubMed

    Kowald, Gregory R; Stürzenbaum, Stephen R; Blindauer, Claudia A

    2016-01-05

    Earthworms express, as most animals, metallothioneins (MTs)-small, cysteine-rich proteins that bind d(10) metal ions (Zn(II), Cd(II), or Cu(I)) in clusters. Three MT homologues are known for Lumbricus rubellus, the common red earthworm, one of which, wMT-2, is strongly induced by exposure of worms to cadmium. This study concerns composition, metal binding affinity and metal-dependent protein folding of wMT-2 expressed recombinantly and purified in the presence of Cd(II) and Zn(II). Crucially, whilst a single Cd₇wMT-2 species was isolated from wMT-2-expressing E. coli cultures supplemented with Cd(II), expressions in the presence of Zn(II) yielded mixtures. The average affinities of wMT-2 determined for either Cd(II) or Zn(II) are both within normal ranges for MTs; hence, differential behaviour cannot be explained on the basis of overall affinity. Therefore, the protein folding properties of Cd- and Zn-wMT-2 were compared by ¹H NMR spectroscopy. This comparison revealed that the protein fold is better defined in the presence of cadmium than in the presence of zinc. These differences in folding and dynamics may be at the root of the differential behaviour of the cadmium- and zinc-bound protein in vitro, and may ultimately also help in distinguishing zinc and cadmium in the earthworm in vivo.

  11. Simplified Protein Models: Predicting Folding Pathways and Structure Using Amino Acid Sequences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adhikari, Aashish N.; Freed, Karl F.; Sosnick, Tobin R.

    2013-07-01

    We demonstrate the ability of simultaneously determining a protein’s folding pathway and structure using a properly formulated model without prior knowledge of the native structure. Our model employs a natural coordinate system for describing proteins and a search strategy inspired by the observation that real proteins fold in a sequential fashion by incrementally stabilizing nativelike substructures or “foldons.” Comparable folding pathways and structures are obtained for the twelve proteins recently studied using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations [K. Lindorff-Larsen, S. Piana, R. O. Dror, D. E. Shaw, Science 334, 517 (2011)], with our calculations running several orders of magnitude faster. We find that nativelike propensities in the unfolded state do not necessarily determine the order of structure formation, a departure from a major conclusion of the molecular dynamics study. Instead, our results support a more expansive view wherein intrinsic local structural propensities may be enhanced or overridden in the folding process by environmental context. The success of our search strategy validates it as an expedient mechanism for folding both in silico and in vivo.

  12. Chemical Ligation of Folded Recombinant Proteins: Segmental Isotopic Labeling of Domains for NMR Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Rong; Ayers, Brenda; Cowburn, David; Muir, Tom W.

    1999-01-01

    A convenient in vitro chemical ligation strategy has been developed that allows folded recombinant proteins to be joined together. This strategy permits segmental, selective isotopic labeling of the product. The src homology type 3 and 2 domains (SH3 and SH2) of Abelson protein tyrosine kinase, which constitute the regulatory apparatus of the protein, were individually prepared in reactive forms that can be ligated together under normal protein-folding conditions to form a normal peptide bond at the ligation junction. This strategy was used to prepare NMR sample quantities of the Abelson protein tyrosine kinase-SH(32) domain pair, in which only one of the domains was labeled with 15N Mass spectrometry and NMR analyses were used to confirm the structure of the ligated protein, which was also shown to have appropriate ligand-binding properties. The ability to prepare recombinant proteins with selectively labeled segments having a single-site mutation, by using a combination of expression of fusion proteins and chemical ligation in vitro, will increase the size limits for protein structural determination in solution with NMR methods. In vitro chemical ligation of expressed protein domains will also provide a combinatorial approach to the synthesis of linked protein domains.

  13. Hierarchical learning architecture with automatic feature selection for multiclass protein fold classification.

    PubMed

    Huang, Chuen-Der; Lin, Chin-Teng; Pal, Nikhil Ranjan

    2003-12-01

    The structure classification of proteins plays a very important role in bioinformatics, since the relationships and characteristics among those known proteins can be exploited to predict the structure of new proteins. The success of a classification system depends heavily on two things: the tools being used and the features considered. For the bioinformatics applications, the role of appropriate features has not been paid adequate importance. In this investigation we use three novel ideas for multiclass protein fold classification. First, we use the gating neural network, where each input node is associated with a gate. This network can select important features in an online manner when the learning goes on. At the beginning of the training, all gates are almost closed, i.e., no feature is allowed to enter the network. Through the training, gates corresponding to good features are completely opened while gates corresponding to bad features are closed more tightly, and some gates may be partially open. The second novel idea is to use a hierarchical learning architecture (HLA). The classifier in the first level of HLA classifies the protein features into four major classes: all alpha, all beta, alpha + beta, and alpha/beta. And in the next level we have another set of classifiers, which further classifies the protein features into 27 folds. The third novel idea is to induce the indirect coding features from the amino-acid composition sequence of proteins based on the N-gram concept. This provides us with more representative and discriminative new local features of protein sequences for multiclass protein fold classification. The proposed HLA with new indirect coding features increases the protein fold classification accuracy by about 12%. Moreover, the gating neural network is found to reduce the number of features drastically. Using only half of the original features selected by the gating neural network can reach comparable test accuracy as that using all the

  14. Direct observation of ultrafast folding and denatured state dynamics in single protein molecules

    PubMed Central

    Neuweiler, Hannes; Johnson, Christopher M.; Fersht, Alan R.

    2009-01-01

    Single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (smFRET) experiments are extremely useful in studying protein folding but are generally limited to time scales of greater than ≈100 μs and distances greater than ≈2 nm. We used single-molecule fluorescence quenching by photoinduced electron transfer, detecting short-range events, in combination with fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (PET-FCS) to investigate folding dynamics of the small binding domain BBL with nanosecond time resolution. The kinetics of folding appeared as a 10-μs decay in the autocorrelation function, resulting from stochastic fluctuations between denatured and native conformations of individual molecules. The observed rate constants were probe independent and in excellent agreement with values derived from conventional temperature-jump (T-jump) measurements. A submicrosecond relaxation was detected in PET-FCS data that reported on the kinetics of intrachain contact formation within the thermally denatured state. We engineered a mutant of BBL that was denatured under the reaction conditions that favored folding of the parent wild type (“Dphys”). Dphys had the same kinetic signature as the thermally denatured state and revealed segmental diffusion with a time constant of intrachain contact formation of 500 ns. This time constant was more than 10 times faster than folding and in the range estimated to be the “speed limit” of folding. Dphys exhibited significant deviations from a random coil. The solvent viscosity and temperature dependence of intrachain diffusion showed that chain motions were slaved by the presence of intramolecular interactions. PET-FCS in combination with protein engineering is a powerful approach to study the early events and mechanism of ultrafast protein folding. PMID:19841261

  15. Atomic force microscopy and force spectroscopy on the assessment of protein folding and functionality.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Filomena A; Martins, Ivo C; Santos, Nuno C

    2013-03-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) applied to biological systems can, besides generating high-quality and well-resolved images, be employed to study protein folding via AFM-based force spectroscopy. This approach allowed remarkable advances in the measurement of inter- and intramolecular interaction forces with piconewton resolution. The detection of specific interaction forces between molecules based on the AFM sensitivity and the manipulation of individual molecules greatly advanced the understanding of intra-protein and protein-ligand interactions. Apart from the academic interest in the resolution of basic scientific questions, this technique has also key importance on the clarification of several biological questions of immediate biomedical relevance. Force spectroscopy is an especially appropriate technique for "mechanical proteins" that can provide crucial information on single protein molecules and/or domains. Importantly, it also has the potential of combining in a single experiment spatial and kinetic measurements. Here, the main principles of this methodology are described, after which the ability to measure interactions at the single-molecule level is discussed, in the context of relevant protein-folding examples. We intend to demonstrate the potential of AFM-based force spectroscopy in the study of protein folding, especially since this technique is able to circumvent some of the difficulties typically encountered in classical thermal/chemical denaturation studies.

  16. The Safety Dance: Biophysics of Membrane Protein Folding and Misfolding in a Cellular Context

    PubMed Central

    Schlebach, Jonathan P.; Sanders, Charles R.

    2015-01-01

    Most biological processes require the production and degradation of proteins, a task that weighs heavily on the cell. Mutations that compromise the conformational stability of proteins place both specific and general burdens on cellular protein homeostasis (proteostasis) in ways that contribute to numerous diseases. Efforts to elucidate the chain of molecular events responsible for diseases of protein folding address one of the foremost challenges in biomedical science. However, relatively little is known about the processes by which mutations prompt the misfolding of α-helical membrane proteins, which rely on an intricate network of cellular machinery to acquire and maintain their functional structures within cellular membranes. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the physical principles that guide membrane protein biogenesis and folding in the context of mammalian cells. Additionally, we explore how pathogenic mutations that influence biogenesis may differ from those that disrupt folding and assembly, as well as how this may relate to disease mechanisms and therapeutic intervention. These perspectives indicate an imperative for the use of information from structural, cellular, and biochemical studies of membrane proteins in the design of novel therapeutics and in personalized medicine. PMID:25420508

  17. Statistical mechanics of protein structural transitions: Insights from the island model

    PubMed Central

    Kobayashi, Yukio

    2016-01-01

    The so-called island model of protein structural transition holds that hydrophobic interactions are the key to both the folding and function of proteins. Herein, the genesis and statistical mechanical basis of the island model of transitions are reviewed, by presenting the results of simulations of such transitions. Elucidating the physicochemical mechanism of protein structural formation is the foundation for understanding the hierarchical structure of life at the microscopic level. Based on the results obtained to date using the island model, remaining problems and future work in the field of protein structures are discussed, referencing Professor Saitô’s views on the hierarchic structure of science.

  18. Generation of a Functionally Distinct Rhizopus oryzae Lipase through Protein Folding Memory.

    PubMed

    Satomura, Atsushi; Kuroda, Kouichi; Ueda, Mitsuyoshi

    2015-01-01

    Rhizopus oryzae lipase (ROL) has a propeptide at its N-terminus that functions as an intramolecular chaperone and facilitates the folding of mature ROL (mROL). In this study, we successfully generated a functionally distinct imprinted mROL (mROLimp) through protein folding memory using a mutated propeptide. The mutated propeptide left its structural memory on mROL and produced mROLimp that exhibited different substrate specificities compared with mROLWT (prepared from the wild type propeptide), although the amino acid sequences of both mROLs were the same. mROLimp showed a preference for substrates with medium chain-length acyl groups and, noticeably, recognized a peptidase-specific substrate. In addition, ROLimp was more stable than mROLWT. These results strongly suggest that proteins with identical amino acid sequences can fold into different conformations and that mutations in intramolecular chaperones can dynamically induce changes in enzymatic activity.

  19. Entropy reduction effect imposed by hydrogen bond formation on protein folding cooperativity: Evidence from a hydrophobic minimalist model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barbosa, Marco Aurélio A.; Garcia, Leandro G.; Pereira de Araújo, Antônio F.

    2005-11-01

    Conformational restrictions imposed by hydrogen bond formation during protein folding are investigated by Monte Carlo simulations of a non-native-centric, two-dimensional, hydrophobic model in which the formation of favorable contacts is coupled to an effective reduction in lattice coordination. This scheme is intended to mimic the requirement that polar backbone groups of real proteins must form hydrogen bonds concomitantly to their burial inside the apolar protein core. In addition to the square lattice, with z=3 conformations per monomer, we use extensions in which diagonal step vectors are allowed, resulting in z=5 and z=7 . Thermodynamics are governed by the hydrophobic energy function, according to which hydrophobic monomers tend to make contacts unspecifically while the reverse is true for hydrophilic monomers, with the additional restriction that only contacts between monomers adopting one of zhfolding transition abruptness and van’t Hoff-to-calorimetric-enthalpy ratio are found to increase dramatically by this simple and physically motivated mechanism. The observed increase in folding cooperativity is correlated to an increase in the convexity of the underlying microcanonical conformational entropy as a function of energy. Preliminary simulations in three dimensions, even though using a smaller relative reduction in lattice effective coordination zh/z=4/5 , display a slight increase in cooperativity for a hydrophobic model of 40 monomers and a more pronounced increase in cooperativity for a native-centric Go-model with the same native conformation, suggesting that this purely entropic effect is not an artifact of dimensionality and is likely to be of fundamental importance in the theoretical understanding of folding cooperativity.

  20. Soft Computing Techniques for the Protein Folding Problem on High Performance Computing Architectures.

    PubMed

    Llanes, Antonio; Muñoz, Andrés; Bueno-Crespo, Andrés; García-Valverde, Teresa; Sánchez, Antonia; Arcas-Túnez, Francisco; Pérez-Sánchez, Horacio; Cecilia, José M

    2016-01-01

    The protein-folding problem has been extensively studied during the last fifty years. The understanding of the dynamics of global shape of a protein and the influence on its biological function can help us to discover new and more effective drugs to deal with diseases of pharmacological relevance. Different computational approaches have been developed by different researchers in order to foresee the threedimensional arrangement of atoms of proteins from their sequences. However, the computational complexity of this problem makes mandatory the search for new models, novel algorithmic strategies and hardware platforms that provide solutions in a reasonable time frame. We present in this revision work the past and last tendencies regarding protein folding simulations from both perspectives; hardware and software. Of particular interest to us are both the use of inexact solutions to this computationally hard problem as well as which hardware platforms have been used for running this kind of Soft Computing techniques.

  1. Cooperative folding of intrinsically disordered domains drives assembly of a strong elongated protein

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gruszka, Dominika T.; Whelan, Fiona; Farrance, Oliver E.; Fung, Herman K. H.; Paci, Emanuele; Jeffries, Cy M.; Svergun, Dmitri I.; Baldock, Clair; Baumann, Christoph G.; Brockwell, David J.; Potts, Jennifer R.; Clarke, Jane

    2015-06-01

    Bacteria exploit surface proteins to adhere to other bacteria, surfaces and host cells. Such proteins need to project away from the bacterial surface and resist significant mechanical forces. SasG is a protein that forms extended fibrils on the surface of Staphylococcus aureus and promotes host adherence and biofilm formation. Here we show that although monomeric and lacking covalent cross-links, SasG maintains a highly extended conformation in solution. This extension is mediated through obligate folding cooperativity of the intrinsically disordered E domains that couple non-adjacent G5 domains thermodynamically, forming interfaces that are more stable than the domains themselves. Thus, counterintuitively, the elongation of the protein appears to be dependent on the inherent instability of its domains. The remarkable mechanical strength of SasG arises from tandemly arrayed `clamp' motifs within the folded domains. Our findings reveal an elegant minimal solution for the assembly of monomeric mechano-resistant tethers of variable length.

  2. The impact of the endoplasmic reticulum protein-folding environment on cancer development.

    PubMed

    Wang, Miao; Kaufman, Randal J

    2014-09-01

    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is an essential organelle in eukaryotic cells for the storage and regulated release of calcium and as the entrance to the secretory pathway. Protein misfolding in the ER causes accumulation of misfolded proteins (ER stress) and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), which has evolved to maintain a productive ER protein-folding environment. Both ER stress and UPR activation are documented in many different human cancers. In this Review, we summarize the impact of ER stress and UPR activation on every aspect of cancer and discuss outstanding questions for which answers will pave the way for therapeutics.

  3. The Histone Database: an integrated resource for histones and histone fold-containing proteins.

    PubMed

    Mariño-Ramírez, Leonardo; Levine, Kevin M; Morales, Mario; Zhang, Suiyuan; Moreland, R Travis; Baxevanis, Andreas D; Landsman, David

    2011-01-01

    Eukaryotic chromatin is composed of DNA and protein components-core histones-that act to compactly pack the DNA into nucleosomes, the fundamental building blocks of chromatin. These nucleosomes are connected to adjacent nucleosomes by linker histones. Nucleosomes are highly dynamic and, through various core histone post-translational modifications and incorporation of diverse histone variants, can serve as epigenetic marks to control processes such as gene expression and recombination. The Histone Sequence Database is a curated collection of sequences and structures of histones and non-histone proteins containing histone folds, assembled from major public databases. Here, we report a substantial increase in the number of sequences and taxonomic coverage for histone and histone fold-containing proteins available in the database. Additionally, the database now contains an expanded dataset that includes archaeal histone sequences. The database also provides comprehensive multiple sequence alignments for each of the four core histones (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4), the linker histones (H1/H5) and the archaeal histones. The database also includes current information on solved histone fold-containing structures. The Histone Sequence Database is an inclusive resource for the analysis of chromatin structure and function focused on histones and histone fold-containing proteins.

  4. Mapping the energy landscape for second-stage folding of a single membrane protein

    PubMed Central

    Min, Duyoung; Jefferson, Robert E; Bowie, James U; Yoon, Tae-Young

    2016-01-01

    Membrane proteins are designed to fold and function in a lipid membrane, yet folding experiments within a native membrane environment are challenging to design. Here we show that single-molecule forced unfolding experiments can be adapted to study helical membrane protein folding under native-like bicelle conditions. Applying force using magnetic tweezers, we find that a transmembrane helix protein, Escherichia coli rhomboid protease GlpG, unfolds in a highly cooperative manner, largely unraveling as one physical unit in response to mechanical tension above 25 pN. Considerable hysteresis is observed, with refolding occurring only at forces below 5 pN. Characterizing the energy landscape reveals only modest thermodynamic stability (ΔG = 6.5 kBT) but a large unfolding barrier (21.3 kBT) that can maintain the protein in a folded state for long periods of time (t1/2 ~3.5 h). The observed energy landscape may have evolved to limit the existence of troublesome partially unfolded states and impart rigidity to the structure. PMID:26479439

  5. FRAN and RBF-PSO as two components of a hyper framework to recognize protein folds.

    PubMed

    Abbasi, Elham; Ghatee, Mehdi; Shiri, M E

    2013-09-01

    In this paper, an intelligent hyper framework is proposed to recognize protein folds from its amino acid sequence which is a fundamental problem in bioinformatics. This framework includes some statistical and intelligent algorithms for proteins classification. The main components of the proposed framework are the Fuzzy Resource-Allocating Network (FRAN) and the Radial Bases Function based on Particle Swarm Optimization (RBF-PSO). FRAN applies a dynamic method to tune up the RBF network parameters. Due to the patterns complexity captured in protein dataset, FRAN classifies the proteins under fuzzy conditions. Also, RBF-PSO applies PSO to tune up the RBF classifier. Experimental results demonstrate that FRAN improves prediction accuracy up to 51% and achieves acceptable multi-class results for protein fold prediction. Although RBF-PSO provides reasonable results for protein fold recognition up to 48%, it is weaker than FRAN in some cases. However the proposed hyper framework provides an opportunity to use a great range of intelligent methods and can learn from previous experiences. Thus it can avoid the weakness of some intelligent methods in terms of memory, computational time and static structure. Furthermore, the performance of this system can be enhanced throughout the system life-cycle.

  6. Towards quantitative classification of folded proteins in terms of elementary functions.

    PubMed

    Hu, Shuangwei; Krokhotin, Andrei; Niemi, Antti J; Peng, Xubiao

    2011-04-01

    A comparative classification scheme provides a good basis for several approaches to understand proteins, including prediction of relations between their structure and biological function. But it remains a challenge to combine a classification scheme that describes a protein starting from its well-organized secondary structures and often involves direct human involvement, with an atomary-level physics-based approach where a protein is fundamentally nothing more than an ensemble of mutually interacting carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen atoms. In order to bridge these two complementary approaches to proteins, conceptually novel tools need to be introduced. Here we explain how an approach toward geometric characterization of entire folded proteins can be based on a single explicit elementary function that is familiar from nonlinear physical systems where it is known as the kink soliton. Our approach enables the conversion of hierarchical structural information into a quantitative form that allows for a folded protein to be characterized in terms of a small number of global parameters that are in principle computable from atomary-level considerations. As an example we describe in detail how the native fold of the myoglobin 1M6C emerges from a combination of kink solitons with a very high atomary-level accuracy. We also verify that our approach describes longer loops and loops connecting α helices with β strands, with the same overall accuracy.

  7. A Computational Approach to Studying Protein Folding Problems Considering the Crucial Role of the Intracellular Environment.

    PubMed

    González-Pérez, Pedro P; Orta, Daniel J; Peña, Irving; Flores, Eduardo C; Ramírez, José U; Beltrán, Hiram I; Alas, Salomón J

    2017-02-08

    Intracellular protein folding (PF) is performed in a highly inhomogeneous, crowded, and correlated environment. Due to this inherent complexity, the study and understanding of PF phenomena is a fundamental issue in the field of computational systems biology. In particular, it is important to use a modeled medium that accurately reflects PF in natural systems. In the current study, we present a simulation wherein PF is carried out within an inhomogeneous modeled medium. Simulation resources included a two-dimensional hydrophobic-polar (HP) model, evolutionary algorithms, and the dual site-bond model. The dual site-bond model was used to develop an environment where HP beads could be folded. Our modeled medium included correlation lengths and fractal-like behavior, which were selected according to HP sequence lengths to induce folding in a crowded environment. Analysis of three benchmark HP sequences showed that the modeled inhomogeneous space played an important role in deeper energy folding and obtained better performance and convergence compared with homogeneous environments. Our computational approach also demonstrated that our correlated network provided a better space for PF. Thus, our approach represents a major advancement in PF simulations, not only for folding but also for understanding functional chemical structure and physicochemical properties of proteins in crowded molecular systems, which normally occur in nature.

  8. New fungal defensin-like peptides provide evidence for fold change of proteins in evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Yucheng; Gao, Bin

    2016-01-01

    Defensins containing a consensus cystine framework, Cys[1]…Cys[2]X3Cys[3]…Cys[4]… Cys[5]X1Cys[6] (X, any amino acid except Cys; …, variable residue numbers), are extensively distributed in a variety of multicellular organisms (plants, fungi and invertebrates) and essentially involved in immunity as microbicidal agents. This framework is a prerequisite for forming the cysteine-stabilized α-helix and β-sheet (CSαβ) fold, in which the two invariant motifs, Cys[2]X3Cys[3]/Cys[5]X1Cys[6], are key determinants of fold formation. By using a computational genomics approach, we identified a large superfamily of fungal defensin-like peptides (fDLPs) in the phytopathogenic fungal genus – Zymoseptoria, which includes 132 structurally typical and 63 atypical members. These atypical fDLPs exhibit an altered cystine framework and accompanying fold change associated with their secondary structure elements and disulfide bridge patterns, as identified by protein structure modelling. Despite this, they definitely are homologous with the typical fDLPs in view of their precise gene structure conservation and identical precursor organization. Sequence and structural analyses combined with functional data suggest that most of Zymoseptoria fDLPs might have lost their antimicrobial activity. The present study provides a clear example of