A method for the analysis of domain movements in large biomolecular complexes.

School of Computing Sciences and School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom.
Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics (Impact Factor: 3.34). 01/2009; 76(1):201-12. DOI:10.1002/prot.22339
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A new method for the analysis of domain movements in large, multichain, biomolecular complexes is presented. The method is applicable to any molecule for which two atomic structures are available that represent a conformational change indicating a possible domain movement. The method is blind to atomic bonding and atom type and can, therefore, be applied to biomolecular complexes containing different constituent molecules such as protein, RNA, or DNA. At the heart of the method is the use of blocks located at grid points spanning the whole molecule. The rotation vector for the rotation of atoms from each block between the two conformations is calculated. Treating components of these vectors as coordinates means that each block is associated with a point in a "rotation space" and that blocks with atoms that rotate together, perhaps as part of the same rigid domain, will have colocated points. Thus a domain can be identified from the clustering of points from blocks that span it. Domain pairs are accepted for analysis of their relative movements in terms of screw axes based upon a set of reasonable criteria. Here, we report on the application of the method to biomolecules covering a considerable size range: hemoglobin, liver alcohol dehydrogenase, S-Adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase, aspartate transcarbamylase, and the 70S ribosome. The results provide a depiction of the conformational change within each molecule that is easily understood, giving a perspective that is expected to lead to new insights. Of particular interest is the allosteric mechanism in some of these molecules. Results indicate that common boundaries between subunits and domains are good regions to focus on as movement in one subunit can be transmitted to another subunit through such interfaces.

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