Unfolding pathways of goat alpha-lactalbumin as revealed in multiple alignment of molecular dynamics trajectories.
ABSTRACT Molecular dynamics simulations of protein unfolding were performed at an elevated temperature for the authentic and recombinant forms of goat alpha-lactalbumin. Despite very similar three-dimensional structures, the two forms have significantly different unfolding rates due to an extra N-terminal methionine in the recombinant protein. To identify subtle differences between the two forms in the highly stochastic kinetics of unfolding, we classified the unfolding trajectories using the multiple alignment method based on the analogy between the biological sequences and the molecular dynamics trajectories. A dendrogram derived from the multiple trajectory alignment revealed a clear difference in the unfolding pathways of the authentic and recombinant proteins, i.e. the former reached the transition state in an all-or-none manner while the latter unfolded less cooperatively. It was also found in the classification that the two forms of the protein shared a common transition state structure, which was in excellent agreement with the transition state structure observed experimentally in the Phi-value analysis.
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ABSTRACT: Independent experimental and theoretical studies of the unfolding of barley chymotrypsin inhibitor 2 (CI2) are compared in an attempt to derive plausible three-dimensional structural models of the transition states. A very simple structure index is calculated along the sequence for the molecular dynamics-generated transition state models to facilitate comparison with the phi F values. The two are in good agreement overall (correlation coefficient = 0.87), which suggests that the theoretical models should provide a structural framework for interpretation of the phi F values. Both experiment and simulation indicate that the transition state is a distorted form of the native state in which the alpha-helix is weakened but partially intact and the beta-sheet is quite disrupted. As inferred from the phi f values and observed directly in the simulations, the unfolding of CI2 is cooperative and there is a "folding core" comprising a patch on the alpha-helix and a portion of the beta-sheet, nucleated by interactions between Ala16, Ile49 and other neighbouring residues. The protein becomes less structured radiating away from this core. Overall the data indicate that CI2 folds by a nucleation-collapse mechanism. In the absence of experimental information, we have little confidence that the molecular dynamics simulations are correct, especially when only one or a few simulations are performed. On the other hand, even though the experimentally derived phi values may reflect the extent of overall structure formation, they do not provide an actual atomic-resolution three dimensional structure of the transition state. By combining the two approaches, however, we have a framework for interpreting phi F values and can hopefully arrive at a more trustworthy model of the transition state. The process is in some ways similar to the combination of molecular dynamics and NMR data to solve the tertiary structure of proteins.Journal of Molecular Biology 04/1996; 257(2):430-40. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Many of the protein fusion systems used to enhance the yield of recombinant proteins result in the addition of a small number of amino acid residues onto the desired protein. Here, we investigate the effect of short (three amino acid) N-terminal extensions on the equilibrium denaturation and kinetic folding and unfolding reactions of the FK506-binding protein (FKBP) and compare the results obtained with data collected on an FKBP variant lacking this extension. Isothermal equilibrium denaturation experiments demonstrated that the N-terminal extension had a slight destabilizing effect. NMR investigations showed that the N-terminal extension slightly perturbed the protein structure near the site of the extension, with lesser effects being propagated into the single alpha-helix of FKBP. These structural perturbations probably account for the differential stability. In contrast to the relatively minor equilibrium effects, the N-terminal extension generated a kinetic-folding intermediate that is not observed in the shorter construct. Kinetic experiments performed on a construct with a different amino acid sequence in the extension showed that the length and the sequence of the extension both contribute to the observed equilibrium and kinetic effects. These results point to an important role for the N terminus in the folding of FKBP and suggest that a biological consequence of N-terminal methionine removal observed in many eukaryotic and prokaryotic proteins is to increase the folding efficiency of the polypeptide chain.Protein Science 10/2001; 10(9):1905-10. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The structure of the 36 residue villin headpiece subdomain is investigated with the electrostatically driven Monte Carlo method. The ECEPP/3 (Empirical Conformational Energy Program for Peptides) force field, plus two different continuum solvation models, were used to describe the conformational energy of the chain with both blocked and unblocked N and C termini. A statistical analysis of an ensemble of ab initio generated conformations was carried out, based on a comparison with a set of ten native-like structures derived from published experimental data, by using rigid geometry and NMR-derived constraints obtained at pH 3.7. The ten native-like structures satisfy the NMR-derived constraints. The whole ensemble of conformations of the terminally unblocked villin headpiece sub-domain, generated by using ECEPP/3 with a continuum solvation model, were subsequently evaluated at pH 3.7 with a potential function that includes ECEPP/3 combined with a fast multigrid boundary element method. At pH 3.7, the lowest-energy conformation found during the conformational search satisfies approximately 70% of both the distance and the dihedral-angle constraints, and possesses the characteristic packing of three phenylalanine residues that constitute the main part of the hydrophobic core of the molecule. On the other hand, computations at pH 3.7 and pH 7.0 for the ten native-like structures satisfying the NMR-derived constraints indicate a substantial change in the charge distribution for each type of amino acid residue with the change in pH. The results of this study provide a basis to understand the effect of the interactions, such as hydrophobicity, charge-charge interaction and solvent polarization, on the stability of this small alpha-helical protein.Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2004; 339(4):915-25. · 3.91 Impact Factor