Titin PEVK segment: charge-driven elasticity of the open and flexible polyampholyte.
ABSTRACT The giant protein titin spans half of the sarcomere length and anchors the myosin thick filament to the Z-line of skeletal and cardiac muscles. The passive elasticity of muscle at a physiological range of stretch arises primarily from the extension of the PEVK segment, which is a polyampholyte with dense and alternating-charged clusters. Force spectroscopy studies of a 51 kDa fragment of the human fetal titin PEVK domain (TP1) revealed that when charge interactions were reduced by raising the ionic strength from 35 to 560 mM, its mean persistence length increased from 0.30 +/- 0.04 nm to 0.60 +/- 0.07 nm. In contrast, when the secondary structure of TP1 was altered drastically by the presence of 40 and 80% (v/v) of trifluoroethanol, its force-extension behavior showed no significant shift in the mean persistence length of approximately approximately 0.18 +/- 0.03 nm at the ionic strength of 15 mM. Additionally, the mean persistence length also increased from 0.29 to 0.41 nm with increasing calcium concentration from pCa 5-8 to pCa 3-4. We propose that PEVK is not a simple entropic spring as is commonly assumed, but a highly evolved, gel-like enthalpic spring with its elasticity dominated by the sequence-specific charge interactions. A single polyampholyte chain may be fine-tuned to generate a broad range of molecular elasticity by varying charge pairing schemes and chain configurations.
SourceAvailable from: Rahul K. Das[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The functions of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are governed by relationships between information encoded in their amino acid sequences and the ensembles of conformations that they sample as autonomous units. Most IDPs are polyampholytes, with sequences that include both positively and negatively charged residues. Accordingly, we focus here on the sequence-ensemble relationships of polyampholytic IDPs. The fraction of charged residues discriminates between weak and strong polyampholytes. Using atomistic simulations, we show that weak polyampholytes form globules, whereas the conformational preferences of strong polyampholytes are determined by a combination of fraction of charged residues values and the linear sequence distributions of oppositely charged residues. We quantify the latter using a patterning parameter κ that lies between zero and one. The value of κ is low for well-mixed sequences, and in these sequences, intrachain electrostatic repulsions and attractions are counterbalanced, leading to the unmasking of preferences for conformations that resemble either self-avoiding random walks or generic Flory random coils. Segregation of oppositely charged residues within linear sequences leads to high κ-values and preferences for hairpin-like conformations caused by long-range electrostatic attractions induced by conformational fluctuations. We propose a scaling theory to explain the sequence-encoded conformational properties of strong polyampholytes. We show that naturally occurring strong polyampholytes have low κ-values, and this feature implies a selection for random coil ensembles. The design of sequences with different κ-values demonstrably alters the conformational preferences of polyampholytic IDPs, and this ability could become a useful tool for enabling direct inquiries into connections between sequence-ensemble relationships and functions of IDPs.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2013; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1304749110 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mechanochemistry, or the translation of macroscopic forces into discrete chemical reactivity, has a rich and diverse history. From the seminal demonstration that mechanical grinding could facilitate the reduction of cinnabar, to the more sophisticated single molecule and polymer assisted mechanochemical phenomena that have recently been observed, a number of intriguing chemical transformations have been found to exhibit rate enhancements upon mechanical perturbation. While mechanochemistry has traditionally been confined to the realm of synthetic and materials chemistry, a promising avenue of exploration is rooted in the area of mechanobiochemistry, or the study of mechanically responsive biomacromolecules. Here, we detail recent efforts toward the mechanical manipulation of biopolymers with a specific focus on those examples wherein mechanical perturbation is employed to modulate the properties and activities displayed by macromolecules of biological relevance. In addition, we provide a brief description of recent advances in the development of biocomposites that exhibit interesting and useful mechanical, catalytic, and sensing properties. Finally, new materials applications that build upon the fundamental studies involving force-responsive biomaterials are discussed.Polymer Chemistry 03/2013; 4(14). DOI:10.1039/C3PY00001J · 5.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Atomic force microscopy (AFM), single molecule force spectroscopy (SMFS), and single particle force spectroscopy (SPFS) are used to characterize intermolecular interactions and domain structures of clathrin triskelia and clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs). The latter are involved in receptor-mediated endocytosis (RME) and other trafficking pathways. Here, we subject individual triskelia, bovine-brain CCVs, and reconstituted clathrin-AP180 coats to AFM-SMFS and AFM-SPFS pulling experiments and apply novel analytics to extract force-extension relations from very large data sets. The spectroscopic fingerprints of these samples differ markedly, providing important new information about the mechanism of CCV uncoating. For individual triskelia, SMFS reveals a series of events associated with heavy chain alpha-helix hairpin unfolding, as well as cooperative unraveling of several hairpin domains. SPFS of clathrin assemblies exposes weaker clathrin-clathrin interactions that are indicative of inter-leg association essential for RME and intracellular trafficking. Clathrin-AP180 coats are energetically easier to unravel than the coats of CCVs, with a non-trivial dependence on force-loading rate.Methods 03/2013; epub: accepted manuscript online(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2012.12.006 · 3.22 Impact Factor