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The influence of intrinsic folding mechanism of an unfolded protein on the coupled folding-binding process during target recognition


The influence of intrinsic folding mechanism of an unfolded protein on the coupled folding-binding process during target recognition



Proteins 87(4): 265-275



ISSN/ISBN: 0887-3585

PMID: 30520528

DOI: 10.1002/prot.25646

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are extensively involved in dynamic signaling processes which require a high association rate and a high dissociation rate for rapid binding/unbinding events and at the same time a sufficient high affinity for specific recognition. Although the coupled folding-binding processes of IDPs have been extensively studied, it is still impossible to predict whether an unfolded protein is suitable for molecular signaling via coupled folding-binding. In this work, we studied the interplay between intrinsic folding mechanisms and coupled folding-binding process for unfolded proteins through molecular dynamics simulations. We first studied the folding process of three representative IDPs with different folded structures, that is, c-Myb, AF9, and E3 rRNase. We found the folding free energy landscapes of IDPs are downhill or show low barriers. To further study the influence of intrinsic folding mechanism on the binding process, we modulated the folding mechanism of barnase via circular permutation and simulated the coupled folding-binding process between unfolded barnase permutant and folded barstar. Although folding of barnase was coupled to target binding, the binding kinetics was significantly affected by the intrinsic folding free energy barrier, where reducing the folding free energy barrier enhances binding rate up to two orders of magnitude. This accelerating effect is different from previous results which reflect the effect of structure flexibility on binding kinetics. Our results suggest that coupling the folding of an unfolded protein with no/low folding free energy barrier with its target binding may provide a way to achieve high specificity and rapid binding/unbinding kinetics simultaneously.

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Accession: 065981814

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