Packing interface energetics in different crystal forms of the ? Cro dimer.
ABSTRACT: Variation among crystal structures of the ? Cro dimer highlights conformational flexibility. The structures range from a wild type closed to a mutant fully open conformation, but it is unclear if each represents a stable solution state or if one may be the result of crystal packing. Here we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulation to investigate the energetics of crystal packing interfaces and the influence of site-directed mutagenesis on them in order to examine the effect of crystal packing on wild type and mutant Cro dimer conformation. Replica exchange MD of mutant Cro in solution shows that the observed conformational differences between the wild type and mutant protein are not the direct consequence of mutation. Instead, simulation of Cro in different crystal environments reveals that mutation affects the stability of crystal forms. Molecular Mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area binding energy calculations reveal the detailed energetics of packing interfaces. Packing interfaces can have diverse properties in strength, energetic components, and some are stronger than the biological dimer interface. Further analysis shows that mutation can strengthen packing interfaces by as much as ?5 kcal/mol in either crystal environment. Thus, in the case of Cro, mutation provides an additional energetic contribution during crystal formation that may stabilize a fully open higher energy state. Moreover, the effect of mutation in the lattice can extend to packing interfaces not involving mutation sites. Our results provide insight into possible models for the effect of crystallization on Cro conformational dynamics and emphasize careful consideration of protein crystal structures.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Empirical binding models have previously been investigated for the energetics of protein complexation (DeltaG models) and for the influence of mutations on complexation (i.e. differences between wild-type and mutant complexes, DeltaDeltaG models). We construct binding models to directly compare these processes, which have generally been studied separately. RESULTS: Although reasonable fit models were found for both DeltaG and DeltaDeltaG cases, they differ substantially. In a dataset curated for the absence of mainchain rearrangement upon binding, non-polar area burial is a major determinant of DeltaG models. However this DeltaG model does not fit well to the data for binding differences upon mutation. Burial of non-polar area is weighted down in fitting of DeltaDeltaG models. These calculations were made with no repacking of sidechains upon complexation, and only minimal packing upon mutation. We investigated the consequences of more extensive packing changes with a modified mean-field packing scheme. Rather than emphasising solvent exposure with relatively extended sidechains, rotamers are selected that exhibit maximal packing with protein. This provides solvent accessible areas for proteins that are much closer to those of experimental structures than the more extended sidechain regime. The new packing scheme increases changes in non-polar burial for mutants compared to wild-type proteins, but does not substantially improve agreement between DeltaG and DeltaDeltaG binding models. CONCLUSION: We conclude that solvent accessible area, based on modelled mutant structures, is a poor correlate for DeltaDeltaG upon mutation. A simple volume-based, rather than solvent accessibility-based, model is constructed for DeltaG and DeltaDeltaG systems. This shows a more consistent behaviour. We discuss the efficacy of volume, as opposed to area, approaches to describe the energetic consequences of mutations at interfaces. This knowledge can be used to develop simple computational screens for binding in comparative modelled interfaces.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Study of macromolecular assemblies is fundamental to understand functions in cells. X-ray crystallography is the most common technique to solve their 3D structure at atomic resolution. In a crystal, however, both biologically-relevant interfaces and non-specific interfaces resulting from crystallographic packing are observed. Due to the complexity of the biological assemblies currently tackled, classifying those interfaces, i.e. distinguishing biological from crystal lattice interfaces, is not trivial and often prone to errors. In this context, analyzing the physico-chemical characteristics of biological/crystal interfaces can help researchers identify possible features that distinguish them and gain a better understanding of the systems.<h4>Results</h4>In this work, we are providing new insights into the differences between biological and crystallographic complexes by focusing on "pair-properties" of interfaces that have not yet been fully investigated. We investigated properties such intermolecular residue-residue contacts (already successfully applied to the prediction of binding affinities) and interaction energies (electrostatic, Van der Waals and desolvation). By using the XtalMany and BioMany interface datasets, we show that interfacial residue contacts, classified as a function of their physico-chemical properties, can distinguish between biological and crystallographic interfaces. The energetic terms show, on average, higher values for crystal interfaces, reflecting a less stable interface due to crystal packing compared to biological interfaces. By using a variety of machine learning approaches, we trained a new interface classification predictor based on contacts and interaction energetic features. Our predictor reaches an accuracy in classifying biological vs crystal interfaces of 0.92, compared to 0.88 for EPPIC (one of the main state-of-the-art classifiers reporting same performance as PISA).<h4>Conclusion</h4>In this work we have gained insights into the nature of intermolecular contacts and energetics terms distinguishing biological from crystallographic interfaces. Our findings might have a broader applicability in structural biology, for example for the identification of near native poses in docking. We implemented our classification approach into an easy-to-use and fast software, freely available to the scientific community from http://github.com/haddocking/interface-classifier .
Project description:The significant variation among solved structures of the ? Cro dimer suggests its flexibility. However, contacts in the crystal lattice could have stabilized a conformation which is unrepresentative of its dominant solution form. Here we report on the conformational space of the Cro dimer in solution using replica exchange molecular dynamics in explicit solvent. The simulated ensemble shows remarkable correlation with available x-ray structures. Network analysis and a free energy surface reveal the predominance of closed and semi-open dimers, with a modest barrier separating these two states. The fully open conformation lies higher in free energy, indicating that it requires stabilization by DNA or crystal contacts. Most NMR models are found to be unstable conformations in solution. Intersubunit salt bridging between Arg(4) and Glu(53) during simulation stabilizes closed conformations. Because a semi-open state is among the low-energy conformations sampled in simulation, we propose that Cro-DNA binding may not entail a large conformational change relative to the dominant dimer forms in solution.
Project description:Bacteriophage Cro proteins bind to target DNA as dimers but do not all dimerize with equal strength, and differ in fold in the region of the dimer interface. We report the structure of the Cro protein from Enterobacteria phage N15 at 1.05 A resolution. The subunit fold contains five alpha-helices and is closely similar to the structure of P22 Cro (1.3 A backbone room mean square difference over 52 residues), but quite different from that of lambda Cro, a structurally diverged member of this family with a mixed alpha-helix/beta-sheet fold. N15 Cro crystallizes as a biological dimer with an extensive interface (1303 A(2) change in accessible surface area per dimer) and also dimerizes in solution with a K(d) of 5.1 +/- 1.5 microM. Its dimerization is much stronger than that of its structural homolog P22 Cro, which does not self-associate detectably in solution. Instead, the level of self-association and interfacial area for N15 Cro is similar to that of lambda Cro, even though these two orthologs do not share the same fold and have dimer interfaces that are qualitatively different in structure. The common Cro ancestor is thought to be an all-helical monomer similar to P22 Cro. We propose that two Cro descendants independently developed stronger dimerization by entirely different mechanisms.
Project description:A discrimination method between biologically relevant interfaces and artificial crystal-packing contacts in crystal structures was constructed. The method evaluates protein-protein interfaces in terms of complementarities for hydrophobicity, electrostatic potential and shape on the protein surfaces, and chooses the most probable biological interfaces among all possible contacts in the crystal. The method uses a discriminator named as "COMP", which is a linear combination of the complementarities for the above three surface features and does not correlate with the contact area. The discrimination of homo-dimer interfaces from symmetry-related crystal-packing contacts based on the COMP value achieved the modest success rate. Subsequent detailed review of the discrimination results raised the success rate to about 88.8%. In addition, our discrimination method yielded some clues for understanding the interaction patterns in several examples in the PDB. Thus, the COMP discriminator can also be used as an indicator of the "biological-ness" of protein-protein interfaces.
Project description:The structure of a complex of bacteriophage lambda Cro protein with a 17-base-pair operator has been determined at 3.9-A resolution. Isomorphous derivatives obtained by the synthesis of site-specific iodinated DNA oligomers were of critical importance in solving the structure. The crystal structure contains three independent Cro-operator complexes that have very similar, although not necessarily identical, conformations. In the complex, the protein dimer undergoes a large conformational change relative to the crystal structure of the free protein. One monomer rotates by about 40 degrees relative to the other, this being accomplished primarily by a twisting of the two beta-sheet strands that connect one monomer with the other. In the complex, the DNA is bent by about 40 degrees into the shape of a boomerang but maintains essentially Watson-Crick B-form. In contrast to other known protein-DNA complexes, the DNA is not stacked end-to-end. The structure confirms the general features of the model previously proposed for the interaction of Cro with DNA.
Project description:Tetrameric ligand binding domains of the family of ionotropic glutamate receptors assemble as dimers-of-dimers. Crystallographic studies of several glutamate receptor subtype isolated core-dimers suggest a single stable dimeric conformation. A binding domain dimer has not been captured in other conformations without the aid of biochemical methods to disrupt a critical dimer interface. Molecular dynamics simulations and continuum electrostatics calculations reveal that the active glutamate bound form of the ligand-binding domain found in typical crystal structures is the preferred energetic state of the isolated core-dimer in the presence of agonist glutamate. A desensitized conformational state is a higher energy ligand-bound state of the core-dimer. The resting apo conformational state is comparatively the least energetically favored conformation and does not contain a single state but a set of energetically equivalent conformational core-dimer states. We hypothesize the energetic balance of an open versus closed transmembrane region must be included to characterize the absolute energetic states of the full receptor, which in the presence of the ligand is believed to be a desensitized state.
Project description:The initiation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase activity proceeds via an asymmetric dimerization mechanism in which a "donor" tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) contacts an "acceptor" TKD, leading to its activation. In the context of a ligand-induced dimer, identical wild-type EGFR TKDs are thought to assume the donor or acceptor roles in a random manner. Here, we present biochemical reconstitution data demonstrating that activated EGFR mutants found in lung cancer preferentially assume the acceptor role when coexpressed with WT EGFR. Mutated EGFRs show enhanced association with WT EGFR, leading to hyperphosphorylation of the WT counterpart. Mutated EGFRs also hyperphosphorylate the related erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene (ErbB) family member, ErbB-2, in a similar manner. This directional "superacceptor activity" is particularly pronounced in the drug-resistant L834R/T766M mutant. A 4-Å crystal structure of this mutant in the active conformation reveals an asymmetric dimer interface that is essentially the same as that in WT EGFR. Asymmetric dimer formation induces an allosteric conformational change in the acceptor subunit. Thus, superacceptor activity likely arises simply from a lower energetic cost associated with this conformational change in the mutant EGFR compared with WT, rather than from any structural alteration that impairs the donor role of the mutant. Collectively, these findings define a previously unrecognized mode of mutant-specific intermolecular regulation for ErbB receptors, knowledge of which could potentially be exploited for therapeutic benefit.
Project description:EmrE, a member of the small multidrug transporters superfamily, extrudes positively charged hydrophobic compounds out of Escherichia coli cytoplasm in exchange for inward movement of protons down their electrochemical gradient. Although its transport mechanism has been thoroughly characterized, the structural basis of energy coupling and the conformational cycle mediating transport have yet to be elucidated. In this study, EmrE structure in liposomes and the substrate-induced conformational changes were investigated by systematic spin labeling and EPR analysis. Spin label mobilities and accessibilities describe a highly dynamic ligand-free (apo) conformation. Dipolar coupling between spin labels across the dimer reveals at least two spin label populations arising from different packing interfaces of the EmrE dimer. One population is consistent with antiparallel arrangement of the monomers, although the EPR parameters suggest deviations from the crystal structure of substrate-bound EmrE. Resolving these discrepancies requires an unusual disposition of TM3 relative to the membrane-water interface and a kink in its backbone that enables bending of its C-terminal part. Binding of the substrate tetraphenylphosphonium changes the environment of spin labels and their proximity in three transmembrane helices. The underlying conformational transition involves repacking of TM1, tilting of TM2, and changes in the backbone configurations of TM3 and the adjacent loop connecting it to TM4. A dynamic apo conformation is necessary for the polyspecificity of EmrE allowing the binding of structurally diverse substrates. The flexibility of TM3 may play a critical role in movement of substrates across the membrane.
Project description:The amount of transmembrane protein (TM) structures solved to date is now large enough to attempt large scale analyses. In particular, extensive studies of oligomeric interfaces in the transmembrane region are now possible.We have compiled the first fully comprehensive set of validated transmembrane protein interfaces in order to study their features and assess what differentiates them from their soluble counterparts.The general features of TM interfaces do not differ much from those of soluble proteins: they are large, tightly packed and possess many interface core residues. In our set, membrane lipids were not found to significantly mediate protein-protein interfaces. Although no G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) was included in the validated set, we analyzed the crystallographic dimerization interfaces proposed in the literature. We found that the putative dimer interfaces proposed for class A GPCRs do not show the usual patterns of stable biological interfaces, neither in terms of evolution nor of packing, thus they likely correspond to crystal interfaces. We cannot however rule out the possibility that they constitute transient or weak interfaces. In contrast we do observe a clear signature of biological interface for the proposed dimer of the class F human Smoothened receptor.