Propagating conformational changes over long (and short) distances in proteins.
ABSTRACT: The problem of the propagation of conformational changes over long distances or through a closely packed protein is shown to fit a model of a ligand-induced conformational change between two protein states selected by evolution. Moreover, the kinetics of the pathway between these states is also selected so that the energy of ligand binding and the speed of the transition between conformational states are physiologically appropriate. The crystallographic data of a wild-type aspartate receptor that has negative cooperativity and a mutant that has no cooperativity but has native transmembrane signaling are shown to support this model.
Project description:Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-modulated (HCN) channels are tetrameric proteins that evoke electrical rhythmicity in specialized neurons and cardiomyocytes. The channels are activated by hyperpolarizing voltage but are also receptors for the intracellular ligand adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) that enhances activation but is unable to activate the channels alone. Using fcAMP, a fluorescent derivative of cAMP, we analyzed the effect of ligand binding on HCN2 channels not preactivated by voltage. We identified a conformational flip of the channel as an intermediate state following the ligand binding and quantified it kinetically. Globally fitting the time courses of ligand binding and unbinding revealed modest cooperativity among the subunits in the conformational flip. The intensity of this cooperativity, however, was only moderate compared to channels preactivated by hyperpolarizing voltage. These data provide kinetic information about conformational changes proceeding in nonactivated HCN2 channels when cAMP binds. Moreover, our approach bears potential for analyzing the function of any other membrane receptor if a potent fluorescent ligand is available.
Project description:Transmembrane chemoreceptors, also known as methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCPs), translate extracellular signals into intracellular responses in the bacterial chemotaxis system. MCP ligand binding domains control the activity of the CheA kinase, situated approximately 200 A away, across the cytoplasmic membrane. The 2.17 A resolution crystal structure of a Thermotoga maritima soluble receptor (Tm14) reveals distortions in its dimeric four-helix bundle that provide insight into the conformational states available to MCPs for propagating signals. A bulge in one helix generates asymmetry between subunits that displaces the kinase-interacting tip, which resides more than 100 A away. The maximum bundle distortion maps to the adaptation region of transmembrane MCPs where reversible methylation of acidic residues tunes receptor activity. Minor alterations in coiled-coil packing geometry translate the bulge distortion to a >25 A movement of the tip relative to the bundle stalks. The Tm14 structure discloses how alterations in local helical structure, which could be induced by changes in methylation state and/or by conformational signals from membrane proximal regions, can reposition a remote domain that interacts with the CheA kinase.
Project description:The Binding Energy Distribution Analysis Method (BEDAM) is employed to compute the standard binding free energies of a series of ligands to a FK506 binding protein (FKBP12) with implicit solvation. Binding free energy estimates are in reasonably good agreement with experimental affinities. The conformations of the complexes identified by the simulations are in good agreement with crystallographic data, which was not used to restrain ligand orientations. The BEDAM method is based on ? -hopping Hamiltonian parallel Replica Exchange (HREM) molecular dynamics conformational sampling, the OPLS-AA/AGBNP2 effective potential, and multi-state free energy estimators (MBAR). Achieving converged and accurate results depends on all of these elements of the calculation. Convergence of the binding free energy is tied to the level of convergence of binding energy distributions at critical intermediate states where bound and unbound states are at equilibrium, and where the rate of binding/unbinding conformational transitions is maximal. This finding mirrors similar observations in the context of order/disorder transitions as for example in protein folding. Insights concerning the physical mechanism of ligand binding and unbinding are obtained. Convergence for the largest FK506 ligand is achieved only after imposing strict conformational restraints, which however require accurate prior structural knowledge of the structure of the complex. The analytical AGBNP2 model is found to underestimate the magnitude of the hydrophobic driving force towards binding in these systems characterized by loosely packed protein-ligand binding interfaces. Rescoring of the binding energies using a numerical surface area model corrects this deficiency. This study illustrates the complex interplay between energy models, exploration of conformational space, and free energy estimators needed to obtain robust estimates from binding free energy calculations.
Project description:Most biological reactions rely on interplay between binding and changes in both macromolecular structure and dynamics. Practical understanding of this interplay requires detection of critical intermediates and determination of their binding and conformational characteristics. However, many of these species are only transiently present and they have often been overlooked in mechanistic studies of reactions that couple binding to conformational change. We monitored the kinetics of ligand-induced conformational changes in a small protein using six different ligands. We analyzed the kinetic data to simultaneously determine both binding affinities for the conformational states and the rate constants of conformational change. The approach we used is sufficiently robust to determine the affinities of three conformational states and detect even modest differences in the protein's affinities for relatively similar ligands. Ligand binding favors higher-affinity conformational states by increasing forward conformational rate constants and/or decreasing reverse conformational rate constants. The amounts by which forward rate constants increase and reverse rate constants decrease are proportional to the ratio of affinities of the conformational states. We also show that both the affinity ratio and another parameter, which quantifies the changes in conformational rate constants upon ligand binding, are strong determinants of the mechanism (conformational selection and/or induced fit) of molecular recognition. Our results highlight the utility of analyzing the kinetics of conformational changes to determine affinities that cannot be determined from equilibrium experiments. Most importantly, they demonstrate an inextricable link between conformational dynamics and the binding affinities of conformational states.
Project description:Molecular recognition is critical for the fidelity of signal transduction in biology. Conversely, the disruption of protein-protein interactions can lead to disease. Thus, comprehension of the molecular determinants of specificity is essential for understanding normal biological signaling processes and for the development of precise therapeutics. Although high-resolution structures have provided atomic details of molecular interactions, much less is known about the influence of cooperativity and conformational dynamics. Here, we used the Tiam2 PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1 (PDZ) domain and a quadruple mutant (QM), engineered by swapping the identity of four residues important for specificity in the Tiam1 PDZ into the Tiam2 PDZ domain, as a model system to investigate the role of cooperativity and dynamics in PDZ ligand specificity. Surprisingly, equilibrium binding experiments found that the ligand specificity of the Tiam2 QM was switched to that of the Tiam1 PDZ. NMR-based studies indicated that Tiam2 QM PDZ, but not other mutants, had extensive microsecond to millisecond motions distributed throughout the entire domain suggesting structural cooperativity between the mutated residues. Thermodynamic analyses revealed energetic cooperativity between residues in distinct specificity subpockets that was dependent upon the identity of the ligand, indicating a context-dependent binding mechanism. Finally, isothermal titration calorimetry experiments showed distinct entropic signatures along the mutational trajectory from the Tiam2 wild-type to the QM PDZ domain. Collectively, our studies provide unique insights into how structure, conformational dynamics, and thermodynamics combine to modulate ligand-binding specificity and have implications for the evolution, regulation, and design of protein-ligand interactions.
Project description:RNA recognition frequently results in conformational changes that optimize intermolecular binding. As a consequence, the overall binding affinity of RNA to its binding partners depends not only on the intermolecular interactions formed in the bound state but also on the energy cost associated with changing the RNA conformational distribution. Measuring these "conformational penalties" is, however, challenging because bound RNA conformations tend to have equilibrium populations in the absence of the binding partner that fall outside detection by conventional biophysical methods. In this study we employ as a model system HIV-1 TAR RNA and its interaction with the ligand argininamide (ARG), a mimic of TAR's cognate protein binding partner, the transactivator Tat. We use NMR chemical shift perturbations and relaxation dispersion in combination with Bayesian inference to develop a detailed thermodynamic model of coupled conformational change and ligand binding. Starting from a comprehensive 12-state model of the equilibrium, we estimate the energies of six distinct detectable thermodynamic states that are not accessible by currently available methods. Our approach identifies a minimum of four RNA intermediates that differ in terms of the TAR conformation and ARG occupancy. The dominant bound TAR conformation features two bound ARG ligands and has an equilibrium population in the absence of ARG that is below detection limit. Consequently, even though ARG binds to TAR with an apparent overall weak affinity (Kdapp ? 0.2 mM), it binds the prefolded conformation with a Kd in the nM range. Our results show that conformational penalties can be major determinants of RNA-ligand binding affinity as well as a source of binding cooperativity, with important implications for a predictive understanding of how RNA is recognized and for RNA-targeted drug discovery.
Project description:Local conformational fluctuations in proteins can affect the coupling between ligand binding and global structural transitions. This finding was established by monitoring quantitatively how the population distribution in the ensemble of microstates of staphylococcal nuclease was affected by proton binding. Analysis of acid unfolding and proton-binding data with an ensemble-based model suggests that local fluctuations: (i) can be effective modulators of ligand-binding affinities, (ii) are important determinants of the cooperativity of ligand-driven global structural transitions, and (iii) are well represented thermodynamically as local unfolding processes. These studies illustrate how an ensemble-based description of proteins can be used to describe quantitatively the interdependence of local conformational fluctuations, ligand-binding processes, and global structural transitions. This level of understanding of the relationship between conformation, energy, and dynamics is required for a detailed mechanistic understanding of allostery, cooperativity, and other complex functional and regulatory properties of macromolecules.
Project description:Chemosensory proteins (CSPs) have been proposed to transport hydrophobic chemicals from air to olfactory or taste receptors. They have been isolated from several sensory organs of a wide range of insect species. The x-ray structure of CSPMbraA6, a 112-aa antennal protein from the moth Mamestra brassicae (Mbra), was shown to exhibit a novel type of alpha-helical fold. We have performed a structural and binding study of CSPMbraA6 to get some insights into its possible molecular function. Tryptophan fluorescence quenching demonstrates the ability of CSPMbraA6 to bind several types of semio-chemicals or surrogate ligands with microM K(d). Its crystal structure in complex with one of these compounds, 12-bromo-dodecanol, reveals extensive conformational changes on binding, resulting in the formation of a large cavity filled by three ligand molecules. Furthermore, binding cooperativity was demonstrated for some ligands, suggesting a stepwise binding. The peculiar rearrangement of CSPMbraA6 conformation and the cooperativity phenomenon might trigger the recognition of chemicals by receptors and induce subsequent signal transduction.
Project description:An increasing number of biological machines have been revealed to have more than two macroscopic states. Quantifying the underlying multiple-basin functional landscape is essential for understanding their functions. However, the present models seem to be insufficient to describe such multiple-state systems. To meet this challenge, we have developed a coarse grained triple-basin structure-based model with implicit ligand. Based on our model, the constructed functional landscape is sufficiently sampled by the brute-force molecular dynamics simulation. We explored maltose-binding protein (MBP) which undergoes large-scale domain motion between open, apo-closed (partially closed) and holo-closed (fully closed) states responding to ligand binding. We revealed an underlying mechanism whereby major induced fit and minor population shift pathways co-exist by quantitative flux analysis. We found that the hinge regions play an important role in the functional dynamics as well as that increases in its flexibility promote population shifts. This finding provides a theoretical explanation of the mechanistic discrepancies in PBP protein family. We also found a functional "backtracking" behavior that favors conformational change. We further explored the underlying folding landscape in response to ligand binding. Consistent with earlier experimental findings, the presence of ligand increases the cooperativity and stability of MBP. This work provides the first study to explore the folding dynamics and functional dynamics under the same theoretical framework using our triple-basin functional model.
Project description:RNA molecules have highly versatile structures that can fold into myriad conformations, providing many potential pockets for binding small molecules. The increasing number of available RNA structures, in complex with proteins, small ligands and in free form, enables the design of new therapeutically useful RNA-binding ligands. Here we studied RNA ligand complexes from 10 RNA groups extracted from the protein data bank (PDB), including adaptive and non-adaptive complexes. We analyzed the chemical, physical, structural and conformational properties of binding pockets around the ligand. Comparing the properties of ligand-binding pockets to the properties of computed pockets extracted from all available RNA structures and RNA-protein interfaces, revealed that ligand-binding pockets, mainly the adaptive pockets, are characterized by unique properties, specifically enriched in rare conformations of the nucleobase and the sugar pucker. Further, we demonstrate that nucleotides possessing the rare conformations are preferentially involved in direct interactions with the ligand. Overall, based on our comprehensive analysis of RNA-ligand complexes, we suggest that the unique conformations adopted by RNA nucleotides play an important role in RNA recognition by small ligands. We term the recognition of a binding site by a ligand via the unique RNA conformations "RNA conformational readout." We propose that "conformational readout" is a general way by which RNA binding pockets are recognized and selected from an ensemble of different RNA states.