Sequence-dependent dynamical instability of the human prion protein: a comparative simulation study
The present study aimed to explore the most probable regions of the human prion protein backbone for which the initial steps of conformational transitions as a result of intrinsic and extrinsic perturbing factors on the protein structure can be assigned. A total of 0.3-μs molecular dynamics simulations on several analog structures of the protein have been performed. To mimic the impact of the extrinsic and intrinsic destructive parameters on the dynamical characteristics of the protein, mild acidic conditions and R208H mutation have been simulated. The findings indicated that distribution of conformational flexibilities along the protein chain was almost independent of the induced perturbing factors, and was mostly centralized on certain distinct parts of the structure comprising residues 132–145 and 187–203. Analyses also revealed that the segment comprising residues 187–203 may be considered as a peptide sequence, possessing high potential to start the initial steps of conformational rearrangements due to the induced physicochemical alterations. Sequence alignment and molecular dynamics data also revealed that segment 178–203 prefers to accommodate in extended structures rather than α-helices. Region 178–203 may be considered as a peptide switch capable of initiating the conformational transitions due to the introduced modifications and perturbing parameters.
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