Using a FRET Library with Multiple Probe Pairs To Drive Monte Carlo Simulations of α-Synuclein
We describe a strategy for experimentally-constraining computational simulations of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), using α-synuclein, an IDP with a central role in Parkinson's disease pathology, as an example. Previously, data from single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) experiments have been effectively utilized to generate experimentally constrained computational models of IDPs. However, the fluorophores required for single-molecule FRET experiments are not amenable to the study of short-range (<30 Å) interactions. Using ensemble FRET measurements allows one to acquire data from probes with multiple distance ranges, which can be used to constrain Monte Carlo simulations in PyRosetta. To appropriately employ ensemble FRET data as constraints, we optimized the shape and weight of constraining potentials to afford ensembles of structures that are consistent with experimental data. We also used this approach to examine the structure of α-synuclein in the presence of the compacting osmolyte trimethylamine-N-oxide. Despite significant compaction imparted by 2 M trimethylamine-N-oxide, the underlying ensemble of α-synuclein remains largely disordered and capable of aggregation, also in agreement with experimental data. These proof-of-concept experiments demonstrate that our modeling protocol enables one to efficiently generate experimentally constrained models of IDPs that incorporate atomic-scale detail, allowing one to study an IDP under a variety of conditions.
Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/biophysj/fulltext/S0006-3495(17)31213-4
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