3 years ago

Analyzing the Folding and Binding Steps of an Intrinsically Disordered Protein by Protein Engineering

Analyzing the Folding and Binding Steps of an Intrinsically Disordered Protein by Protein Engineering
Sonia Longhi, Maurizio Brunori, Daniela Bonetti, Angelo Toto, Stefano Gianni, Francesca Troilo
Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are functionally active despite lacking a well-defined three-dimensional structure. Such proteins often undergo a disorder-to-order transition, or induced folding, when binding to their specific physiological partner. Because of cooperativity, the folding and binding steps typically appear as a single event, and therefore, induced folding is extremely difficult to characterize experimentally. In this perspective, the interaction between the disordered C-terminal domain of the measles virus nucleoprotein NTAIL and the folded X domain of the viral phosphoprotein (XD) is particularly interesting because the inherent complexity of the observed kinetics allows characterization of the binding and folding steps individually. Here we present a detailed structural description of the folding and binding events occurring in the recognition between NTAIL and XD. This result was achieved by measuring the effect of single-amino acid substitutions in NTAIL on the reaction mechanism. Analysis of the experimental data allowed us (i) to identify the key residues involved in the initial recognition between the two molecules and (ii) to depict the general features of the folding pathway of NTAIL. Furthermore, an analysis of the changes in stability obtained for the whole set of variants highlights how the sequence of this IDP has not been selected during evolution to fold efficiently. This feature might be a consequence of the weakly funneled nature of the energy landscape of IDPs in their unbound state and represents a plausible explanation of their highly dynamic nature even in the bound state, typically defined as “fuzziness”.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00350

DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00350

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