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J Mol Biol. 2004 Mar 26;337(3):513-9.

De novo folding of membrane proteins: an exploration of the structure and NMR properties of the fd coat protein.

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Department of Molecular Biology (TPC6) and Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


De novo folding simulations of the major pVIII coat protein from filamentous fd bacteriophage, using a newly developed implicit membrane generalized Born model and replica-exchange molecular dynamics, are presented and discussed. The quality of the predicted structures, judged by comparison of the root-mean-square deviations of a room temperature ensemble of conformations from the replica-exchange simulations and experimental structures from both solid-state NMR in lipid bilayers and solution-phase NMR on the protein in micelles, was quite good, reinforcing the general quality of the folding simulations. The transmembrane helical segment of the protein was well defined in comparison with experiment and the amphipathic helical fragment remained at the membrane/aqueous phase boundary while undergoing significant conformational flexibility due to the loop connecting the two helical segments of the protein. Additional comparisons of computed solid-state NMR properties, the 15N chemical shift and 15N-1H dipolar coupling constants, showed semi-quantitative agreement with the corresponding measurements. These findings suggest an emerging potential for the de novo investigation of integral membrane peptides and proteins and a mechanism to assist experimental approaches to the characterization and structure determination of these important systems.

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