Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Biol. 2005 Mar 4;346(4):1121-45. Epub 2005 Jan 26.

A survey of flexible protein binding mechanisms and their transition states using native topology based energy landscapes.

Author information

Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Many cellular functions rely on interactions between protein pairs and higher oligomers. We have recently shown that binding mechanisms are robust and owing to the minimal frustration principle, just as for protein folding, are governed primarily by the protein's native topology, which is characterized by the network of non-covalent residue-residue interactions. The detailed binding mechanisms of nine dimers, a trimer, and a tetramer, each involving different degrees of flexibility and plasticity during assembly, are surveyed here using a model that is based solely on the protein topology, having a perfectly funneled energy landscape. The importance of flexibility in binding reactions is manifested by the fly-casting effect, which is diminished in magnitude when protein flexibility is removed. Many of the grosser and finer structural aspects of the various binding mechanisms (including binding of pre-folded monomers, binding of intrinsically unfolded monomers, and binding by domain-swapping) predicted by the native topology based landscape model are consistent with the mechanisms found in the laboratory. An asymmetric binding mechanism is often observed for the formation of the symmetric homodimers where one monomer is more structured at the binding transition state and serves as a template for the folding of the other monomer. Phi values were calculated to show how the structure of the binding transition state ensemble would be manifested in protein engineering studies. For most systems, the simulated Phi values are reasonably correlated with the available experimental values. This agreement suggests that the overall binding mechanism and the nature of the binding transition state ensemble can be understood from the network of interactions that stabilize the native fold. The Phi values for the formation of an antibody-antigen complex indicate a possible role for solvation of the interface in biomolecular association of large rigid proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center