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PLoS Comput Biol. 2008 May 16;4(5):e1000070. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000070.

The energy landscapes of repeat-containing proteins: topology, cooperativity, and the folding funnels of one-dimensional architectures.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Repeat-proteins are made up of near repetitions of 20- to 40-amino acid stretches. These polypeptides usually fold up into non-globular, elongated architectures that are stabilized by the interactions within each repeat and those between adjacent repeats, but that lack contacts between residues distant in sequence. The inherent symmetries both in primary sequence and three-dimensional structure are reflected in a folding landscape that may be analyzed as a quasi-one-dimensional problem. We present a general description of repeat-protein energy landscapes based on a formal Ising-like treatment of the elementary interaction energetics in and between foldons, whose collective ensemble are treated as spin variables. The overall folding properties of a complete "domain" (the stability and cooperativity of the repeating array) can be derived from this microscopic description. The one-dimensional nature of the model implies there are simple relations for the experimental observables: folding free-energy (DeltaG(water)) and the cooperativity of denaturation (m-value), which do not ordinarily apply for globular proteins. We show how the parameters for the "coarse-grained" description in terms of foldon spin variables can be extracted from more detailed folding simulations on perfectly funneled landscapes. To illustrate the ideas, we present a case-study of a family of tetratricopeptide (TPR) repeat proteins and quantitatively relate the results to the experimentally observed folding transitions. Based on the dramatic effect that single point mutations exert on the experimentally observed folding behavior, we speculate that natural repeat proteins are "poised" at particular ratios of inter- and intra-element interaction energetics that allow them to readily undergo structural transitions in physiologically relevant conditions, which may be intrinsically related to their biological functions.

PMID:
18483553
PMCID:
PMC2366061
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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