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PLoS Comput Biol. 2013;9(11):e1003269. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003269. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Catalysis of protein folding by chaperones accelerates evolutionary dynamics in adapting cell populations.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Abstract

Although molecular chaperones are essential components of protein homeostatic machinery, their mechanism of action and impact on adaptation and evolutionary dynamics remain controversial. Here we developed a physics-based ab initio multi-scale model of a living cell for population dynamics simulations to elucidate the effect of chaperones on adaptive evolution. The 6-loci genomes of model cells encode model proteins, whose folding and interactions in cellular milieu can be evaluated exactly from their genome sequences. A genotype-phenotype relationship that is based on a simple yet non-trivially postulated protein-protein interaction (PPI) network determines the cell division rate. Model proteins can exist in native and molten globule states and participate in functional and all possible promiscuous non-functional PPIs. We find that an active chaperone mechanism, whereby chaperones directly catalyze protein folding, has a significant impact on the cellular fitness and the rate of evolutionary dynamics, while passive chaperones, which just maintain misfolded proteins in soluble complexes have a negligible effect on the fitness. We find that by partially releasing the constraint on protein stability, active chaperones promote a deeper exploration of sequence space to strengthen functional PPIs, and diminish the non-functional PPIs. A key experimentally testable prediction emerging from our analysis is that down-regulation of chaperones that catalyze protein folding significantly slows down the adaptation dynamics.

PMID:
24244114
PMCID:
PMC3820506
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003269
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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