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PLoS Comput Biol. 2016 Mar 25;12(3):e1004834. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004834. eCollection 2016 Mar.

Similarity in Shape Dictates Signature Intrinsic Dynamics Despite No Functional Conservation in TIM Barrel Enzymes.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, Pb. 7803, Bergen, Norway.
Computational Biology Unit, Department of Informatics, University of Bergen, Pb. 7803, Bergen, Norway.


The conservation of the intrinsic dynamics of proteins emerges as we attempt to understand the relationship between sequence, structure and functional conservation. We characterise the conservation of such dynamics in a case where the structure is conserved but function differs greatly. The triosephosphate isomerase barrel fold (TBF), renowned for its 8 β-strand-α-helix repeats that close to form a barrel, is one of the most diverse and abundant folds found in known protein structures. Proteins with this fold have diverse enzymatic functions spanning five of six Enzyme Commission classes, and we have picked five different superfamily candidates for our analysis using elastic network models. We find that the overall shape is a large determinant in the similarity of the intrinsic dynamics, regardless of function. In particular, the β-barrel core is highly rigid, while the α-helices that flank the β-strands have greater relative mobility, allowing for the many possibilities for placement of catalytic residues. We find that these elements correlate with each other via the loops that link them, as opposed to being directly correlated. We are also able to analyse the types of motions encoded by the normal mode vectors of the α-helices. We suggest that the global conservation of the intrinsic dynamics in the TBF contributes greatly to its success as an enzymatic scaffold both through evolution and enzyme design.

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