Molecular Dynamics of the Proline Switch and Its Role in Crk Signaling

2015-12-17T01:54:11Z (GMT) by Junchao Xia Ronald M. Levy
The Crk adaptor proteins play a central role as a molecular timer for the formation of protein complexes including various growth and differentiation factors. The loss of regulation of Crk results in many kinds of cancers. A self-regulatory mechanism for Crk was recently proposed, which involves domain–domain rearrangement. It is initiated by a cis–trans isomerization of a specific proline residue (Pro238 in chicken Crk II) and can be accelerated by Cyclophilin A. To understand how the proline switch controls the autoinhibition at the molecular level, we performed large-scale molecular dynamics and metadynamics simulations in the context of short peptides and multidomain constructs of chicken Crk II. We found that the equilibrium and kinetic properties of the macrostates are regulated not only by the local environments of specified prolines but also by the global organization of multiple domains. We observe the two macrostates (cis closed/autoinhibited and trans open/uninhibited) consistent with NMR experiments and predict barriers. We also propose an intermediate state, the trans closed state, which interestingly was reported to be a prevalent state in human Crk II. The existence of this macrostate suggests that the rate of switching off the autoinhibition by Cyp A may be limited by the relaxation rate of this intermediate state.