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Direct Observations of Conformational Distributions of Intrinsically Disordered p53 Peptides Using UV Raman and Explicit Solvent Simulations

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posted on 01.09.2011, 00:00 by Kan Xiong, Matthew C. Zwier, Nataliya S. Myshakina, Virginia M. Burger, Sanford A. Asher, Lillian T. Chong
We report the first experimental measurements of Ramachandran Ψ-angle distributions for intrinsically disordered peptides: the N-terminal peptide fragment of tumor suppressor p53 and its P27S mutant form. To provide atomically detailed views of the conformational distributions, we performed classical, explicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations on the microsecond time scale. Upon binding its partner protein, MDM2, wild-type p53 peptide adopts an α-helical conformation. Mutation of Pro27 to serine results in the highest affinity yet observed for MDM2-binding of the p53 peptide. Both UV resonance Raman spectroscopy (UVRR) and simulations reveal that the P27S mutation decreases the extent of PPII helical content and increases the probability for conformations that are similar to the α-helical MDM2-bound conformation. In addition, UVRR measurements were performed on peptides that were isotopically labeled at the Leu26 residue preceding the Pro27 in order to determine the conformational distributions of Leu26 in the wild-type and mutant peptides. The UVRR and simulation results are in quantitative agreement in terms of the change in the population of non-PPII conformations involving Leu26 upon mutation of Pro27 to serine. Finally, our simulations reveal that the MDM2-bound conformation of the peptide is significantly populated in both the wild-type and mutant isolated peptide ensembles in their unbound states, suggesting that MDM2 binding of the p53 peptides may involve conformational selection.