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Cooperativity and Folding Kinetics in a Multidomain Protein with Interwoven Chain Topology

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posted on 2022-05-19, 17:09 authored by Zhenxing Liu, D. Thirumalai
Although a large percentage of eukaryotic proteomes consist of proteins with multiple domains, not much is known about their assembly mechanism, especially those with intricate native state architectures. Some have a complex topology in which the structural elements along the sequence are interwoven in such a manner that the domains cannot be separated by cutting at any location along the sequence. Such proteins are multiply connected multidomain proteins (MMPs) with the three-domain (NMP, LID, and CORE) phosphotransferase enzyme adenylate kinase (ADK) being an example. We devised a coarse-grained model to simulate ADK folding initiated by changing either the temperature or guanidinium chloride (GdmCl) concentration. The simulations reproduce the experimentally measured melting temperatures (associated with two equilibrium transitions), FRET efficiency as a function of GdmCl concentration, and the folding times quantitatively. Although the NMP domain orders independently, cooperative interactions between the LID and the CORE domains are required for complete assembly of the enzyme. Kinetic simulations show that, on the collapse time scale, multiple interconnected metastable states are populated, attesting to the folding heterogeneity. The network of kinetically connected states reveals that the CORE domain folds only after the NMP and LID domains, reflecting the interwoven nature of the chain topology.

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