The consequences of cavity creation on the folding landscape of a repeat protein depend upon context Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/2745-3124-3110-7867-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2018


  • The effect of introducing internal cavities on protein native structure and global stability has been well documented, but the consequences of these packing defects on folding free-energy landscapes have received less attention. We investigated the effects of cavity creation on the folding landscape of the leucine-rich repeat protein pp32 by high-pressure (HP) and urea-dependent NMR and high-pressure small-angle X-ray scattering (HPSAXS). Despite a modest global energetic perturbation, cavity creation in the N-terminal capping motif (N-cap) resulted in very strong deviation from two-state unfolding behavior. In contrast, introduction of a cavity in the most stable, C-terminal half of pp32 led to highly concerted unfolding, presumably because the decrease in stability by the mutations attenuated the N- to C-terminal stability gradient present in WT pp32. Interestingly, enlarging the central cavity of the protein led to the population under pressure of a distinct intermediate in which the N-cap and repeats 1–4 were nearly completely unfolded, while the fifth repeat and the C-terminal capping motif remained fully folded. Thus, despite modest effects on global stability, introducing internal cavities can have starkly distinct repercussions on the conformational landscape of a protein, depending on their structural and energetic context.


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