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Macromolecular Crowding Modulates Folding Mechanism of α/β Protein Apoflavodoxin
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Chemistry. (Structural Biology)
2009 (English)In: Biophysical Journal, Vol. 96, no 2, 671-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Protein dynamics in cells may be different from those in dilute solutions in vitro, because the environment in cells is highly concentrated with other macromolecules. This volume exclusion because of macromolecular crowding is predicted to affect both equilibrium and kinetic processes involving protein conformational changes. To quantify macromolecular crowding effects on protein folding mechanisms, we investigated the folding energy landscape of an α/β protein, apoflavodoxin, in the presence of inert macromolecular crowding agents, using in silico and in vitro approaches. By means of coarse-grained molecular simulations and topology-based potential interactions, we probed the effects of increased volume fractions of crowding agents (c) as well as of crowding agent geometry (sphere or spherocylinder) at high c. Parallel kinetic folding experiments with purified Desulfovibro desulfuricans apoflavodoxin in vitro were performed in the presence of Ficoll (sphere) and Dextran (spherocylinder) synthetic crowding agents. In conclusion, we identified the in silico crowding conditions that best enhance protein stability, and discovered that upon manipulation of the crowding conditions, folding routes experiencing topological frustrations can be either enhanced or relieved. Our test-tube experiments confirmed that apoflavodoxin's time-resolved folding path is modulated by crowding agent geometry. Macromolecular crowding effects may be a tool for the manipulation of protein-folding and function in living cells.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Inc , 2009. Vol. 96, no 2, 671-80 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18461DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.10.014OAI: diva2:159721
Available from: 2009-02-10 Created: 2009-02-10 Last updated: 2010-01-12

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