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Slow Folding of a Helical Protein: Large Barriers, Strong Internal Friction, or a Shallow, Bumpy Landscape?
, , Golla H., Divakar K., , De Sancho D.
Published in
Volume: 124
Issue: 41
Pages: 8973 - 8983
The rate at which a protein molecule folds is determined by opposing energetic and entropic contributions to the free energy that shape the folding landscape. Delineating the extent to which they impact the diffusional barrier-crossing events, including the magnitude of internal friction and barrier height, has largely been a challenging task. In this work, we extract the underlying thermodynamic and dynamic contributions to the folding rate of an unusually slow-folding helical DNA-binding domain, PurR, which shares the characteristics of ultrafast downhill-folding proteins but nonetheless appears to exhibit an apparent two-state equilibrium. We combine equilibrium spectroscopy, temperature-viscosity-dependent kinetics, statistical mechanical modeling, and coarse-grained simulations to show that the conformational behavior of PurR is highly heterogeneous characterized by a large spread in melting temperatures, marginal thermodynamic barriers, and populated partially structured states. PurR appears to be at the threshold of disorder arising from frustrated electrostatics and weak packing that in turn slows down folding due to a shallow, bumpy landscape and not due to large thermodynamic barriers or strong internal friction. Our work highlights how a strong temperature dependence on the pre-exponential could signal a shallow landscape and not necessarily a slow-folding diffusion coefficient, thus determining the folding timescales of even millisecond folding proteins and hints at possible structural origins for the shallow landscape. © 2020 American Chemical Society.
About the journal
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Open AccessNo
Authors (3)