Fluctuations between stabilizing and destabilizing electrostatic contributions of ion pairs in conformers of the c-Myc-Max leucine zipper

Sandeep Kumar, Ruth Nussinov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In solution proteins often exhibit backbone and side-chain flexibility. Yet electrostatic interactions in proteins are sensitive to motions. Hence, here we study the contribution of ion pairs toward protein stability in a range of conformers which sample the conformational space in solution. Specifically, we focus on the electrostatic contributions of ion pairs to the stability of each of the conformers in the NMR ensemble of the c-Myc-Max leucine zipper and to their average energy minimized structure. We compute the electrostatic contributions of inter- and intra-helical ion pairs and of an ion pair network. We find that the electrostatic contributions vary considerably among the 40 NMR conformers. Each ion pair, and the network, fluctuates between being stabilizing and being destabilizing. This fluctation reflects the variability in the location of the ion pairing residues and in the geometric orientation of these residues, both with respect to each other and with respect to other charged groups in the rest of the protein. Ion pair interactions in the c-Myc-Max leucine zipper in solution depend on the protein conformer which is analyzed. Hence, the overall stabilizing (or destabilizing) contribution of an ion pair is conformer population-dependent. This study indicates that free energy calculations performed using the continuum electrostatics methodology are sensitive to protein conformational details. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
Number of pages13
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Genetics
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2000

Keywords

  • Coiled coil
  • Energy landscape
  • Ensemble
  • NMR
  • Solution

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