Structural characterization of alternatively folded and partially disordered protein conformations remains challenging. Outer surface protein A (OspA) is a pivotal protein in Borrelia infection, which is the etiological agent of Lyme disease. OspA exists in equilibrium with intermediate conformations, in which the central and the C-terminal regions of the protein have lower stabilities than the N-terminal. Here, we characterize pressure- and temperature-stabilized intermediates of OspA by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy combined with paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE). We found that the C-terminal region of the intermediate was partially disordered; however, it retains weak specific contact with the N-terminal region, owing to a twist of the central β-sheet and increased flexibility in the polypeptide chain. The disordered C-terminal region of the pressure-stabilized intermediate was more compact than that of the temperature-stabilized form. Further, molecular dynamics simulation demonstrated that temperature-induced disordering of the β-sheet was initiated at the C-terminal region and continued through to the central region. An ensemble of simulation snapshots qualitatively described the PRE data from the intermediate and indicated that the intermediate structures of OspA may expose tick receptor-binding sites more readily than does the basic folded conformation.
The M42 aminopeptidases are a family of dinuclear aminopeptidases widely distributed in Prokaryotes. They are potentially associated to the proteasome, achieving complete peptide destruction. Their most peculiar characteristic is their quaternary structure, a tetrahedron-shaped particle made of twelve subunits. The catalytic site of M42 aminopeptidases is defined by seven conserved residues. Five of them are involved in metal ion binding which is important to maintain both the activity and the oligomeric state. The sixth conserved residue, a glutamate, is the catalytic base deprotonating the water molecule during peptide bond hydrolysis. The seventh residue is an aspartate whose function remains poorly understood. This aspartate residue, however, must have a critical role as it is strictly conserved in all MH clan enzymes. It forms some kind of catalytic triad with the histidine residue and the metal ion of the M2 binding site. We assess its role in TmPep1050, an M42 aminopeptidase of Thermotoga maritima, through a mutational approach. Asp-62 was substituted with alanine, asparagine, or glutamate residue. The three Asp-62 substitutions completely abolished TmPep1050 activity and impeded dodecamer formation. They also interfered with metal ion binding as only one cobalt ion is bound per subunit instead of two. The structural data showed that the Asp62Ala substitution has an impact on the active site folds becoming similar to TmPep1050 dimer. We propose a structural role for Asp-62, helping to stabilize a crucial loop in the active site and to position correctly the catalytic base and a metal ion ligand of the M1 site.
Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are ubiquitous and functionally of great importance in biological systems. Hence, the ac-curate prediction of PPIs by protein-protein docking and scoring tools is highly desirable in order to characterize their structure and biological function. Ab initio docking protocols are divided into the sampling of docking poses to produce at least one near-native structure, then to evaluate the vast candidate structures by scoring. Concurrent development in both sampling and scoring is crucial for the deployment of protein-protein docking software. In the present work, we apply a machine learning model on pairwise potentials to refine the task of protein quaternary structure native structure detection among decoys. A decoy set was featurized using the Knowledge and Empirical Combined Scoring Algorithm 2 (KECSA2) pairwise potential. The highly unbalanced decoy set was then balanced using a comparison concept between native and decoy structures. The resultant comparison descriptors were used to train a logistic regression (LR) classifier. The LR model yielded the optimal performance for native detection among decoys compared to conventional scoring functions, while exhibiting lesser performance for the detection of low root mean square deviation (RMSD) decoy structures. Its deployment on an independent benchmark set confirms that the scoring function performs competitively relative to other scoring functions. All data and scripts used are available at: https://github.com/TanemuraKiyoto/PPI-native-detection-via-LR .