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Computational Study of Conformation Dynamics and Allostery in WW Protein Domains

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Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational

Proteins continually and naturally incur evolutionary selection through mutagenesis that optimizes their fitness, which is primarily determined by their function. It is known that allosteric regulation alters a protein's conformational dynamics leading to functional changes. We have computationally introduced a mutation at a predicted regulatory site of a short, 46 residue-long, protein interaction module composed of a WW domain and corresponding polyproline ligand (PDB id: 1k9r). The dynamic flexibility index (DFI) was computed for the binding site of the wild type and mutant WW domains to quantify the mutations effect on the rigidity of the binding pocket. DFI is used as a metric to quantify the resilience of a given position to perturbation along the chain. Using steered molecular dynamics (SMD), we also measure the effect of the point mutation on allosteric regulation by approximating the binding free energy of the system calculated using Jarzynski's Equality. Calculation of the DFI shows that the overall flexibility of the protein complex increases as a result of the distal point mutation. Total change in DFI percentile of the binding site showed a 0.067 increase suggesting an allosteric, loss of function mutation. Furthermore, we see that the change in the binding free energy is greater for that of the mutated complex supporting the idea that an increase in flexibility is correlated to a decrease in proteinlig and binding affinity. We show that sequence mutation of an allosteric site affects the mechanical stability and functionality of the binding pocket.

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  • 2018-05

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Purification of the P66 Outer Membrane Protein of the Bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi

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Lyme disease is a common tick-borne illness caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An outer membrane protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, P66, has been suggested as a possible target for

Lyme disease is a common tick-borne illness caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. An outer membrane protein of Borrelia burgdorferi, P66, has been suggested as a possible target for Lyme disease treatments. However, a lack of structural information available for P66 has hindered attempts to design medications to target the protein. Therefore, this study attempted to find methods for expressing and purifying P66 in quantities that can be used for structural studies. It was found that by using the PelB signal sequence, His-tagged P66 could be directed to the outer membrane of Escherichia coli, as confirmed by an anti-His Western blot. Further attempts to optimize P66 expression in the outer membrane were made, pending verification via Western blotting. The ability to direct P66 to the outer membrane using the PelB signal sequence is a promising first step in determining the overall structure of P66, but further work is needed before P66 is ready for large-scale purification for structural studies.

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  • 2021-05