Folding and Structural Polymorphism of P53 C-terminal Domain: One Peptide with Many Conformations

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Intrinsically disordered protein, MoRFS, Methanol, TFE, Hydrophobic interactions

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Proteins of the p53 family are best known for their role in the regulation of cell cycle. The p53 protein, as a model system, has been extensively explored in numerous cancer-related studies. The C-terminal domain (CTD) of p53 is an intrinsically disordered region that gains multiple different conformations at interaction with different binding partners. However, the impact of the surrounding environment on the structural preference of p53-CTD is not known. We investigated the impact of the surrounding environment on the conformational behavior and folding of p53-CTD. Although the entire CTD is predicted as a highly disordered region by several commonly used disorder predictors, based on the secondary structure prediction, we find that a part of the CTD sequence (residues 380–388) is “confused”, being predicted to shuffle between the irregular, α-helical and β-strand structures. First time, we are observing the effect of folding-induced organic solvents, trifluoroethanol and methanol, on the conformation of CTD. Water-miscible organic solvents exert hydrophobic interactions, which are major driving force to trigger structural changes in CTD. By lowering the solution dielectric constant, organic solvents can also strengthen electrostatic interactions. We have also performed Replica Exchange Molecular Dynamic (REMD) simulations for enhanced conformation sampling of the peptide. These simulation studies have also provided detailed insight into the peculiarities of this peptide, explaining its folding behavior in the presence of methanol. We consider that these hydrophobic interactions may have important roles for function-related structural changes of this disordered region.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, v. 684, art. 108342