Under physiological conditions, a protein undergoes a spontaneous disorder reversible arrow order transition called "folding." The protein polymer is highly flexible when unfolded but adopts its unique native, three-dimensional structure when folded. Current experimental knowledge comes primarily from thermodynamic measurements in solution or the structures of individual molecules, elucidated by either x-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. From the former, we know the enthalpy, entropy, and free energy differences between the folded and unfolded forms of hundreds of proteins under a variety of solvent/cosolvent conditions. From the latter, we know the structures of approximate to 35,000 proteins, which are built on scaffolds of hydrogen-bonded structural elements, a alpha-helix and ss-sheet. Anfin-sen showed that the amino acid sequence alone is sufficient to determine a protein's structure, but the molecular mechanism responsible for self-assembly remains an open question, probably the most fundamental open question in biochemistry. This perspective is a hybrid: partly review, partly proposal. First, we summarize key ideas regarding protein folding developed over the past half-century and culminating in the current mindset. in this view, the energetics of side-chain interactions dominate the folding process, driving the chain to self-organize under folding conditions. Next, having taken stock, we propose an alternative model that inverts the prevailing side-chain/backbone paradigm. Here, the energetics of backbone hydrogen bonds dominate the folding process, with preorganization in the unfolded state. Then, under folding conditions, the resultant fold is selected from a limited repertoire of structural possibilities, each corresponding to a distinct hydrogen-bonded arrangement of alpha-helices and/or strands of ss-sheet.

A backbone-based theory of protein folding

MARITAN, AMOS
2006

Abstract

Under physiological conditions, a protein undergoes a spontaneous disorder reversible arrow order transition called "folding." The protein polymer is highly flexible when unfolded but adopts its unique native, three-dimensional structure when folded. Current experimental knowledge comes primarily from thermodynamic measurements in solution or the structures of individual molecules, elucidated by either x-ray crystallography or NMR spectroscopy. From the former, we know the enthalpy, entropy, and free energy differences between the folded and unfolded forms of hundreds of proteins under a variety of solvent/cosolvent conditions. From the latter, we know the structures of approximate to 35,000 proteins, which are built on scaffolds of hydrogen-bonded structural elements, a alpha-helix and ss-sheet. Anfin-sen showed that the amino acid sequence alone is sufficient to determine a protein's structure, but the molecular mechanism responsible for self-assembly remains an open question, probably the most fundamental open question in biochemistry. This perspective is a hybrid: partly review, partly proposal. First, we summarize key ideas regarding protein folding developed over the past half-century and culminating in the current mindset. in this view, the energetics of side-chain interactions dominate the folding process, driving the chain to self-organize under folding conditions. Next, having taken stock, we propose an alternative model that inverts the prevailing side-chain/backbone paradigm. Here, the energetics of backbone hydrogen bonds dominate the folding process, with preorganization in the unfolded state. Then, under folding conditions, the resultant fold is selected from a limited repertoire of structural possibilities, each corresponding to a distinct hydrogen-bonded arrangement of alpha-helices and/or strands of ss-sheet.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/1563446
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