Predictive energy landscapes for folding membrane protein assemblies

HH Truong and BL Kim and NP Schafer and PG Wolynes, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 143, 243101 (2015).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4929598

We study the energy landscapes for membrane protein oligomerization using the Associative memory, Water mediated, Structure and Energy Model with an implicit membrane potential (AWSEM-membrane), a coarse-grained molecular dynamics model previously optimized under the assumption that the energy landscapes for folding alpha-helical membrane protein monomers are funneled once their native topology within the membrane is established. In this study we show that the AWSEM-membrane force field is able to sample near native binding interfaces of several oligomeric systems. By predicting candidate structures using simulated annealing, we further show that degeneracies in predicting structures of membrane protein monomers are generally resolved in the folding of the higher order assemblies as is the case in the assemblies of both nicotinic acetylcholine receptor and V-type Na+-ATPase dimers. The physics of the phenomenon resembles domain swapping, which is consistent with the landscape following the principle of minimal frustration. We revisit also the classic Khorana study of the reconstitution of bacteriorhodopsin from its fragments, which is the close analogue of the early Anfinsen experiment on globular proteins. Here, we show the retinal cofactor likely plays a major role in selecting the final functional assembly. (C) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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