TALEs from a Spring – Superelasticity of Tal Effector Protein StructuresReport as inadecuate




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Transcription activator-like effectors TALEs are DNA-related proteins that recognise and bind specific target sequences to manipulate gene expression. Recently determined crystal structures show that their common architecture reveals a superhelical overall structure that may undergo drastic conformational changes. To establish a link between structure and dynamics in TALE proteins we have employed coarse-grained elastic-network modelling of currently available structural data and implemented a force-probe setup that allowed us to investigate their mechanical behaviour in computer experiments. Based on the measured force-extension curves we conclude that TALEs exhibit superelastic dynamical properties allowing for large-scale global conformational changes along their helical axis, which represents the soft direction in such proteins. For moderate external forcing the TALE models behave like linear springs, obeying Hooke-s law, and the investigated structures can be characterised and compared by a corresponding spring constant. We show that conformational flexibility underlying the large-scale motions is not homogeneously distributed over the TALE structure, but instead soft spot residues around which strain is accumulated and which turn out to represent key agents in the transmission of conformational motions are identified. They correspond to the RVD loop residues that have been experimentally determined to play an eminent role in the binding process of target DNA.



Author: Holger Flechsig

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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