A general framework by which dynamic interactions within a protein will promote the necessary series of structural changes, or “conformational cycle,” required for function is proposed. It is suggested that the free-energy landscape of a protein is biased toward this conformational cycle. Fluctuations into higher energy, although thermally accessible, conformations drive the conformational cycle forward. The amino acid interaction network is defined as those intraprotein interactions that contribute most to the free-energy landscape. Some network connections are consistent in every structural state, while others periodically change their interaction strength according to the conformational cycle. It is reviewed here that structural transitions change these periodic network connections, which then predisposes the protein toward the next set of network changes, and hence the next structural change. These concepts are illustrated by recent work on tryptophan synthase. Disruption of these dynamic connections may lead to aberrant protein function and disease states.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)