Entropic Stabilization of Proteins and Its Proteomic Consequences
Berezovsky, Igor N.
Chen, William W.
Choi, Paul J.
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CitationBerezovsky Igor N., William W. Chen, Paul J. Choi, Eugene I. Shakhnovich. 2005. Entropic stabilization of proteins and its proteomic consequences. PLoS Computational Biology 1(4): e47. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0010047
AbstractEvolutionary traces of thermophilic adaptation are manifest, on the whole-genome level, in compositional biases toward certain types of amino acids. However, it is sometimes difficult to discern their causes without a clear understanding of underlying physical mechanisms of thermal stabilization of proteins. For example, it is well-known
that hyperthermophiles feature a greater proportion of charged residues, but, surprisingly, the excess of positively charged residues is almost entirely due to lysines but not arginines in the majority of hyperthermophilic genomes. All-atom simulations show that lysines have a much greater number of accessible rotamers than arginines of similar degree of burial in folded states of proteins. This finding suggests that lysines would preferentially entropically stabilize the native state. Indeed, we show in computational experiments that arginine-to-lysine amino acid substitutions result in noticeable stabilization of proteins. We then hypothesize that if evolution uses this physical mechanism as a complement to electrostatic stabilization in its strategies of thermophilic adaptation, then
hyperthermostable organisms would have much greater content of lysines in their proteomes than comparably sized and similarly charged arginines. Consistent with that, high-throughput comparative analysis of complete proteomes shows extremely strong bias toward arginine-to-lysine replacement in hyperthermophilic organisms and overall much greater content of lysines than arginines in hyperthermophiles. This finding cannot be explained by genomic GC compositional biases or by the universal trend of amino acid gain and loss in protein evolution. We discovered here a novel entropic mechanism of protein thermostability due to residual dynamics of rotamer isomerization in native state
and demonstrated its immediate proteomic implications. Our study provides an example of how analysis of a fundamental physical mechanism of thermostability helps to resolve a puzzle in comparative genomics as to why amino acid compositions of hyperthermophilic proteomes are significantly biased toward lysines but not similarly charged arginines.
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