Transient helicity in intrinsically disordered Axin-1 studied by NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations

Rainer Bomblies, Manuel Patrick Luitz, Sandra Scanu, Tobias Madl, Martin Zacharias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many natural proteins are, as a whole or in part, intrinsically disordered. Frequently, such intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) undergo a transition to a defined and often helical conformation upon binding to partner molecules. The intrinsic propensity of an IDR sequence to fold into a helical conformation already in the absence of a binding partner can have a decisive influence on the binding process and affinity. Using a combination of NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations we have investigated the tendency of regions of Axin-1, an intrinsically disordered scaffolding protein of the WNT signaling pathway, to form helices in segments interacting with binding partners. Secondary chemical shifts from NMR measurements show an increased helical population in these regions. Systematic application of MD advanced sampling approaches on peptide segments of Axin-1 reproduces the experimentally observed tendency and allows insights into the distribution of segment conformations and free energies of helix formation. The results, however, were found to dependent on the force field water model. Recent water models specifically designed for IDRs significantly reduce the predicted helical content and do not improve the agreement with experiment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0174337
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

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