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Configurational entropy modulates the mechanical stability of protein GB1

TitleConfigurational entropy modulates the mechanical stability of protein GB1
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsLi, HB, Wang, HC, Cao, Y, Sharma, D, Wang, M
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume379
Pagination871-880
Date PublishedJun
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-2836
Keywordsconfigurational entropy, DISULFIDE BONDS, FORCE, FORCE SPECTROSCOPY, FRAGMENT RECONSTITUTION, IMMUNOGLOBULIN BINDING DOMAIN, length, LOOP, MECHANICAL STABILITY, mechanical unfolding, MODULES, resistance, single molecule atomic force microscopy, SINGLE PROTEIN, SPECTROSCOPY, TITIN, TRANSITION-STATE
Abstract

Configurational entropy plays important roles in defining the thermodynamic stability as well as the folding/unfolding kinetics of proteins. Here we combine single-molecule atomic force microscopy and protein engineering techniques to directly examine the role of configurational entropy in the mechanical unfolding kinetics and mechanical stability of proteins. We used a small protein, GB1, as a model system and constructed four mutants that elongate loop 2 of GB1 by 2, 5, 24 and 46 flexible residues, respectively. These loop elongation mutants fold properly as determined by far-UV circular dichroism spectroscopy, suggesting that loop 2 is well tolerant of loop insertions without affecting GB1’s native structure. Our single-molecule atomic force microscopy results reveal that loop elongation decreases the mechanical stability of GB1 and accelerates the mechanical unfolding kinetics. These results can be explained by the loss of configurational entropy upon closing an unstructured flexible loop using classical polymer theory, highlighting the important role of loop regions in the mechanical unfolding of proteins. This study not only demonstrates a general approach to investigating the structural deformation of the loop regions in mechanical unfolding transition state, but also provides the foundation to use configurational entropy as an effective means to modulate the mechanical stability of proteins, which is of critical importance towards engineering artificial elastomeric proteins with tailored nanomechanical properties. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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