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Soft disorder modulates the assembly path of protein complexes.

TitleSoft disorder modulates the assembly path of protein complexes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSeoane, B, Carbone, A*
JournalPLoS Comput Biol
Date Published2022 Nov
KeywordsCrystallography, X-Ray, Databases, Protein, Entropy, Mental Processes

The relationship between interactions, flexibility and disorder in proteins has been explored from many angles over the years: folding upon binding, flexibility of the core relative to the periphery, entropy changes, etc. In this work, we provide statistical evidence for the involvement of highly mobile and disordered regions in complex assembly. We ordered the entire set of X-ray crystallographic structures in the Protein Data Bank into hierarchies of progressive interactions involving identical or very similar protein chains, yielding 40205 hierarchies of protein complexes with increasing numbers of partners. We then examine them as proxies for the assembly pathways. Using this database, we show that upon oligomerisation, the new interfaces tend to be observed at residues that were characterised as softly disordered (flexible, amorphous or missing residues) in the complexes preceding them in the hierarchy. We also rule out the possibility that this correlation is just a surface effect by restricting the analysis to residues on the surface of the complexes. Interestingly, we find that the location of soft disordered residues in the sequence changes as the number of partners increases. Our results show that there is a general mechanism for protein assembly that involves soft disorder and modulates the way protein complexes are assembled. This work highlights the difficulty of predicting the structure of large protein complexes from sequence and emphasises the importance of linking predictors of soft disorder to the next generation of predictors of complex structure. Finally, we investigate the relationship between the Alphafold2's confidence metric pLDDT for structure prediction in unbound versus bound structures, and soft disorder. We show a strong correlation between Alphafold2 low confidence residues and the union of all regions of soft disorder observed in the hierarchy. This paves the way for using the pLDDT metric as a proxy for predicting interfaces and assembly paths.

Alternate JournalPLoS Comput Biol
PubMed ID36395332
PubMed Central IDPMC9714922

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