Electrostatic effects in proteins govern many essential biological processes, including enzymatic catalysis, bioenergetics, and all other processes that involve H+ transport and e- transfer. To understand the structural basis of function in the proteins that perform these essential biochemical reactions, it is necessary to understand the relationship between structure and the electrostatic properties of proteins.
The specific aims of this proposal describe experimental studies to examine fundamental aspects of protein electrostatics. The studies are focused on the properties of internal ionizable groups because those are the ones that are essential for function and those are the ones whose properties are not understood. Charges are not as compatible with the hydrophobic environment in the protein interior as they are in water. For this reason the properties of internal groups are unusual;their pKa values are highly anomalous, shifted in the direction that promotes the neutral state (elevated pKa values for acidic residues and depressed ones for basic residues). The longterm goal of this project is to understand the molecular factors that determine the pKa values of internal ionizable groups in proteins. This requires understanding all the factors that stabilize charge inside a protein, and the effects of charge on the structure and dynamics of proteins. These studies are only possible because we have developed previously a library of 100 variants of staphylococcal nuclease with internal Lys, Asp, Glu and Arg at 25 internal locations. We have already measured the pKa values of these groups. These pKa values were already used to expose deep flaws in computational models for structure-based calculation of electrostatic effects in proteins. X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and equilibrium thermodynamics will now be used to determine how the structure and dynamics of proteins are affected by the ionization of internal groups. The properties of internal ion pairs will be studied. Contributions from interactions between charges and permanent dipoles and internal water molecules on the pKa values of these internal groups will be measured. These experiments examine fundamental aspects of protein electrostatics that have never been studied and which could not have been studied until this family of proteins was engineered. The results of these experiments are necessary to describe dielectric relaxation in proteins. They will be used for blind challenges to raise awareness of fundamental flaws with methods for structure-based energy calculations. These experiments will contribute the physical insight necessary to guide the development of new computational methods, and contribute the data needed for stringent benchmarking of existing methods.

Public Health Relevance

These experiments will contribute insight into fundamental electrostatic properties of proteins that are essential for their function. These studies will contribute physical insight necessary for the development of improved computational methods for structure-based energy calculations, which are essential for drug design and engineering of novel proteins.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01GM061597-10
Application #
8450687
Study Section
Macromolecular Structure and Function D Study Section (MSFD)
Program Officer
Flicker, Paula F
Project Start
2001-03-01
Project End
2016-03-31
Budget Start
2013-04-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
10
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$387,403
Indirect Cost
$143,260
Name
Johns Hopkins University
Department
Physiology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
001910777
City
Baltimore
State
MD
Country
United States
Zip Code
21218
Fitch, Carolyn A; Platzer, Gerald; Okon, Mark et al. (2015) Arginine: Its pKa value revisited. Protein Sci 24:752-61
Richman, Daniel E; Majumdar, Ananya; García-Moreno E, Bertrand (2015) Conformational Reorganization Coupled to the Ionization of Internal Lys Residues in Proteins. Biochemistry 54:5888-97
Kukic, Predrag; Farrell, Damien; McIntosh, Lawrence P et al. (2013) Protein dielectric constants determined from NMR chemical shift perturbations. J Am Chem Soc 135:16968-76
Chimenti, Michael S; Khangulov, Victor S; Robinson, Aaron C et al. (2012) Structural reorganization triggered by charging of Lys residues in the hydrophobic interior of a protein. Structure 20:1071-85
Kitahara, Ryo; Hata, Kazumi; Maeno, Akihiro et al. (2011) Structural plasticity of staphylococcal nuclease probed by perturbation with pressure and pH. Proteins 79:1293-305
Harms, Michael J; Schlessman, Jamie L; Sue, Gloria R et al. (2011) Arginine residues at internal positions in a protein are always charged. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:18954-9
Chimenti, Michael S; Castaneda, Carlos A; Majumdar, Ananya et al. (2011) Structural origins of high apparent dielectric constants experienced by ionizable groups in the hydrophobic core of a protein. J Mol Biol 405:361-77
Nielsen, Jens E; Gunner, M R; García-Moreno, Bertrand E (2011) The pKa Cooperative: a collaborative effort to advance structure-based calculations of pKa values and electrostatic effects in proteins. Proteins 79:3249-59
Isom, Daniel G; Castaneda, Carlos A; Cannon, Brian R et al. (2011) Large shifts in pKa values of lysine residues buried inside a protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:5260-5
Karp, Daniel A; Stahley, Mary R; Garcia-Moreno, Bertrand (2010) Conformational consequences of ionization of Lys, Asp, and Glu buried at position 66 in staphylococcal nuclease. Biochemistry 49:4138-46

Showing the most recent 10 out of 25 publications