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© Research
Publication : PloS one

Multiple routes and milestones in the folding of HIV-1 protease monomer

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in PloS one - 13 Oct 2010

Bonomi M, Barducci A, Gervasio FL, Parrinello M

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20967249

PLoS ONE 2010 Oct;5(10):e13208

Proteins fold on a time scale incompatible with a mechanism of random search in conformational space thus indicating that somehow they are guided to the native state through a funneled energetic landscape. At the same time the heterogeneous kinetics suggests the existence of several different folding routes. Here we propose a scenario for the folding mechanism of the monomer of HIV-1 protease in which multiple pathways and milestone events coexist. A variety of computational approaches supports this picture. These include very long all-atom molecular dynamics simulations in explicit solvent, an analysis of the network of clusters found in multiple high-temperature unfolding simulations and a complete characterization of free-energy surfaces carried out using a structure-based potential at atomistic resolution and a combination of metadynamics and parallel tempering. Our results confirm that the monomer in solution is stable toward unfolding and show that at least two unfolding pathways exist. In our scenario, the formation of a hydrophobic core is a milestone in the folding process which must occur along all the routes that lead this protein towards its native state. Furthermore, the ensemble of folding pathways proposed here substantiates a rational drug design strategy based on inhibiting the folding of HIV-1 protease.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20967249