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Role of Hydrophobic Core on the Thermal Stability of Proteins – Molecular Dynamics Simulations on a Single Point Mutant of Sso7d Abstract

The role of salt bridges in chromatin protein Sso7d, from S. solfataricus has previously been shown to be crucial for its unusual high thermal stability. Experimental studies have shown that single site mutation of Sso7d (F31A) leads to a substantial decrease in the thermal stability of this protein due to distortion of the hydrophobic core. In the present study, we have performed a total of 0.2 μs long molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on F31A at room temperature, and at 360 K, close to the melting temperature of the wild type (WT) protein to investigate the role of hydrophobic core on protein stability. Sso7d-WT was shown to be stable at both 300 and 360 K; however, F31A undergoes denaturation at 360 K, consistent with experimental results. The structural and energetic properties obtained using the analysis of MD trajectories indicate that the single mutation results in high flexibility of the protein, and loosening of intramolecular interactions. Correlation between the dynamics of the salt bridges with the structural transitions and the unfolding pathway indicate the importance of both salt bridges and hydrophobic in effecting thermal stability of proteins in general.

Key words: Thermostability; Hyperthermophilic; Protein folding; Hydrophobic interactions; Salt bridges.

This article can be cited as:
U.D. Priyakumar, Role of Hydrophobic Core on the Thermal Stability of Proteins – Molecular Dynamics Simulations on a Single Point Mutant of Sso7d J. Biomol Struct Dyn 29(5), 961-971 (2012).

U. Deva Priyakumar*

Center for Computational Natural Sciences and Bioinformatics, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad 500 032, India

*Corresponding author: Deva Priyakumar Phone: 191-40-66531161 Fax: 191-40-66531413 E-mail: deva@iiit.ac.in

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