Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ( IF 9.412 ) Pub Date : 2020-07-31 , DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1914349117 Takuya Mizukami,Shunta Furuzawa,Satoru G Itoh,Saho Segawa,Teikichi Ikura,Kunio Ihara,Hisashi Okumura,Heinrich Roder,Kosuke Maki
Protein conformational changes associated with ligand binding, especially those involving intrinsically disordered proteins, are mediated by tightly coupled intra- and intermolecular events. Such reactions are often discussed in terms of two limiting kinetic mechanisms, conformational selection (CS), where folding precedes binding, and induced fit (IF), where binding precedes folding. It has been shown that coupled folding/binding reactions can proceed along both CS and IF pathways with the flux ratio depending on conditions such as ligand concentration. However, the structural and energetic basis of such complex reactions remains poorly understood. Therefore, we used experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to explore structural and energetic aspects of the coupled-folding/binding reaction of staphylococcal nuclease in the presence of the substrate analog adenosine-3′,5′-diphosphate. Optically monitored equilibrium and kinetic data, combined with a statistical mechanical model, gave deeper insight into the relative importance of specific and Coulombic protein–ligand interactions in governing the reaction mechanism. We also investigated structural aspects of the reaction at the residue level using NMR and all-atom replica-permutation molecular dynamics simulations. Both approaches yielded clear evidence for accumulation of a transient protein–ligand encounter complex early in the reaction under IF-dominant conditions. Quantitative analysis of the equilibrium/kinetic folding revealed that the ligand-dependent CS-to-IF shift resulted from stabilization of the compact transition state primarily by weakly ligand-dependent Coulombic interactions with smaller contributions from specific binding energies. At a more macroscopic level, the CS-to-IF shift was represented as a displacement of the reaction “route” on the free energy surface, which was consistent with a flux analysis.