The effects of organic solvents on the folding pathway and associated thermodynamics of proteins: a microscopic view

Yuqi Yu, Jinan Wang, Qiang Shao, Jiye Shi, Weiliang Zhu
<span title="2016-01-18">2016</span> <i title="Springer Nature"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Scientific Reports</a> </i> &nbsp;
Protein folding is subject to the effects of solvation environment. A variety of organic solvents are used as additives for in vitro refolding of denatured proteins. Examination of the solvent effects on protein folding could be of fundamental importance to understand the molecular interactions in determining protein structure. This article investigated the folding of α-helix and β-hairpin structures in water and the solutions of two representative refolding additives (methanol (MeOH) and
more &raquo; ... l-3-methylimidazolium chloride (EMIM-Cl) ionic liquid) using REMD simulations. For both α-helix and β-hairpin in MeOH/water solution or α-helix in EMIM-Cl/water solution, the transient structures along the folding pathway are consistent with the counterparts in water but the relative statistical weights are changed, leading to the decrease in the overall folding free energy barrier. Accordingly, MeOH promotes the folding of both α-helix and β-hairpin but EMIM-Cl ionic liquid only promotes the folding of α-helix, consistent with experimental observations. The present study reveals for the first time the trivial effects on folding route but significant effects on folding thermodynamics from MeOH and EMIM-Cl, explaining the function of protein refolding additives and testifying the validity of the folding mechanism revealed by in vitro protein folding study using refolding additives.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1038/srep19500</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:26775871</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC4726029</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:mjimchlnofdwzjxhqmg2xo6bym</a> </span>
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