Apr 15, 2020

Expanding the space of protein geometries by computational design of de novo fold families

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
X. PanTanja Kortemme


Naturally occurring proteins use a limited set of fold topologies, but vary the precise geometries of structural elements to create distinct shapes optimal for function. Here we present a computational design method termed LUCS that mimics nature's ability to create families of proteins with the same overall fold but precisely tunable geometries. Through near-exhaustive sampling of loop-helix-loop elements, LUCS generates highly diverse geometries encompassing those found in nature but also surpassing known structure space. Biophysical characterization shows that 17 (38%) out of 45 tested LUCS designs were well folded, including 16 with designed non-native geometries. Four experimentally solved structures closely match the designs. LUCS greatly expands the designable structure space and provides a new paradigm for designing proteins with tunable geometries customizable for novel functions.

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