Dynamics-function relationship in the catalytic domains of N-terminal acetyltransferases
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal. 2020, 18, 532-547 10.1016/j.csbj.2020.02.017
N-terminal acetyltransferases (NATs) belong to the superfamily of acetyltransferases. They are enzymes catalysing the transfer of an acetyl group from acetyl coenzyme A to the N-terminus of polypeptide chains. N-terminal acetylation is one of the most common protein modifications. To date, not much is known on the molecular basis for the exclusive substrate specificity of NATs. All NATs share a common fold called GNAT. A characteristic of NATs is the β6β7 hairpin loop covering the active site and forming with the α1α2 loop a narrow tunnel surrounding the catalytic site in which cofactor and polypeptide meet and exchange an acetyl group. We investigated the dynamics-function relationships of all available structures of NATs covering the three domains of Life. Using an elastic network model and normal mode analysis, we found a common dynamics pattern conserved through the GNAT fold; a rigid V-shaped groove formed by the β4 and β5 strands and splitting the fold in two dynamical subdomains. Loops α1α2, β3β4 and β6β7 all show clear displacements in the low frequency normal modes. We characterized the mobility of the loops and show that even limited conformational changes of the loops along the low-frequency modes are able to significantly change the size and shape of the ligand binding sites. Based on the fact that these movements are present in most low-frequency modes, and common to all NATs, we suggest that the α1α2 and β6β7 loops may regulate ligand uptake and the release of the acetylated polypeptide.