Collective motions in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase: examination of flexibility and enzyme function

Bahar, Ivet and Erman, Burak and Jernigan, Robert L. and Atılgan, Ali Rana and Covell, David G. (1999) Collective motions in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase: examination of flexibility and enzyme function. Journal of Molecular Biology, 285 (3). pp. 1023-1037. ISSN 0022-2836

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In order to study the inferences of structure for mechanism, the collective motions of the retroviral reverse transcriptase HIV-1 RT (RT) are examined using the Gaussian network model (GNM) of proteins. This model is particularly suitable for elucidating the global dynamic characteristics of large proteins such as the presently investigated heterodimeric RT comprising a total of 982 residues. Local packing density and coordination order of amino acid residues is inspected by the GNM to determine the type and range of motions, both at the residue level and on a global scale, such as the correlated movements of entire subdomains. Of the two subunits, p66 and p51, forming the RT, only p66 has a DNA-binding cleft and a functional polymerase active site. This difference in the structure of the two subunits is shown here to be reflected in their dynamic characteristics: only p66 has the potential to undergo large-scale cooperative motions in the heterodimer, while p51 is essentially rigid. Taken together, the global motion of the RT heterodimer is comprised of movements of the p66 thumb subdomain perpendicular to those of the p66 fingers, accompanied by anticorrelated fluctuations of the RNase H domain and p51 thumb, thus providing information about the details of one processivity mechanism. A few clusters of residues, generally distant in sequence but close in space, are identified in the p66 palm and connection subdomains, which form the hinge-bending regions that control the highly concerted motion of the subdomains. These regions include the catalytically active site and the non-nucleoside inhibitor binding pocket of p66 polymerase, as well as sites whose mutations have been shown to impair enzyme activity. It is easily conceivable that this hinge region, indicated by GNM analysis to play a critical role in modulating the global motion, is locked into an inactive conformation upon binding of an inhibitor. Comparative analysis of the dynamic characteristics of the unliganded and liganded dimers indicates severe repression of the mobility of the p66 thumb in RT's global mode, upon binding of non-nucleoside inhibitors.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: reverse transcriptase; flexibility; enzyme function; mutations
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH506 Molecular biology
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Depositing User: Burak Erman
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2010 12:51
Last Modified: 25 May 2011 14:01

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