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Publication Detail
Impact of Mutations on NPAC Structural Dynamics: Mechanistic Insights from MD Simulations
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Montefiori M, Pilotto S, Marabelli C, Moroni E, Ferraro M, Serapian SA, Mattevi A, Colombo G
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
© 2019 American Chemical Society. NPAC is a cytokine-like nuclear factor involved in chromatin modification and regulation of gene expression. In humans, the C-terminal domain of NPAC has the conserved structure of the β-hydroxyacid dehydrogenases (β-HAD) protein superfamily, which forms a stable tetrameric core scaffold for demethylase enzymes and organizes multiple sites for chromatin interactions. In spite of the close structural resemblance to other β-HAD family members, the human NPAC dehydrogenase domain lacks a highly conserved catalytic lysine, substituted by a methionine. The reintroduction of the catalytic lysine by M437 K mutation results in a significant decrease of stability of the tetramer. Here, we have computationally investigated the molecular determinants of the functional differences between methionine and lysine-containing NPAC proteins. We find that the single mutation can determine strong consequences in terms of dynamics, stability, and ultimately ability to assemble in supramolecular complexes: the higher stability and lower flexibility of the methionine variant structurally preorganizes the monomer for tetramerization, whereas lysine increases flexibility and favors conformations that, while catalytically active, are not optimal for tetrameric assembly. We combine structure-dynamics analysis to an evolutionary study of NPAC sequences, showing that the methionine mutation occurs in a specifically flexible region of the lysine-containing protein, flanked by two domains that concentrate most of the stabilizing interactions. In our model, such separation of stability nuclei and flexible regions appears to favor the functional innovability of the protein.
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