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Signaling pathways of PDZ2 domain: A molecular dynamics interaction correlation analysis

Authors

  • Yifei Kong,

    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
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    • Current address: Monsanto Company, 800 N. Lindbergh Blvd. St. Louis, Missouri 63167

  • Martin Karplus

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
    2. Laboratoire de Chimie Biophysique, Institut de Science et d' Ingenierie Supramoleculaires, Universite Louis Pasteur, 8 rue Gaspard Monge, F-67000 Strasbourg, France
    • Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Abstract

PDZ domains are found in many signaling proteins. One of their functions is to provide scaffolds for forming membrane-associated protein complexes by binding to the carboxyl termini of their partners. PDZ domains are thought also to play a signal transduction role by propagating the information that binding has occurred to remote sites. In this study, a molecular dynamics (MD) simulation-based approach, referred to as an interaction correlation analysis, is applied to the PDZ2 domain to identify the possible signal transduction pathways. A residue correlation matrix is constructed from the interaction energy correlations between all residue pairs obtained from the MD simulations. Two continuous interaction pathways, starting at the ligand binding pocket, are identified by a hierarchical clustering analysis of the residue correlation matrix. One pathway is mainly localized at the N-terminal side of helix α1 and the adjacent C-terminus of loop β1-β2. The other pathway is perpendicular to the central β-sheet and extends toward the side of PDZ2 domain opposite to the ligand binding pocket. The results complement previous studies based on multiple sequence analysis, NMR, and MD simulations. Importantly, they reveal the energetic origin of the long-range coupling. The PDZ2 results, as well as the earlier rhodopsin analysis, show that the interaction correlation analysis is a robust approach for determining pathways of intramolecular signal transduction. Proteins 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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