• PGIP;
  • leucine-rich repeat (LRR);
  • mutation;
  • molecular dynamics (MD) simulation;
  • defense;
  • innate immunity


Polygalacturonase inhibiting proteins (PGIPs) are leucine-rich repeat (LRR) proteins from plants that are organized into multigene families. They act as specific inhibitors against Polygalacturonases (PGs) from phytopathogens and share high sequence identity within species. We performed in silico mutation (Q224K and V152G) in PGIP2 from Phaseolus vulgaris to corresponding residues of another member, PGIP1. This mutation is known to cause 100% loss of inhibition against the PG of fungus Fusarium phyllophilum (Fp). A comparative analysis between PGIP2 and the double mutant, using 50 ns molecular dynamics simulations explored structural difference affecting PG binding properties. Simulations revealed that the mutation at 224, strains this residue which acts as a lock for the PGIP-PG complex through main chain H-bond. Changes in secondary structural elements and strain in the bend region along the convex face of the solenoidal protein affected the flexibility of the mutant protein. At the concave interacting face of the mutant, subtle changes in the sidechain behavior of the PG-binding residues occurred in a concerted manner revealing flipping of aromatic rings to be crucial to avoid steric clash with FpPG in PGIP2. Docking PGIP2 and the mutant protein individually to FpPG illustrated the inability of the latter to inhibit FpPG leaving its active site free. Our study demonstrates that the effect of mutation affects the flexibility of the protein along the convex face, while binding specificity is altered through the concave face imparting minimal change in the typical structure supported by the LRRs. Proteins 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.