Andrzej Kolinski Research Group

Coarse-grained protein modeling

Modeling Software & Servers

Biomolecules — dynamics & interactions


Folding simulations and computer redesign of protein A three-helix bundle motifs


Proteins, 25:286–299, 1996


In solution, the B domain of protein A from Staphylococcus aureus (B domain) possesses a three-helix bundle structure. This simple motif has been previously reproduced by Kolinski and Skolnick (Proteins 18: 353-366, 1994) using a reduced representation lattice model of proteins with a statistical interaction scheme. In this paper, an improved version of the potential has been used, and the robustness of this result has been tested by folding from the random state a set of three-helix bundle proteins that are highly homologous to the B domain of protein A. Furthermore, an attempt to redesign the B domain native structure to its topological mirror image fold has been made by multiple mutations of the hydrophobic core and the turn region between helices I and II. A sieve method for scanning a large set of mutations to search for this desired property has been proposed. It has been shown that mutations of native B domain hydrophobic core do not introduce significant changes in the protein motif. Mutations in the turn region were also very conservative; nevertheless, a few mutants acquired the desired topological mirror image motif. A set of all atom models of the most probable mutant was reconstructed from the reduced models and refined using a molecular dynamics algorithm in the presence of water. The packing of all atom structures obtained corroborates the lattice model results. We conclude that the change in the handedness of the turn induced by the mutations, augmented by the repacking of hydrophobic core and the additional burial of the second helix N-cap side chain, are responsible for the predicted preferential adoption of the mirror image structure.