Hawkins, R.J. and McLeish, T.C.B. (2006) Dynamic allostery of protein alpha helical coiled-coils. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 3 (6). pp. 125-138. ISSN 1742-5662
Alpha helical coiled-coils appear in many important allosteric proteins such as the dynein molecular motor and bacteria chemotaxis transmembrane receptors. As a mechanism for transmitting the information of ligand binding to a distant site across an allosteric protein, an alternative to conformational change in the mean static structure is an induced change in the pattern of the internal dynamics of the protein. We explore how ligand binding may change the intramolecular vibrational free energy of a coiled-coil, using parameterized coarse-grained models, treating the case of dynein in detail. The models predict that coupling of slide, bend and twist modes of the coiled-coil transmits an allosteric free energy of similar to 2k(B)T, consistent with experimental results. A further prediction is a quantitative increase in the effective stiffness of the coiled-coil without any change in inherent flexibility of the individual helices. The model provides a possible and experimentally testable mechanism for transmission of information through the alpha helical coiled-coil of dynein.