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Maintaining and breaking symmetry in homomeric coiled-coil assemblies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number4132
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Aug 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Dec 2018

Abstract

In coiled-coil (CC) protein structures α-helices wrap around one another to form rope-like assemblies. Most natural and designed CCs have two–four helices and cyclic (Cn) or dihedral (Dn) symmetry. Increasingly, CCs with five or more helices are being reported. A subset of these higher-order CCs is of interest as they have accessible central channels that can be functionalised; they are α-helical barrels. These extended cavities are surprising given the drive to maximise buried hydrophobic surfaces during protein folding and assembly in water. Here, we show that α-helical barrels can be maintained by the strategic placement of β-branched aliphatic residues lining the lumen. Otherwise, the structures collapse or adjust to give more-complex multi-helix assemblies without Cn or Dn symmetry. Nonetheless, the structural hallmark of CCs—namely, knobs-into-holes packing of side chains between helices—is maintained leading to classes of CCs hitherto unobserved in nature or accessed by design.

    Research areas

  • synthetic biology

    Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer Nature at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06391-y . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 3 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer Nature at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06391-y . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 20 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY

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