Exploring the potential of a structural alphabet-based tool for mining multiple target conformations and target flexibility insight.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28817602

Regad L, Chéron JB, Triki D, Senac C, Flatters D, Camproux AC. Exploring the potential of a structural alphabet-based tool for mining multiple target conformations and target flexibility insight. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(8):e0182972.
Protein flexibility is often implied in binding with different partners and is essential for protein function. The growing number of macromolecular structures in the Protein Data Bank entries and their redundancy has become a major source of structural knowledge of the protein universe. The analysis of structural variability through available redundant structures of a target, called multiple target conformations (MTC), obtained using experimental or modeling methods and under different biological conditions or different sources is one way to explore protein flexibility. This analysis is essential to improve the understanding of various mechanisms associated with protein target function and flexibility. In this study, we explored structural variability of three biological targets by analyzing different MTC sets associated with these targets. To facilitate the study of these MTC sets, we have developed an efficient tool, SA-conf, dedicated to capturing and linking the amino acid and local structure variability and analyzing the target structural variability space. The advantage of SA-conf is that it could be applied to divers sets composed of MTCs available in the PDB obtained using NMR and crystallography or homology models. This tool could also be applied to analyze MTC sets obtained by dynamics approaches. Our results showed that SA-conf tool is effective to quantify the structural variability of a MTC set and to localize the structural variable positions and regions of the target. By selecting adapted MTC subsets and comparing their variability detected by SA-conf, we highlighted different sources of target flexibility such as induced by binding partner, by mutation and intrinsic flexibility. Our results support the interest to mine available structures associated with a target using to offer valuable insight into target flexibility and interaction mechanisms. The SA-conf executable script, with a set of pre-compiled binaries are available at http://www. mti. univ-paris-diderot. fr/recherche/plateformes/logiciels.