Table_1_pH-Induced Local Unfolding of the Phl p 6 Pollen Allergen From cpH-MD.DOCX (2.21 MB)
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Table_1_pH-Induced Local Unfolding of the Phl p 6 Pollen Allergen From cpH-MD.DOCX

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posted on 12.01.2021, 05:40 by Florian Hofer, Anna S. Kamenik, Monica L. Fernández-Quintero, Johannes Kraml, Klaus R. Liedl

Susceptibility to endosomal degradation is a decisive contribution to a protein's immunogenicity. It is assumed that the processing kinetics of structured proteins are inherently linked to their probability of local unfolding. In this study, we quantify the impact of endosomal acidification on the conformational stability of the major timothy grass pollen allergen Phl p 6. We use state of the art sampling approaches in combination with constant pH MD techniques to profile pH-dependent local unfolding events in atomistic detail. Integrating our findings into the current view on type 1 allergic sensitization, we characterize local protein dynamics in the context of proteolytic degradation at neutral and acidic pH for the wild type protein and point mutants with varying proteolytic stability. We analyze extensive simulation data using Markov state models and retrieve highly reliable thermodynamic and kinetic information at varying pH levels. Thereby we capture the impact of endolysosomal acidification on the structure and dynamics of the Phl p 6 mutants. We find that upon protonation at lower pH values, the conformational flexibilities in key areas of the wild type protein, i.e., T-cell epitopes and early proteolytic cleavage sites, increase significantly. A decrease of the pH even leads to local unfolding in otherwise stable secondary structure elements, which is a prerequisite for proteolytic cleavage. This effect is even more pronounced in the destabilized mutant, while no unfolding was observed for the stabilized mutant. In summary, we report detailed structural models which rationalize the experimentally observed cleavage pattern during endosomal acidification.

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