The conformational change from the cellular prion protein (PrPc) to scrapie prion protein (PrPsc) is a key process in prion diseases. The prion protein has buried water molecules which significantly contribute to the stability of the protein; however, there has been no report investigating the influence on the buried hydration sites by a pathogenic mutation not adjacent to the buried hydration sites. Here, we perform molecular dynamics simulations of wild type (WT) PrPc and pathogenic point mutant T188R to investigate conformational changes and the buried hydration sites. In WT-PrPc, four buried hydration sites are identified by residence time and rotational relaxation analysis. However, there are no stable buried hydration sites in one of T188R simulations, which indicates that T188R sometimes makes the buried hydration sites fragile. We also find that fluctuations of subdomains S1-H1-S2 and H1-H2 increase in T188R when the buried hydration sites become unstable. Since the side chain of arginine which is replaced from threonine in T188R is larger than of threonine, the side chain cannot be embedded in the protein, which is one of the causes of the instability of subdomains. These results show correlations between the buried hydration sites and the mutation which is far from them, and provide a possible explanation for the instability by mutation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)