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Symmetry, Rigidity, and Allosteric Signaling: From Monomeric Proteins to Molecular Machines

Thirumalai, D., Hyeon, Changbong, Zhuravlev, Pavel I., Lorimer, George H.
Chemical reviews 2019 v.119 no.12 pp. 6788-6821
G-protein coupled receptors, chaperonins, hemoglobin, kinesin, ligands, models, surveys
Allosteric signaling in biological molecules, which may be viewed as specific action at a distance due to localized perturbation upon binding of ligands or changes in environmental cues, is pervasive in biology. Insightful phenomenological Monod, Wyman, and Changeux (MWC) and Koshland, Nemethy, and Filmer (KNF) models galvanized research in describing allosteric transitions for over five decades, and these models continue to be the basis for describing the mechanisms of allostery in a bewildering array of systems. However, understanding allosteric signaling and the associated dynamics between distinct allosteric states at the molecular level is challenging and requires novel experiments complemented by computational studies. In this review, we first describe symmetry and rigidity as essential requirements for allosteric proteins or multisubunit structures. The general features, with MWC and KNF as two extreme scenarios, emerge when allosteric signaling is viewed from an energy landscape perspective. To go beyond the general theories, we describe computational tools that are either based solely on multiple sequences or their structures to predict the allostery wiring diagram. These methods could be used to predict the network of residues that carry allosteric signals. Methods to obtain molecular insights into the dynamics of allosteric transitions are briefly mentioned. The utility of the methods is illustrated by applications to systems ranging from monomeric proteins in which there is little conformational change in the transition between two allosteric states to membrane bound G-protein coupled receptors and multisubunit proteins. Finally, the role allostery plays in the functions of ATP-consuming molecular machines, bacterial chaperonin GroEL and molecular motors, is described. Although universal molecular principles governing allosteric signaling do not exist, we can draw the following general conclusions from a survey of different systems. (1) Multiple pathways connecting allosteric states are highly heterogeneous. (2) Allosteric signaling is exquisitely sensitive to the specific architecture of the system, which implies that the capacity for allostery is encoded in the structure itself. (3) The mechanical modes that connect distinct allosteric states are robust to sequence variations. (4) Extensive investigations of allostery in Hemoglobin and, more recently GroEL, show that to a large extent a network of salt bridge rearrangements serves as allosteric switches. In both these examples the dynamical changes in the allosteric switches are related to function.