The conformational sensitivity of intrinsically disordered proteins to shifts in pH due to their high degree of charged residues has been recognized for well over a decade. However, the role of the non-ionizable residues in this pH sensitivity remains poorly understood. Our lab has been investigating the pH sensitivity of the poly-E motifs of the PEVK region of the muscle protein titin, which provides an ideal model system to explore this question. Using a series of 15-amino acid peptides derived from one of the poly-E motif sequences, we have investigated the role of side-chain chemistry in the conformational flexibility of this region. Our results demonstrate that aromatic side chains and proline content are the two variables that most influence pH sensitivity. The introduction of aromatic side chains resulted in a more collapsed structure, even at pH 7, while the removal of prolines resulted in a higher degree of pH sensitivity. These results highlight the importance of considering the impact of non-ionizable residues on IDP function, especially when considering the impact of pH on conformational flexibility.
- circular dichroism
- conformational change
- intrinsically disordered proteins
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences