Automatic analysis of protein conformational changes by multiple linkage clustering.

TitleAutomatic analysis of protein conformational changes by multiple linkage clustering.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsBoutonnet, N. S., Rooman M. J., and Wodak S. J.
JournalJ Mol Biol
Date Published1995 Nov 3
KeywordsAlgorithms, Citrate (si)-Synthase, Glucosyltransferases, L-Lactate Dehydrogenase, Lactoferrin, Models, Molecular, Protein Conformation, Proteins

An automatic algorithm is presented for analyzing protein conformational changes such as those occurring upon substrate binding or in different crystal forms of the same protein. Using, as sole information, the atomic coordinates of a pair of protein structures, the procedure first generates structure alignments, which optimize the root-mean-square deviation of the backbone atoms. To this end, equivalent secondary structures and/or loops from both proteins are combined by a multiple linkage hierarchic clustering algorithm, which generates several intertwined clustering trees. Automatic analysis of these clustering trees is used to dissect the mechanism of the conformational change. It allows the identification of the static core, representing the collection of secondary structures which undergo no structural changes, as well as other entities which move like rigid bodies. It also permits the description of the movement of secondary structures or loops relative to this core or entities. USing this information, it can be inferred whether a particular conformational change involves shear or hinge motion, or components of both. The algorithm is applied to the analysis of the conformational changes of citrate synthase, lactate dehydrogenase, lactoferrin and beta-glucosyltransferase, representing typical examples of shear- and hinge-type mechanisms, and a varied range in movement size. The results are shown to be in excellent agreement with previous analyses, and to provide additional information which gives a more complete and objective picture of the conformational change. Using our automatic algorithm, we find that any conformational change may be viewed as having components of both shear- and hinge-type motion. Determining which of these is most appropriate requires the combination of the information provided by our procedure with detailed knowledge of the protein tertiary structures.

Alternate JournalJ. Mol. Biol.
PubMed ID7473739