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The binding affinity of the human papillomavirus type 6 E2 protein is strongly mediated by the sequence of the DNA linker region, with high affinity for the AATT linker and low affinity for the CCGG linker. When two terminal leucine residues are removed from the protein, the level of binding to both strands increases, but unequally, resulting in a significant decrease in selectivity for the AATT linker strand. To rationalize this behavior, we performed molecular dynamics simulations of the wild-type and mutant protein in the apo state and bound to DNA with high-affinity AATT and low-affinity CCGG linker strands. While no stable contacts were made between the β2-β3 loop and DNA in the wild type, this loop was repositioned in the mutant complexes and formed electrostatic contacts with the DNA backbone. More contacts were formed when the mutant was bound to the CCGG linker strand than to the AATT linker strand, resulting in a more favorable change in interaction energy for the CCGG strand. In addition, significant differences in correlated motions were found, which further explained the differences in binding. The simulations suggest that β2-β3 loop motions are responsible for the increased affinity and decreased selectivity of the mutant protein.


Geoffrey M Gray, Arjan van der Vaart. Importance of β2-β3 Loop Motion for the Increased Binding and Decreased Selectivity of the ΔLL Mutant of the Human Papillomavirus Type 6 E2 Protein. Biochemistry. 2015 Aug 11;54(31):4918-26

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PMID: 26169609

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