PDZ domains are protein-protein interaction modules sharing the same structural arrangement. To discern whether they display common features in their unfolding/misfolding behaviour we have analyzed in this work the unfolding thermodynamics, together with the misfolding kinetics, of the PDZ fold using three archetypical examples: the second and third PDZ domains of the PSD95 protein and the Erbin PDZ domain. Results showed that all domains passed through a common intermediate, which populated upon unfolding, and that this in turn drove the misfolding towards worm-like fibrillar structures. Thus, the unfolding/misfolding behaviour appears to be shared within these domains. We have also analyzed how this landscape can be modified upon the inclusion of extra-elements, as it is in the nNOS PDZ domain, or the organization of swapped species, as happens in the second PDZ domain of the ZO2 protein. Although the intermediates still formed upon thermal unfolding, the misfolding was prevented to varying degrees.
|Publication status||Published - 12 Jan 2016|