Conformational dynamics of bacterial trigger factor in apo and ribosome-bound states

Can M. T., Kurkcuoglu Z., Ezeroglu G., Uyar A., Kurkcuoglu O., Doruker P.

PLOS ONE, vol.12, no.4, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176262
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The chaperone trigger factor (TF) binds to the ribosome exit tunnel and helps cotranslational folding of nascent chains (NC) in bacterial cells and chloroplasts. In this study, we aim to investigate the functional dynamics of fully-atomistic apo TF and its complex with 50S. As TF accomodates a high percentage of charged residues on its surface, the effect of ionic strength on TF dynamics is assessed here by performing five independent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations (total of 1.3 micro-second duration) at 29 mM and 150 mM ionic strengths. At both concentrations, TF exhibits high inter-and intra-domain flexibility related to its binding (BD), core (CD), and head (HD) domains. Even though large oscillations in gyration radius exist during each run, we do not detect the so-called 'fully collapsed' state with both HD and BD collapsed upon the core. In fact, the extended conformers with relatively open HD and BD are highly populated at the physiological concentration of 150 mM. More importantly, extended TF snapshots stand out in terms of favorable docking onto the 50S subunit. Elastic network modeling (ENM) indicates significant changes in TF's functional dynamics and domain decomposition depending on its conformation and positioning on the 50S. The most dominant slow motions are the lateral sweeping and vertical opening/ closing of HD relative to 50S. Finally, our ENM-based efficient technique -ClustENM-is used to sample atomistic conformers starting with an extended TF-50S complex. Specifically, BD and CD motions are restricted near the tunnel exit, while HD is highly mobile. The atomistic conformers generated without an NC are in agreement with the cryo-EM maps available for TF-ribosome-NC complex.