Experimental verification of conformational variation of human fatty acid synthase as predicted by normal mode analysis

Structure. 2004 Feb;12(2):185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2004.01.015.


Fatty acid synthase (FAS) is a 550 kDa homodimeric enzyme with multiple functional and structural domains. Normal mode analysis of a previously determined 19 A structure of FAS suggested that this enzyme might assume different conformational states with several distinct hinge movements. We have used a simultaneous multiple-model refinement method to search for the presence of the structural conformers from the electron images of FAS. We have demonstrated that the resulting models observed in the electron images are consistent with the predicted conformational changes. This technique demonstrates the potential of the combination of normal mode analysis with multiple model refinement to elucidate the multiple conformations of flexible proteins. Since each of these structures is based on a more homogeneous particle set, this technique has the potential, provided that sufficient references are used, to improve the resolution of the final reconstructions of single particles from electron cryomicroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Fatty Acid Synthases / chemistry*
  • Genetic Variation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Protein Conformation


  • Fatty Acid Synthases