Understanding of the driving forces of protein folding is a complex challenge because different types of interactions play a varying role. To investigate the role of hydrogen bonding involving the backbone, the effect of thio substitutions in a protein, hen egg white lysozyme (HEWL), was investigated through molecular dynamics simulations of native as well as partly (only residues in loops) and fully thionated HEWL using the GROMOS 54A7 force field. The results of the three simulations show that the structural properties of fully thionated HEWL clearly differ from those of the native protein, while for partly thionated HEWL they only changed slightly compared with native HEWL. The analysis of the torsional-angle distributions and hydrogen bonds in the backbone suggests that the α-helical segments of native HEWL tend to show a propensity to convert to 3(10)-helical geometry in fully thionated HEWL. A comparison of the simulated quantities with experimental NMR data such as nuclear overhauser effect (NOE) atom-atom distance bounds and (3)J((H)(N)(H)(α))-couplings measured for native HEWL illustrates that the information content of these quantities with respect to the structural changes induced by thionation of the protein backbone is rather limited.
Copyright © 2012 The Protein Society.