A complete description of the pathways and mechanisms of protein folding requires a detailed structural and energetic characterization of the folding energy landscape. Simulations, when corroborated by experimental data yielding global information on the folding process, can provide this level of insight. Molecular dynamics (MD) has often been combined with force spectroscopy experiments to decipher the unfolding mechanism of titin immunoglobulin-like single or multidomain, the giant multimodular protein from sarcomeres, yielding information on the sequential events during titin unfolding under stretching. Here, we used high-pressure NMR to monitor the unfolding of titin I27 Ig-like single domain and tandem. Because this method brings residue-specific information on the folding process, it can provide quasiatomic details on this process without the help of MD simulations. Globally, the results of our high-pressure analysis are in agreement with previous results obtained by the combination of experimental measurements and MD simulation and/or protein engineering, although the intermediate folding state caused by the early detachment of the AB β-sheet, often reported in previous works based on MD or force spectroscopy, cannot be detected. On the other hand, the A'G parallel β-sheet of the β-sandwich has been confirmed as the Achilles heel of the three-dimensional scaffold: its disruption yields complete unfolding with very similar characteristics (free energy, unfolding volume, kinetics rate constants) for the two constructs.
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