Allostery is a property of biological macromolecules featuring cooperative ligand binding and regulation of ligand affinity by effectors. The definition was introduced by Monod and Jacob in 1963, and formally developed as the "concerted model" by Monod, Wyman, and Changeux in 1965. Since its inception, this model of cooperativity was seen as distinct from and not reducible to the "sequential model" originally formulated by Pauling in 1935, which was developed further by Koshland, Nemethy, and Filmer in 1966. However, it is difficult to decide which model is more appropriate from equilibrium or kinetics measurements alone. In this paper, we examine several cooperative proteins whose functional behavior, whether sequential or concerted, is established, and offer a combined approach based on functional and structural analysis. We find that isologous, mostly helical interfaces are common in cooperative proteins regardless of their mechanism. On the other hand, the relative contribution of tertiary and quaternary structural changes, as well as the asymmetry in the liganded state, may help distinguish between the two mechanisms.
Keywords: KNF model; MWC model; allostery; heterotropic regulation.