A minimalist Go-model, with no energetic frustration in the native conformation, has been shown to describe accurately the folding pathway of the beta-trefoil protein, interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). While it appears that these models successfully model transition states and intermediates between the unfolded and native ensembles, it is unclear how accurately they capture smaller, yet biologically relevant, structural changes within the native ensemble after energetic perturbation. Here, we address the following questions. Can a simple Go-model of interleukin-1beta, based on native topology, describe changes in structural properties of the native ensemble as the protein stability is changed? Or is it necessary to include a more explicit representation of atoms, electrostatic, hydrogen bonding, and van der Waals forces to describe these changes? The native ensemble of IL-1beta was characterized using a variety of experimental probes under native (0 M NaCl, guanidine hydrochloride (Gdn-HCl)), moderately destabilized (0 M NaCl, 0.8 M Gdn-HCl), and in moderate salt concentration (0.8 M NaCl, 0 M Gdn-HCl). Heteronuclear (1)H-(15)N nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy (NOESY) and heteronuclear single quantum correlation (HSQC) NMR spectra confirmed that the beta-trefoil global fold was largely intact under these three conditions. However, 25 of the 153 residues throughout the chain did demonstrate (13)C and (1)H-(15)N chemical shifts when perturbed with 0.8 M NaCl or Gdn-HCl. Despite large differences in protection factors from solvent hydrogen-deuterium exchange for all residues between stable (0 M Gdn-HCl) and destabilized (0.8 M Gdn-HCl) IL-1beta, no difference in steady-state (15)N-(1)H NOE enhancements were measured. Thus, the chemical shifts correlate with a global but limited increase in residue flexibility in the presence of Gdn-HCl. Minimalist simulations highlight the regions of greatest position shift between native and 0.8 M Gdn-HCl, which were determined experimentally. This correlation demonstrates that structural changes within the native ensemble of IL-1beta are, at least partially, governed by the principle of minimal energetic frustration.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_finke/24/