Conservation of Complex Knotting and Slipknotting Patterns in Proteins

When: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Joanna I. Sulkowska
Organization: University of Warsaw & Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, University of California San Diego
Sponsor: Special Physics Seminar

While analyzing all available protein structures for the presence of knots and slipknots
we detected a strict conservation of complex knotting patterns within and between several
protein families despite their large sequence divergence [1]. Since protein folding
pathways leading to knotted native protein structures are slower and less efficient than
those leading to unknotted proteins with similar size and sequence, the strict conservation
of the knotting pattern indicates an important physiological role of knots and slipknots in
these proteins. Although little is known about the functional role of knots, recent studies
have demonstrated a protein-stabilizing ability of knots and slipknots. Some of the
conserved knotting patterns occur in proteins forming transmembrane channels where the
slipknot loop seems to strap together the transmembrane helices forming the channel.
1. Conservation of complex knotting and slipknotting patterns in proteins,
J.I. Sulkowska, E. J. Rawdon , K. C. Millett, J. N. Onuchic and A. Stasiak (2012) PNAS
109(26):E1715-23.

Host: Assistant Professor Paul Whitford