Building Biological Relevance Into Integrative Modelling of Macromolecular Assemblies

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TitleBuilding Biological Relevance Into Integrative Modelling of Macromolecular Assemblies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsMolza A-E, Westermaier Y, Moutte M, Ducrot P, Danilowicz C, Godoy-Carter V, Prentiss M, Robert CH, Baaden M, Prévost C
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences

Recent advances in structural biophysics and integrative modelling methods now allow us to decipher the structures of large macromolecular assemblies. Understanding the dynamics and mechanisms involved in their biological function requires rigorous integration of all available data. We have developed a complete modelling pipeline that includes analyses to extract biologically significant information by consistently combining automated and interactive human-guided steps. We illustrate this idea with two examples. First, we describe the ryanodine receptor, an ion channel that controls ion flux across the cell membrane through transitions between open and closed states. The conformational changes associated with the transitions are small compared to the considerable system size of the receptor; it is challenging to consistently track these states with the available cryo-EM structures. The second example involves homologous recombination, in which long filaments of a recombinase protein and DNA catalyse the exchange of homologous DNA strands to reliably repair DNA double-strand breaks. The nucleoprotein filament reaction intermediates in this process are short-lived and heterogeneous, making their structures particularly elusive. The pipeline we describe, which incorporates experimental and theoretical knowledge combined with state-of-the-art interactive and immersive modelling tools, can help overcome these challenges. In both examples, we point to new insights into biological processes that arise from such interdisciplinary approaches.

Citation Key2022|2156