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A unified view of "how allostery works".

Authors
  • Tsai, Chung-Jung
  • Nussinov, Ruth
Type
Published Article
Journal
PLoS Computational Biology
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2014
Volume
10
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003394
PMID: 24516370
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The question of how allostery works was posed almost 50 years ago. Since then it has been the focus of much effort. This is for two reasons: first, the intellectual curiosity of basic science and the desire to understand fundamental phenomena, and second, its vast practical importance. Allostery is at play in all processes in the living cell, and increasingly in drug discovery. Many models have been successfully formulated, and are able to describe allostery even in the absence of a detailed structural mechanism. However, conceptual schemes designed to qualitatively explain allosteric mechanisms usually lack a quantitative mathematical model, and are unable to link its thermodynamic and structural foundations. This hampers insight into oncogenic mutations in cancer progression and biased agonists' actions. Here, we describe how allostery works from three different standpoints: thermodynamics, free energy landscape of population shift, and structure; all with exactly the same allosteric descriptors. This results in a unified view which not only clarifies the elusive allosteric mechanism but also provides structural grasp of agonist-mediated signaling pathways, and guides allosteric drug discovery. Of note, the unified view reasons that allosteric coupling (or communication) does not determine the allosteric efficacy; however, a communication channel is what makes potential binding sites allosteric.

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