Temporal variation of a protein folding energy landscape in the cell

Anna Jean Wirth, Max Platkov, Martin Gruebele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chemical reaction rate coefficients and free energies are usually time-independent quantities. Protein folding in vitro is one such reaction with a fixed energy landscape. However, in the milieu of the cell, the energy landscape can be modulated in space and time by fluctuations in the intracellular environment such as cytoskeletal rearrangements, changes in biomolecule concentrations, and large scale cellular reorganization. We studied the time dependence of the folding landscape of a FRET-labeled enzyme, yeast phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK-FRET). Living U2OS cells served as our test tube, and the mammalian cell cycle, a process strictly regulated in time, served as our clock. We found that both the rate of folding and the thermodynamic stability of PGK-FRET are cell cycle-dependent. We also assayed folding rates of PGK-FRET in spatial proximity to and far away from mitotic chromosomes. Our results show that expedited folding in DNA-rich regions cannot account for the faster rate of PGK-FRET folding in mitotic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19215-19221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 26 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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