- Graduate Program in Computational and Data Sciences, Schmid College of Science and Technology, Chapman University, Orange, California, United States of America.
- Chapman University School of Pharmacy, Irvine, California, United States of America.
Hsp70 and Hsp110 chaperones play an important role in regulating cellular processes that involve protein folding and stabilization, which are essential for the integrity of signaling networks. Although many aspects of allosteric regulatory mechanisms in Hsp70 and Hsp110 chaperones have been extensively studied and significantly advanced in recent experimental studies, the atomistic picture of signal propagation and energetics of dynamics-based communication still remain unresolved. In this work, we have combined molecular dynamics simulations and protein stability analysis of the chaperone structures with the network modeling of residue interaction networks to characterize molecular determinants of allosteric mechanisms. We have shown that allosteric mechanisms of Hsp70 and Hsp110 chaperones may be primarily determined by nucleotide-induced redistribution of local conformational ensembles in the inter-domain regions and the substrate binding domain. Conformational dynamics and energetics of the peptide substrate binding with the Hsp70 structures has been analyzed using free energy calculations, revealing allosteric hotspots that control negative cooperativity between regulatory sites. The results have indicated that cooperative interactions may promote a population-shift mechanism in Hsp70, in which functional residues are organized in a broad and robust allosteric network that can link the nucleotide-binding site and the substrate-binding regions. A smaller allosteric network in Hsp110 structures may elicit an entropy-driven allostery that occurs in the absence of global structural changes. We have found that global mediating residues with high network centrality may be organized in stable local communities that are indispensable for structural stability and efficient allosteric communications. The network-centric analysis of allosteric interactions has also established that centrality of functional residues could correlate with their sensitivity to mutations across diverse chaperone functions. This study reconciles a wide spectrum of structural and functional experiments by demonstrating how integration of molecular simulations and network-centric modeling may explain thermodynamic and mechanistic aspects of allosteric regulation in chaperones.