Journal of Molecular Biology vol:301 issue:1 pages:199-204
The unique nature of the proline side-chain imposes severe constraints on the polypeptide backbone, and thus it seems likely that it plays a special structural or functional role in the architecture of proteins. We have investigated the role of proline residues in suc1, a member of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cks) family of proteins, whose known function is to bind to and regulate the activity of the major mitotic cdk. The effect on stability of mutation to alanine of all but two of the eight proline residues is correlated with their conservation within the family. The remaining two proline residues are located in the hinge loop between two beta-strands that mediates a domain-swapping process involving exchange of a beta-strand between two monomers to form a dimer pair. Mutation of these proline residues to alanine stabilises the protein. cdk binding is unaffected by these mutations, but dimerisation is altered. We propose, therefore, that the double-proline motif is conserved for the purpose of domain swapping, which suggests that this phenomenon plays a role in the function of cks proteins. Thus, the conservation of the proline residues is a good indicator of their roles in suc1, either in the stabilisation of the native state or in performing functions that are as yet unknown. In addition, the strain resulting from two of the proline residues was relieved successfully by mutation of the preceeding residue to glycine, suggesting a general method for designing more stable proteins. (C) 2000 Academic Press.