Exploring Multiple Timescale Motions in Protein GB3 Using Accelerated Molecular Dynamics and NMR Spectroscopy

Biological function relies on the complex spectrum of conformational dynamics occurring in biomolecules. We have combined Accelerated Molecular Dynamics (AMD) with experimental results derived from NMR to probe multiple time-scale motions in the third IgG-binding domain of Protein G (GB3). AMD is shown to accurately reproduce the amplitude and distribution of slow motional modes characterized using residual dipolar couplings, reporting on dynamics up to the millisecond timescale. In agreement with experiment, larger amplitude slower motions are localized in the β-strand/loop motif spanning residues 14−24 and in loop 42−44. Principal component analysis shows these fluctuations participating in the primary mode, substantiating the existence of a correlated motion traversing the β-sheet that culminates in maximum excursions at the active site of the molecule. Fast dynamics were simulated using extensive standard MD simulations and compared to order parameters extracted from 15N relaxation. Notably 60 2-ns fully solvated MD simulations exploring the different conformational substates sampled from AMD resulted in better reproduction of order parameters compared to the same number of simulations starting from the relaxed crystal structure. This illustrates the inherent dependence of protein dynamics on local conformational topology. The results provide rare insight into the complex hierarchy of dynamics present in GB3 and allow us to develop a model of the conformational landscape native to the protein, appearing as a steep sided potential well whose flat bottom comprises multiple similar but discrete conformational substates.