Protein dynamics is essential to understand protein function and stability, even though is rarely investigated as the origin of loss-of-function due to genetic variations. Here, we use biochemical, biophysical, cell and computational biology tools to study two loss-of-function and cancer-associated polymorphisms (p.R139W and p.P187S) in human NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), a FAD-dependent enzyme which activates cancer pro-drugs and stabilizes several oncosuppressors. We show that p.P187S strongly destabilizes the NQO1 dimerin vitro and increases the flexibility of the C-terminal domain, while a combination of FAD and the inhibitor dicoumarol overcome these alterations. Additionally, changes in global stability due to polymorphisms and ligand binding are linked to the dynamics of the dimer interface, whereas the low activity and affinity for FAD in p.P187S is caused by increased fluctuations at the FAD binding site. Importantly, NQO1 steady-state protein levels in cell cultures correlate primarily with the dynamics of the C-terminal domain, supporting a directional preference in NQO1 proteasomal degradation and the use of ligands binding to this domain to stabilize p.P187S p.P187S, and to develop new pharmacological therapies to rescue this function.in vivo. In conclusion, protein dynamics are fundamental to understanding loss-of-function in p.P187S, and to develop new pharmacological therapies to rescue this function.
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Medina-Carmona, E., Palomino-Morales, R. J., Fuchs, J. E., Padin-Gonzalez, E., Mesa-Torres, N., Salido, E., ... Pey, A. L. (2016). Conformational dynamics is key to understanding loss-of-function of NQO1 cancer-associated polymorphisms and its correction by pharmacological ligands. Scientific Reports, 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep20331