Communication is essential at all biological scales. Our cells have been rigged with communication systems that allow them to respond properly to environmental cues. These systems, or signaling pathways, are composed of different proteins, whose activity is regulated by other proteins. This intricate regulatory system ensures that cells provide the right response, both in kind and magnitude. Errors in regulation often result in diseases.
Src kinases (SFK) are typical examples of proteins involved in signaling pathways. To control their activity, evolution has come up with an exquisite solution. Two modular parts of these proteins are responsible for regulating the activity of the third module, which performs the actual function of the kinase. Here, we aim to provide new insights into how the switching between active and inactive SFK may occur: we examine how dynamic information, induced by binding peptides to the regulating domains, flows through their structure and influences SFK activity. Our prior research suggests that a particular locking dynamics mediated by specific residue sidechains in those modules may play an essential role. This project aims to validate this hypothesis.
The results produced here will allow us to build methods capable of identifying regulatory hotspots in proteins, will provide explanations as to why certain residues are involved in disease and, more ambitiously, will allow us to design proteins with specific regulatory capabilities.