Single Molecule Effects of Osteogenesis Imperfecta Mutations in Tropocollagen Protein Domains
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE DEPT OF CIVIL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
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Osteogenesis imperfecta OI is a genetic disease characterized by fragile bones, skeletal deformities and, in severe cases, prenatal death that affects more than 1 in 10,000 individuals. Here we show by full atomistic simulation in explicit solvent that OI mutations have a significant influence on the mechanical properties of single tropocollagen molecules, and that the severity of different forms of OI is directly correlated with the reduction of the mechanical stiffness of individual tropocollagen molecules. The reduction of molecular stiffness provides insight into the molecular-scale mechanisms of the disease. The analysis of the molecular mechanisms reveals that physical parameters of side-chain volume and hydropathy index of the mutated residue control the loss of mechanical stiffness of individual tropocollagen molecules. We propose a model that enables us to predict the loss of stiffness based on these physical characteristics of mutations. This finding provides an atomistic-level mechanistic understanding of the role of OI mutations in defining the properties of the basic protein constituents, which could eventually lead to new strategies for diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The focus on material properties and their role in genetic diseases is an important, yet so far only little explored, aspect in studying the mechanisms that lead to pathological conditions. The consideration of how material properties change in diseases could lead to a new paradigm that may expand beyond the focus on biochemical readings alone and include a characterization of material properties in diagnosis and treatment, an effort referred to as materiomics.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medicine and Medical Research