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Journal Article

Dominance analysis of competing protein assembly pathways


Förste,  Stefanie
Sophia Rudorf, Theorie & Bio-Systeme, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Lankeit, J., Förste, S., & Rudorf, S. (2023). Dominance analysis of competing protein assembly pathways. PLoS One, 18(2): e0281964. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0281964.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-B683-2
Most proteins form complexes consisting of two or more subunits, where complex assembly can proceed via two competing pathways: co-translational assembly of a mature and a nascent subunit, and post-translational assembly by two mature protein subunits. Assembly pathway dominance, i.e., which of the two pathways is predominant under which conditions, is poorly understood. Here, we introduce a reaction-diffusion system that describes protein complex formation via post- and co-translational assembly and use it to analyze the dominance of both pathways. Special features of this new system are (i) spatially inhomogeneous sources of reacting species, (ii) a combination of diffusing and immobile species, and (iii) an asymmetric binding competition between the species. We study assembly pathway dominance for the spatially homogeneous system and find that the ratio of production rates of the two protein subunits determines the long-term pathway dominance. This result is independent of the binding rate constants for post- and co-translational assembly and implies that a system with an initial post-translational assembly dominance can eventually exhibit co-translational assembly dominance and vice versa. For exactly balanced production of both subunits, the assembly pathway dominance is determined by the steady state concentration of the subunit that can bind both nascent and mature partners. The introduced system of equations can be applied to describe general dynamics of assembly processes involving both diffusing and immobile components.