A comparative study of dynamic structures between phage 434 Cro and repressor proteins by normal mode analysis

Hiroshi Wako*, Masanori Tachikawa, Atsushi Ogawa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Two DNA binding proteins, Cro and the amino-terminal domain of the repressor of bacteriophage 434 (434 Cro and 434 repressor) that regulate gene expression and contain a helix-turn-helix (HTH) motif responsible for their site-specific DNA recognition adopt very similar three-dimensional structures when compared to each other. To reveal structural differences between these two similar proteins, their dynamic structures, as examined by normal mode analysis, are compared in this paper. Two kinds of structural data, one for the monomer and the other for a complex with DNA, for each protein, are used in the analyses. From a comparison between the monomers it is found that the interactions of Ala-24 in 434 Cro or Val-24 in 434 repressor, both located in the HTH motif, with residues 44, 47, 48, and 51 located in the domain facing the motif, and the interactions between residues 17, 18, 28, and 32, located in the HTH motif, cause significant differences in the correlative motions of these residues. From the comparison between the monomer and the complex with DNA for each protein, it was found that the first helix in the HTH motif is distorted in the complex form. While the residues in the HTH motif in 434 Cro have relatively larger positive correlation coefficients of motions with other residues within the HTH motif, such correlations are not large in the HTH motif of 434 repressor. It is suggestive to their specificity because the 434 repressor is less specific than 434 Cro. Although a structural comparison of proteins has been performed mainly from a static or geometrical point of view, this study demonstrates that the comparison from a dynamic point of view, using the normal mode analysis, is useful and convenient to explore a difference that is difficult to find only from a geometrical point of view, especially for proteins very similar in structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • helix-turn-helix motif
  • molecular mechanics
  • normal mode analysis
  • phage 434 Cro protein
  • phage 434 repressor protein
  • protein conformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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