Studying the effects of pathogenic mutations is more complex in multidomain proteins when compared with single domains: mutations occurring at domain boundaries may have a large effect on a neighbouring domain that will not be detected in a single-domain system. To demonstrate this, we present a study that utilizes well-characterized model protein domains from human spectrin to investigate the effect of disease- and non-disease-causing single point mutations occurring at the boundaries of human spectrin repeats. Our results show that mutations in the single domains have no clear correlation with stability and disease; however, when studied in a tandem model system, the disease-causing mutations are shown to disrupt stabilizing interactions that exist between domains. This results in a much larger decrease in stability than would otherwise have been predicted, and demonstrates the importance of studying such mutations in the correct protein context.
- disease-causing mutation
- multidomain protein
- pathogenic mutation
- protein interface
- single nucleotide polymorphism