Allosteric communication in proteins is a fundamental and yet unresolved problem of structural biochemistry. Previous findings, from computational biology (Ota, N.; Agard, D. A. J. Mol. Biol. 2005, 351, 345?354), have proposed that heat diffuses in a protein through cognate protein allosteric pathways. This work studied heat diffusion in the well-known PDZ-2 protein, and confirmed that this protein has two cognate allosteric pathways and that heat flows preferentially through these. Also, a new property was also observed for protein structures: heat diffuses asymmetrically through the structures. The underling structure of this asymmetrical heat flow was a normal length hydrogen bond (?2.85 Å) that acted as a thermal rectifier. In contrast, thermal rectification was compromised in short hydrogen bonds (?2.60 Å), giving rise to symmetrical thermal diffusion. Asymmetrical heat diffusion was due, on a higher scale, to the local, structural organization of residues that, in turn, was also mediated by hydrogen bonds. This asymmetrical/symmetrical energy flow may be relevant for allosteric signal communication directionality in proteins and for the control of heat flow in materials science.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry