Interdiction in the Early Folding of the p53 DNA-Binding Domain Leads to Its Amyloid-Like Misfolding

Fernando Bergasa-Caceres, Herschel A. Rabitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this article, we investigate two issues: (a) the initial contact formation events along the folding pathway of the DNA-binding domain of the tumor suppressor protein p53 (core p53); and (b) the intermolecular events leading to its conversion into a prion-like form upon incubation with peptide P8(250-257). In the case of (a), the calculations employ the sequential collapse model (SCM) to identify the segments involved in the initial contact formation events that nucleate the folding pathway. The model predicts that there are several possible initial non-local contacts of comparative stability. The most stable of these possible initial contacts involve the protein segments 159AMAIY163 and 251ILTII255, and it is the only native-like contact. Thus, it is predicted to constitute “Nature’s shortcut” to the native structure of the core domain of p53. In the case of issue (b), these findings are then combined with experimental evidence showing that the incubation of the core domain of p53 with peptide P8(250-257), which is equivalent to the native protein segment 250PILTIITL257, leads to an amyloid conformational transition. It is explained how the SCM predicts that P8(250-257) effectively interdicts in the formation of the most stable possible initial contact and, thereby, disrupts the subsequent normal folding. Interdiction by polymeric P8(250-257) seeds is also studied. It is then hypothesized that enhanced folding through one or several of the less stable contacts could play a role in P8(250-257)-promoted core p53 amyloid misfolding. These findings are compared to previous results obtained for the prion protein. Experiments are proposed to test the hypothesis presented regarding core p53 amyloid misfolding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4810
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Drug Discovery
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


  • cancer
  • folding
  • interdiction
  • pathway
  • peptide
  • prion


Dive into the research topics of 'Interdiction in the Early Folding of the p53 DNA-Binding Domain Leads to Its Amyloid-Like Misfolding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this