Understanding the detailed mechanism of interaction of intrinsically disordered proteins with their partners is crucial to comprehend their functions in signaling and transcription. Through its interaction with KIX, the disordered pKID region of CREB protein is central in the transcription of cAMP responsive genes, including those involved in long-term memory. Numerous simulation studies have investigated these interactions. Combined with experimental results, these can provide valuable and comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms involved. Here, we probe the transition state of this interaction experimentally through analyzing the kinetic effect of mutating both interface and solvent exposed residues in pKID. We show that very few specific interactions between pKID and KIX are required in the initial binding process. Only a small number of weak interactions are formed at the transition state, including nonnative interactions, and most of the folding occurs after the initial binding event. These properties are consistent with computational results and also the majority of experimental studies of intrinsically disordered protein coupled folding and binding in other protein systems, suggesting that these may be common features.
Dahal, L., Kwan, T. O. C., Shammas, S. L., & Clarke, J. (2017). pKID Binds to KIX via an Unstructured Transition State with Nonnative Interactions. Biophysical Journal, 113(12), 2713–2722. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2017.10.016