The rates at which domains fold and codons are translated are important factors in determining whether a nascent protein will co-translationally fold and function or misfold and malfunction. Here we develop a chemical kinetic model that calculates a protein domain's co-translational folding curve during synthesis using only the domain's bulk folding and unfolding rates and codon translation rates. We show that this model accurately predicts the course of co-translational folding measured in vivo for four different protein molecules. We then make predictions for a number of different proteins in yeast and find that synonymous codon substitutions, which change translation-elongation rates, can switch some protein domains from folding post-translationally to folding co-translationally - a result consistent with previous experimental studies. Our approach explains essential features of co-translational folding curves and predicts how varying the translation rate at different codon positions along a transcript's coding sequence affects this self-assembly process.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)