Product(s) used in this publication: Custom Peptide Synthesis
Intrinsically disordered proteins represent a large class of proteins that lack a well-defined three-dimensional structure in isolation but can undergo a disorder to order transition upon binding to their physiological ligands. Understanding the mechanism by which these proteins fold upon binding represents a challenge. Here we present a detailed mutational study of the kinetics of the binding reaction between the transactivation domain of the mixed-lineage leukemia protein, an intrinsically disordered protein, and the KIX domain, performed under different experimental conditions. The experimental data allow us to infer the mechanism of folding upon binding and to pinpoint the key interactions present in the transition state. Furthermore, we identify a peculiar malleability of the observed mechanism upon changes in reaction conditions. This finding, which is in opposition to the robustness typically observed in the folding of globular proteins, is discussed in the context of previous work on intrinsically disordered proteins.