Hydration water dynamics of the tau protein in its native and amyloid states

Abstract : Proteins that do not have a well-defined structure in their functional state are referred to as intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs). IDPs are ubiquitous in biological cells and their aggregation is involved in many diseases. The extended conformations of IDPs result in a large water interface, yet, interactions between IDPs and water are only scarcely documented. Water has been termed the matrix of life because it is essential for a variety of molecular processes, including protein folding, stability, and activity. The IDP tau regulates microtubule activity in neurons and is known to form amyloid fibers that are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer disease. In this PhD thesis, the biological relevance of water dynamics around IDPs is addressed. We combine computational and experimental approaches, including all-atom MD simulations, incoherent neutron scattering, terahertz spectroscopy and small angle X-ray scattering, to study the hydration water dynamics of the tau protein in its native and fibrillated states. Firstly, a translational diffusion of hydration water molecules is found to be essential for biologically relevant dynamics of both IDPs and globular proteins. Secondly, compared to monomers, we find an enhancement of hydration water mobility around tau amyloid fibers that is suggested to play a role in fiber formation. Finally, the investigation of collective water dynamics reveals that the tau protein influences about two times less water molecules than a globular protein, which might be involved in tau's binding mechanisms. In conclusion, this piece of work investigated the dynamical properties of water around IDPs and suggests that the hydration water dynamics might play fundamental roles in binding and aggregation of IDPs.
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Yann Fichou. Hydration water dynamics of the tau protein in its native and amyloid states. Modeling and Simulation. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015GREAY021⟩. ⟨tel-01214578⟩

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