Structurally distributed surface sites tune allosteric regulation

James W. McCormick, Marielle A.X. Russo, Samuel Thompson, Aubrie Blevins, Kimberly A. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Our ability to rationally optimize allosteric regulation is limited by incomplete knowledge of the mutations that tune allostery. Are these mutations few or abundant, structurally localized or distributed? To examine this, we conducted saturation mutagenesis of a synthetic allosteric switch in which Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is regulated by a blue-light sensitive LOV2 domain. Using a high-throughput assay wherein DHFR catalytic activity is coupled to E. coli growth, we assessed the impact of 1548 viable DHFR single mutations on allostery. Despite most mutations being deleterious to activity, fewer than 5% of mutations had a statistically significant influence on allostery. Most allostery disrupting mutations were proximal to the LOV2 insertion site. In contrast, allostery enhancing mutations were structurally distributed and enriched on the protein surface. Combining several allostery enhancing mutations yielded near-additive improvements to dynamic range. Our results indicate a path towards optimizing allosteric function through variation at surface sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere68346
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Allostery
  • Coevolution
  • DHFR
  • Deep Mutational Scanning
  • Dihydrofolate Reductase
  • LOV2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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