Allostery and epistasis: Emergent properties of anisotropic networks

Paul Campitelli, S. Banu Ozkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Understanding the underlying mechanisms behind protein allostery and non-additivity of substitution outcomes (i.e., epistasis) is critical when attempting to predict the functional impact of mutations, particularly at non-conserved sites. In an effort to model these two biological properties, we extend the framework of our metric to calculate dynamic coupling between residues, the Dynamic Coupling Index (DCI) to two new metrics: (i) EpiScore, which quantifies the difference between the residue fluctuation response of a functional site when two other positions are perturbed with random Brownian kicks simultaneously versus individually to capture the degree of cooperativity of these two other positions in modulating the dynamics of the functional site and (ii) DCIasym, which measures the degree of asymmetry between the residue fluctuation response of two sites when one or the other is perturbed with a random force. Applied to four independent systems, we successfully show that EpiScore and DCIasym can capture important biophysical properties in dual mutant substitution outcomes. We propose that allosteric regulation and the mechanisms underlying non-additive amino acid substitution outcomes (i.e., epistasis) can be understood as emergent properties of an anisotropic network of interactions where the inclusion of the full network of interactions is critical for accurate modeling. Consequently, mutations which drive towards a new function may require a fine balance between functional site asymmetry and strength of dynamic coupling with the functional sites. These two tools will provide mechanistic insight into both understanding and predicting the outcome of dual mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number667
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Allostery
  • Elastic network model
  • Epistasis
  • Protein conformational dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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