The ability to predict if a given mutation is disease-causing or not has enormous potential to impact human health. Typically, these predictions are made by assessing the effects of mutation on macromolecular stability and amino acid conservation. Here we report a novel feature: the electrostatic component of the force acting between a kinesin motor domain and tubulin. We demonstrate that changes in the electrostatic component of the binding force are able to discriminate between disease-causing and non-disease-causing mutations found in human kinesin motor domains using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC). Because diseases may originate from multiple effects not related to kinesin-microtubule binding, the prediction rate of 0.843 area under the ROC plot due to the change in magnitude of the electrostatic force alone is remarkable. These results reflect the dependence of kinesin’s function on motility along the microtubule, which suggests a precise balance of microtubule binding forces is required.
Please use the publisher's recommended citation. The published version can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08419-7#article-comments