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Measures of residue density in protein structures

By Franck Baud and Samuel Karlin


A hierarchy of residue density assessments and packing properties in protein structures are contrasted, including a regular density, a variety of charge densities, a hydrophobic density, a polar density, and an aromatic density. These densities are investigated by alternative distance measures and also at the interface of multiunit structures. Amino acids are divided into nine structural categories according to three secondary structure states and three solvent accessibility levels. To take account of amino acid abundance differences across protein structures, we normalize the observed density by the expected density defining a density index. Solvent accessibility levels exert the predominant influence in determinations of the regular residue density. Explicitly, the regular density values vary approximately linearly with respect to solvent accessibility levels, the linearity parameters depending on the amino acid. The charge index reveals pronounced inequalities between lysine and arginine in their interactions with acidic residues. The aromatic density calculations in all structural categories parallel the regular density calculations, indicating that the aromatic residues are distributed as a random sample of all residues. Moreover, aromatic residues are found to be over-represented in the neighborhood of all amino acids. This result might be attributed to nucleation sites and protein stability being substantially associated with aromatic residues

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences
Year: 1999
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.96.22.12494
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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