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Ranking the factors that contribute to protein beta-sheet folding.

Parisien M, Major F

Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

The formation of beta-sheet domains in proteins involves five energetically important factors: the formation of networks of hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic faces, and the residue propensities, or preferences, to be found at the edges of the beta-sheet, to adopt the extended conformation, and to make contact with other residues. These relative energy contributions define a potential energy function. Here, we show how optimizing this potential energy function reveals the formation of hydrophobic faces as the utmost factor. The potential energy function was optimized to minimize the Z-scores of the native topologies among the exhaustive sets of over 400 different beta-sheets. These results corroborate with experimental data that showed the environment of a protein is an important modulator of beta-sheet folding. The contact propensities were found to be the least important, which could explain the poor predictive power of beta-strand alignment methods based on pair-wise contact matrices.

Proteins 2007;68(4):824-9.

Pubmed ID: 17523189

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