Assessing side-chain perturbations of the protein backbone: a knowledge-based classification of residue Ramachandran space.

Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA.
Journal of Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 3.91). 06/2008; 378(3):749-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2008.02.043
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Grouping the 20 residues is a classic strategy to discover ordered patterns and insights about the fundamental nature of proteins, their structure, and how they fold. Usually, this categorization is based on the biophysical and/or structural properties of a residue's side-chain group. We extend this approach to understand the effects of side chains on backbone conformation and to perform a knowledge-based classification of amino acids by comparing their backbone phi, psi distributions in different types of secondary structure. At this finer, more specific resolution, torsion angle data are often sparse and discontinuous (especially for nonhelical classes) even though a comprehensive set of protein structures is used. To ensure the precision of Ramachandran plot comparisons, we applied a rigorous Bayesian density estimation method that produces continuous estimates of the backbone phi, psi distributions. Based on this statistical modeling, a robust hierarchical clustering was performed using a divergence score to measure the similarity between plots. There were seven general groups based on the clusters from the complete Ramachandran data: nonpolar/beta-branched (Ile and Val), AsX (Asn and Asp), long (Met, Gln, Arg, Glu, Lys, and Leu), aromatic (Phe, Tyr, His, and Cys), small (Ala and Ser), bulky (Thr and Trp), and, lastly, the singletons of Gly and Pro. At the level of secondary structure (helix, sheet, turn, and coil), these groups remain somewhat consistent, although there are a few significant variations. Besides the expected uniqueness of the Gly and Pro distributions, the nonpolar/beta-branched and AsX clusters were very consistent across all types of secondary structure. Effectively, this consistency across the secondary structure classes implies that side-chain steric effects strongly influence a residue's backbone torsion angle conformation. These results help to explain the plasticity of amino acid substitutions on protein structure and should help in protein design and structure evaluation.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As an alternative to the common template based protein structure prediction methods based on main-chain position, a novel side-chain centric approach has been developed. Together with a Bayesian loop modeling procedure and a combination scoring function, the Stone Soup algorithm was applied to the CASP9 set of template based modeling targets. Although the method did not generate as large of perturbations to the template structures as necessary, the analysis of the results gives unique insights into the differences in packing between the target structures and their templates. Considerable variation in packing is found between target and template structures even when the structures are close, and this variation is found due to 2 and 3 body packing interactions. Outside the inherent restrictions in packing representation of the PDB, the first steps in correctly defining those regions of variable packing have been mapped primarily to local interactions, as the packing at the secondary and tertiary structure are largely conserved. Of the scoring functions used, a loop scoring function based on water structure exhibited some promise for discrimination. These results present a clear structural path for further development of a side-chain centered approach to template based modeling.
    Computational biology and chemistry 11/2012; 42C:40-48. · 1.37 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The local conformational (ϕ, ψ, χ) preferences of amino acid residues remain an active research area, which are important for the development of protein force fields. In this perspective article, we first summarize spectroscopic studies of alanine-based short peptides in aqueous solution. While most studies indicate a preference for the P(II) conformation in the unfolded state over α and β conformations, significant variations are also observed. A statistical analysis from various coil libraries of high-resolution protein structures is then summarized, which gives a more coherent view of the local conformational features. The ϕ, ψ, χ distributions of the 20 amino acids have been obtained from a protein coil library, considering both backbone and side-chain conformational preferences. The intrinsic side-chain χ(1) rotamer preference and χ(1)-dependent Ramachandran plot can be generally understood by combining the interaction of the side-chain Cγ/Oγ atom with two neighboring backbone peptide groups. Current all-atom force fields such as AMBER ff99sb-ILDN, ff03 and OPLS-AA/L do not reproduce these distributions well. A method has been developed by combining the ϕ, ψ plot of alanine with the influence of side-chain χ(1) rotamers to derive the local conformational features of various amino acids. It has been further applied to improve the OPLS-AA force field. The modified force field (OPLS-AA/C) reproduces experimental (3)J coupling constants for various short peptides quite well. It also better reproduces the temperature-dependence of the helix-coil transition for alanine-based peptides. The new force field can fold a series of peptides and proteins with various secondary structures to their experimental structures. MD simulations of several globular proteins using the improved force field give significantly less deviation (RMSD) to experimental structures. The results indicate that the local conformational features from coil libraries are valuable for the development of balanced protein force fields.
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 02/2013; · 3.83 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: On the occasion of their fiftieth birthday, it is opportune to review the first half century of Ramachandran plots. In the present review, some of the most relevant aspects of this fifty-year history are summarized, from the original ideas of Gopalasamudram Narayana Ramachandran to subsequent revisions and to applications in structural biology. This will not be a guided walk through five decades of Ramachandran plots, but a commented summary of the lines along which the original ideas evolved and continue to develop, and of their applications.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 08/2013; 69(Pt 8):1333-41. · 12.67 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

1 Download
Available from
Jul 27, 2014