[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geometric and structural constraints greatly restrict the selection of folds adapted by protein backbones, and yet, folded proteins show an astounding diversity in functionality. For structure to have any bearing on function, it is thus imperative that, apart from the protein backbone, other tunable degrees of freedom be accountable. Here, we focus on side-chain interactions, which non-covalently link amino acids in folded proteins to form a network structure. At a coarse-grained level, we show that the network conforms remarkably well to realizations of random graphs and displays associated percolation behavior. Thus, within the rigid framework of the protein backbone that restricts the structure space, the side-chain interactions exhibit an element of randomness, which account for the functional flexibility and diversity shown by proteins. However, at a finer level, the network exhibits deviations from these random graphs which, as we demonstrate for a few specific examples, reflect the intrinsic uniqueness in the structure and stability, and perhaps specificity in the functioning of biological proteins.
Preview · Article · Feb 2010 · Molecular BioSystems
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently we showed that the three-dimensional structure of proteins can be investigated from a network perspective, where the amino acid residues represent the nodes in the network and the noncovalent interactions between them are considered for the edge formation. In this study, the dynamical behavior of such networks is examined by considering the example of T4 lysozyme. The equilibrium dynamics and the process of unfolding are followed by simulating the protein at 300 K and at higher temperatures (400 K and 500 K), respectively. The snapshots of the protein structure from the simulations are represented as protein structure networks in which the strength of the noncovalent interactions is considered an important criterion in the construction of edges. The profiles of the network parameters, such as the degree distribution and the size of the largest cluster (giant component), were examined as a function of interaction strength at different temperatures. Similar profiles are seen at all the temperatures. However, the critical strength of interaction (Icritical) and the size of the largest cluster at all interaction strengths shift to lower values at 500 K. Further, the folding/unfolding transition is correlated with contacts evaluated at Icritical and with the composition of the top large clusters obtained at interaction strengths greater than Icritical. Finally, the results are compared with experiments, and predictions are made about the residues, which are important for stability and folding. To summarize, the network analysis presented in this work provides insights into the details of the changes occurring in the protein tertiary structure at the level of amino acid side-chain interactions, in both the equilibrium and the unfolding simulations. The method can also be employed as a valuable tool in the analysis of molecular dynamics simulation data, since it captures the details at a global level, which may elude conventional pairwise interaction analysis.
Full-text · Article · May 2007 · Biophysical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a simple method for analyzing the geometry of noncovalent residue-residue interactions stabilizing the protein structure, which takes into account the constraints on the local backbone geometry. We find that the principal geometrical constraints are amino acid aspecific and are associated with hydrogen bond formation in helices and sheets. In contrast, amino acid residues in nonhelical and nonextended conformations, which make noncovalent interactions stabilizing the protein tertiary structure, display greater flexibility. We apply the method to an analysis of the packing of helices in helical bundle proteins requiring an efficient packing of amino acid side-chains of the interacting helices.
No preview · Article · Sep 2006 · Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure networks of DNA-binding proteins have been constructed and analyzed. The detailed analysis of the networks indicates a strong relation between the positions of the residues interacting with DNA and those that form extensive interactions within the protein structure (called hubs). This study shows that the functional residues in these proteins are held in place by efficient scaffolding of the structure using side-chain interactions, thus highlighting the role of these side-chain hubs with respect to the functional residues in the protein structure.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2006 · Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study views each protein structure as a network of noncovalent connections between amino acid side chains. Each amino acid in a protein structure is a node, and the strength of the noncovalent interactions between two amino acids is evaluated for edge determination. The protein structure graphs (PSGs) for 232 proteins have been constructed as a function of the cutoff of the amino acid interaction strength at a few carefully chosen values. Analysis of such PSGs constructed on the basis of edge weights has shown the following: 1), The PSGs exhibit a complex topological network behavior, which is dependent on the interaction cutoff chosen for PSG construction. 2), A transition is observed at a critical interaction cutoff, in all the proteins, as monitored by the size of the largest cluster (giant component) in the graph. Amazingly, this transition occurs within a narrow range of interaction cutoff for all the proteins, irrespective of the size or the fold topology. And 3), the amino acid preferences to be highly connected (hub frequency) have been evaluated as a function of the interaction cutoff. We observe that the aromatic residues along with arginine, histidine, and methionine act as strong hubs at high interaction cutoffs, whereas the hydrophobic leucine and isoleucine residues get added to these hubs at low interaction cutoffs, forming weak hubs. The hubs identified are found to play a role in bringing together different secondary structural elements in the tertiary structure of the proteins. They are also found to contribute to the additional stability of the thermophilic proteins when compared to their mesophilic counterparts and hence could be crucial for the folding and stability of the unique three-dimensional structure of proteins. Based on these results, we also predict a few residues in the thermophilic and mesophilic proteins that can be mutated to alter their thermal stability.
Preview · Article · Jan 2006 · Biophysical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The unique three-dimensional structure of both monomeric and oligomeric proteins is encoded in their sequence. The biological functions of proteins are dependent on their tertiary and quaternary structures, and hence it is important to understand the determinants of quaternary association in proteins. Although a large number of investigations have been carried out in this direction, the underlying principles of protein oligomerization are yet to be completely understood. Recently, new insights into this problem have been gained from the analysis of structure graphs of proteins belonging to the legume lectin family. The legume lectins are an interesting family of proteins with very similar tertiary structures but varied quaternary structures. Hence they have become a very good model with which to analyse the role of primary structures in determining the modes of quaternary association. The present review summarizes the results of a legume lectin study as well as those obtained from a similar analysis carried out here on the animal lectins, namely galectins, pentraxins, calnexin, calreticulin and rhesus rotavirus Vp4 sialic-acid-binding domain. The lectin structure graphs have been used to obtain clusters of non-covalently interacting amino acid residues at the intersubunit interfaces. The present study, performed along with traditional sequence alignment methods, has provided the signature sequence motifs for different kinds of quaternary association seen in lectins. Furthermore, the network representation of the lectin oligomers has enabled us to detect the residues which make extensive interactions ('hubs') across the oligomeric interfaces that can be targetted for interface-destabilizing mutations. The present review also provides an overview of the methodology involved in representing oligomeric protein structures as connected networks of amino acid residues. Further, it illustrates the potential of such a representation in elucidating the structural determinants of protein-protein association in general and will be of significance to protein chemists and structural biologists.
Preview · Article · Nov 2005 · Biochemical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a novel method for the identification of structural domains and domain interface residues in proteins by graph spectral method. This method converts the three-dimensional structure of the protein into a graph by using atomic coordinates from the PDB file. Domain definitions are obtained by constructing either a protein backbone graph or a protein side-chain graph. The graph is constructed based on the interactions between amino acid residues in the three-dimensional structure of the proteins. The spectral parameters of such a graph contain information regarding the domains and subdomains in the protein structure. This is based on the fact that the interactions among amino acids are higher within a domain than across domains. This is evident in the spectra of the protein backbone and the side-chain graphs, thus differentiating the structural domains from one another. Further, residues that occur at the interface of two domains can also be easily identified from the spectra. This method is simple, elegant, and robust. Moreover, a single numeric computation yields both the domain definitions and the interface residues.
Preview · Article · May 2005 · Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein-protein association is essential for a variety of cellular processes and hence a large number of investigations are being carried out to understand the principles of protein-protein interactions. In this study, oligomeric protein structures are viewed from a network perspective to obtain new insights into protein association. Structure graphs of proteins have been constructed from a non-redundant set of protein oligomer crystal structures by considering amino acid residues as nodes and the edges are based on the strength of the non-covalent interactions between the residues. The analysis of such networks has been carried out in terms of amino acid clusters and hubs (highly connected residues) with special emphasis to protein interfaces.
A variety of interactions such as hydrogen bond, salt bridges, aromatic and hydrophobic interactions, which occur at the interfaces are identified in a consolidated manner as amino acid clusters at the interface, from this study. Moreover, the characterization of the highly connected hub-forming residues at the interfaces and their comparison with the hubs from the non-interface regions and the non-hubs in the interface regions show that there is a predominance of charged interactions at the interfaces. Further, strong and weak interfaces are identified on the basis of the interaction strength between amino acid residues and the sizes of the interface clusters, which also show that many protein interfaces are stronger than their monomeric protein cores. The interface strengths evaluated based on the interface clusters and hubs also correlate well with experimentally determined dissociation constants for known complexes. Finally, the interface hubs identified using the present method correlate very well with experimentally determined hotspots in the interfaces of protein complexes obtained from the Alanine Scanning Energetics database (ASEdb). A few predictions of interface hot spots have also been made based on the results obtained from this analysis, which await experimental verification.
The construction and analysis of oligomeric protein structure networks and their comparison with monomeric protein structure networks provide insights into protein association. Further, the interface hubs identified using the present method can be effective targets for interface de-stabilizing mutations. We believe this analysis will significantly enhance our knowledge of the principles behind protein association and also aid in protein design.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well known that the sequence of amino acids in proteins code for its tertiary structure. It is also known that there exists a relationship between sequence and the quaternary structure of proteins. The question addressed here is whether the nature of quaternary association can be predicted from the sequence, similar to the three-dimensional structure prediction from the sequence. The class of proteins called legume lectins is an interesting model system to investigate this problem, because they have very high sequence and tertiary structure homology, with diverse forms of quaternary association. Hence, we have used legume lectins as a probe in this paper to (1) gain novel insights about the relationship between sequence and quaternary structure; (2) identify the sequence motifs that are characteristic of a given type of quaternary association; and (3) predict the quaternary association from the sequence motif.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The quaternary structures impart structural and functional credibility to proteins. In a multi-subunit protein, it is important to understand the factors that drive the association or dissociation of the subunits. It is a well known fact that both hydrophobic and charged interactions contribute to the stability of the protein interface. The interface residues are also known to be highly conserved. Though they are buried in the oligomer, these residues are either exposed or partially exposed in the monomer. It is felt that a systematic and objective method of identifying interface clusters and their analysis can significantly contribute to the identification of a residue or a collection of residues important for oligomerization. Recently, we have applied the techniques of graph-spectral methods to a variety of problems related to protein structure and folding. A major advantage of this methodology is that the problem is viewed from a global protein topology point of view rather than localized regions of the protein structure. In the present investigation, we have applied the methods of graph-spectral analysis to identify side chain clusters at the interface and the centers of these clusters in a set of homodimeric proteins. These clusters are analyzed in terms of properties such as amino acid composition, accessibility to solvent and conservation of residues. Interesting results such as participation of charged and aromatic residues like arginine, glutamic acid, histidine, phenylalanine and tyrosine, consistent with earlier investigations, have emerged from these analyses. Important additional information is that the residues involved are a part of a cluster(s) and that they are sequentially distant residues which have come closer to each other in the three-dimensional structure of the protein. These residues can easily be detected using our graph-spectral algorithm. This method has also been used to identify important residues ('hot spots') in dimerization and also to detect dimerization sites on the monomer. The residues predicted using the present algorithm have correlated well with the experiments indicating the efficacy of this method in predicting residues involved in dimer stability.
No preview · Article · May 2002 · Protein engineering