Macromolecular recognition in the Protein Data Bank

  • Janin J
  • Rodier F
  • Chakrabarti P
 et al. 
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Crystal structures deposited in the Protein Data Bank illustrate the diversity of biological macromolecular recognition: transient interactions in protein-protein and protein-DNA complexes and permanent assemblies in homodimeric proteins. The geometric and physical chemical properties of the macromolecular interfaces that may govern the stability and specificity of recognition are explored in complexes and homodimers compared with crystal-packing interactions. It is found that crystal-packing interfaces are usually much smaller; they bury fewer atoms and are less tightly packed than in specific assemblies. Standard-size interfaces burying 1200-2000 A2 of protein surface occur in protease-inhibitor and antigen-antibody complexes that assemble with little or no conformation changes. Short-lived electron-transfer complexes have small interfaces; the larger size of the interfaces observed in complexes involved in signal transduction and homodimers correlates with the presence of conformation changes, often implicated in biological function. Results of the CAPRI (critical assessment of predicted interactions) blind prediction experiment show that docking algorithms efficiently and accurately predict the mode of assembly of proteins that do not change conformation when they associate. They perform less well in the presence of large conformation changes and the experiment stimulates the development of novel procedures that can handle such changes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Macromolecular recognition
  • Protein Data Bank

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  • Joël Janin

  • Francis Rodier

  • Pinak Chakrabarti

  • Ranjit P. Bahadur

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