Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Michael Peters


Protein-protein interactions (PPI’s) play important roles in biological systems. In particular, intra-protein interactions help create and maintain correctly folded protein states and mutations that result in misfolded states may be associated with significant changes in PPI behavior. Six unrelated protein systems with known structure files, each consisting of a wild-type and mutant strain, were studied using the computational algorithm OpenContact©. OpenContact© is a simple tool that can be used to rapidly identify or map interactions “hot-spots” in a protein and was, consequently, used in this study as a starting point to examine the potential or possible role of PPI’s on the behavior of mutated, misfolded proteins. Specific results include the observations of single chain protein systems exhibiting mutant strains with significantly stronger inter-atomic interactions as well as a surprising gain of secondary structure in the mutant state. These observations stood in contrast to multi-chain systems (proteins with more than two constituent chains) that appeared to display stronger inter-atomic interactions for the wild-type strains. Results also indicated a potential classification scheme for intra-protein interaction behavior in mutated states based on several criteria. It is important to note, however, that observations on PPI behavior presented need to be verified across a greater number of systems than those studied here before any such trends can be concretely established.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Included in

Engineering Commons