Original Publication Date
DOI of Original Publication
Date of Submission
There is a great interest in understanding and exploiting protein-protein associations as new routes for treating human disease. However, these associations are difficult to structurally characterize or model although the number of X-ray structures for protein-protein complexes is expanding. One feature of these complexes that has received little attention is the role of water molecules in the interfacial region.
A data set of 4741 water molecules abstracted from 179 high-resolution (≤ 2.30 Å) X-ray crystal structures of protein-protein complexes was analyzed with a suite of modeling tools based on the HINT forcefield and hydrogen-bonding geometry. A metric termed Relevance was used to classify the general roles of the water molecules.
The water molecules were found to be involved in: a) (bridging) interactions with both proteins (21%), b) favorable interactions with only one protein (53%), and c) no interactions with either protein (26%). This trend is shown to be independent of the crystallographic resolution. Interactions with residue backbones are consistent for all classes and account for 21.5% of all interactions. Interactions with polar residues are significantly more common for the first group and interactions with non-polar residues dominate the last group. Waters interacting with both proteins stabilize on average the proteins' interaction (−0.46 kcal mol−1), but the overall average contribution of a single water to the protein-protein interaction energy is unfavorable (+0.03 kcal mol−1). Analysis of the waters without favorable interactions with either protein suggests that this is a conserved phenomenon: 42% of these waters have SASA ≤ 10 Å2 and are thus largely buried, and 69% of these are within predominantly hydrophobic environments or “hydrophobic bubbles”. Such water molecules may have an important biological purpose in mediating protein-protein interactions.
© 2011 Ahmed et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Is Part Of
VCU Medicinal Chemistry Publications