Burial level change defines a high energetic relevance for protein binding interfaces

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, 2015, 12 (2), pp. 410 - 421
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© 2004-2012 IEEE. Protein-protein interfaces defined through atomic contact or solvent accessibility change are widely adopted in structural biology studies. But, these definitions cannot precisely capture energetically important regions at protein interfaces. The burial depth of an atom in a protein is related to the atom's energy. This work investigates how closely the change in burial level of an atom/residue upon complexation is related to the binding. Burial level change is different from burial level itself. An atom deeply buried in a monomer with a high burial level may not change its burial level after an interaction and it may have little burial level change. We hypothesize that an interface is a region of residues all undergoing burial level changes after interaction. By this definition, an interface can be decomposed into an onion-like structure according to the burial level change extent. We found that our defined interfaces cover energetically important residues more precisely, and that the binding free energy of an interface is distributed progressively from the outermost layer to the core. These observations are used to predict binding hot spots. Our approach's F-measure performance on a benchmark dataset of alanine mutagenesis residues is much superior or similar to those by complicated energy modeling or machine learning approaches.
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