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Nucleic Acids Res. Aug 11, 1994; 22(15): 3174–3180.
PMCID: PMC310293

Hydrophobicity, expressivity and aromaticity are the major trends of amino-acid usage in 999 Escherichia coli chromosome-encoded genes.


Multivariate analysis of the amino-acid compositions of 999 chromosome-encoded proteins from Escherichia coli showed that three main factors influence the variability of amino-acid composition. The first factor was correlated with the global hydrophobicity of proteins, and it discriminated integral membrane proteins from the others. The second factor was correlated with gene expressivity, showing a bias in highly expressed genes towards amino-acids having abundant major tRNAs. Just as highly expressed genes have reduced codon diversity in protein coding sequences, so do they have a reduced diversity of amino-acid choice. This showed that translational constraints are important enough to affect the global amino-acid composition of proteins. The third factor was correlated with the aromaticity of proteins, showing that aromatic amino-acid content is highly variable.

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