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Protein Sci. 2004 Oct;13(10):2744-52. Epub 2004 Aug 31.

Prediction of pKa and redox properties in the thioredoxin superfamily.

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  • 1Biomolecular Sciences Department, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Sackville Street, Manchester M60 1QD, UK.


Electrostatic interactions play important roles in diverse biological phenomena controlling the function of many proteins. Polar molecules can be studied with the FDPB method solving the Poisson-Boltzmann equation on a finite difference grid. A method for the prediction of pK(a)s and redox potentials in the thioredoxin superfamily is introduced. The results are compared with experimental pK(a) data where available, and predictions are made for members lacking such data. Studying CxxC motif variation in the context of different background structures permits analysis of contributions to cysteine DeltapK(a)s. The motif itself and the overall framework regulate pK(a) variation. The reported method includes generation of multiple side-chain rotamers for the CxxC motif and is an effective predictive tool for functional pK(a) variation across the superfamily. Redox potential follows the trend in cysteine pK(a) variation, but some residual discrepancy indicates that a pH-independent factor plays a role in determining redox potentials for at least some members of the superfamily. A possible molecular basis for this feature is discussed.

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