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Bioinformation. 2005 Aug 11;1(2):28-39.

Protein subunit interfaces: heterodimers versus homodimers.

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  • 1School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798.


Protein dimers are either homodimers (complexation of identical monomers) or heterodimers (complexation of non-identical monomers). These dimers are common in catalysis and regulation. However, the molecular principles of protein dimer interactions are difficult to understand mainly due to the geometrical and chemical characteristics of proteins. Nonetheless, the principles of protein dimer interactions are often studied using a dataset of 3D structural complexes determined by X-ray crystallography. A number of physical and chemical properties govern protein dimer interactions. Yet, a handful of such properties are known to dominate protein dimer interfaces. Here, we discuss the differences between homodimer and heterodimer interfaces using a selected set of interface properties.

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