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Protein Eng. 1999 Jul;12(7):563-71.

The immunoglobulin fold family: sequence analysis and 3D structure comparisons.

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Systèmes Moléculaires et Biologie Structurale, LMCP, CNRS UMR C7590 Universités Pierre et Marie Curie (P6) et Denis Diderot (P7), Tour 16,Case 115, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris cedex 05, France.


Fifty-two 3D structures of Ig-like domains covering the immunoglobulin fold family (IgFF) were compared and classified according to the conservation of their secondary structures. Members of the IgFF are distantly related proteins or evolutionarily unrelated proteins with a similar fold, the Ig fold. In this paper, a multiple structural alignment of the conserved common core is described and the correlation between corresponding sequences is discussed. While the members of the IgFF exhibit wide heterogeneity in terms of tissue and species distribution or functional implications, the 3D structures of these domains are far more conserved than their sequences. We define topologically equivalent residues in the Ig-like domains, describe the hydrophobic common cores and discuss the presence of additional strands. The disulfide bridges, not necessary for the stability of the Ig fold, may have an effect on the compactness of the domains. Based upon sequence and structure analysis, we propose the introduction of two new subtypes (C3 and C4) to the previous classifications, in addition to a new global structural classification. The very low mean sequence identity between subgroups of the IgFF suggests the occurrence of both divergent and convergent evolutionary processes, explaining the wide diversity of the superfamily. Finally, this review suggest that hydrophobic residues constituting the common hydrophobic cores are important clues to explain how highly divergent sequences can adopt a similar fold.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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