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Proteins. 2000 May 15;39(3):244-51.

Hiking in the energy landscape in sequence space: a bumpy road to good folders.

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The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenaghen, Denmark.


With the help of a simple 20-letter lattice model of heteropolymers, we investigated the energy landscape in the space of designed good-folder sequences. Low-energy sequences form clusters, interconnected via neutral networks, in the space of sequences. Residues that play a key role in the foldability of the chain and in the stability of the native state are highly conserved, even among the chains belonging to different clusters. If, according to the interaction matrix, some strong attractive interactions are almost degenerate (i.e., they can be realized by more than one type of amino acid contacts), sequence clusters group into a few superclusters. Sequences belonging to different superclusters are dissimilar, displaying very small ( approximately 10%) similarity, and residues in key sites are, as a rule, not conserved. Similar behavior is observed in the analysis of real protein sequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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