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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Jul 1;29(13):2860-74.

Amino acid-base interactions: a three-dimensional analysis of protein-DNA interactions at an atomic level.

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1
Biomolecular Structures and Modelling Unit, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University College, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Abstract

To assess whether there are universal rules that govern amino acid-base recognition, we investigate hydrogen bonds, van der Waals contacts and water-mediated bonds in 129 protein-DNA complex structures. DNA-backbone interactions are the most numerous, providing stability rather than specificity. For base interactions, there are significant base-amino acid type correlations, which can be rationalised by considering the stereochemistry of protein side chains and the base edges exposed in the DNA structure. Nearly two-thirds of the direct read-out of DNA sequences involves complex networks of hydrogen bonds, which enhance specificity. Two-thirds of all protein-DNA interactions comprise van der Waals contacts, compared to about one-sixth each of hydrogen and water-mediated bonds. This highlights the central importance of these contacts for complex formation, which have previously been relegated to a secondary role. Although common, water-mediated bonds are usually non-specific, acting as space-fillers at the protein-DNA interface. In conclusion, the majority of amino acid-base interactions observed follow general principles that apply across all protein-DNA complexes, although there are individual exceptions. Therefore, we distinguish between interactions whose specificities are 'universal' and 'context-dependent'. An interactive Web-based atlas of side chain-base contacts provides access to the collected data, including analyses and visualisation of the three-dimensional geometry of the interactions.

PMID:
11433033
PMCID:
PMC55782
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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