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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2002 Feb;12(1):14-20.

Unraveling hot spots in binding interfaces: progress and challenges.

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Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, 341 Oyster Point Boulevard South, San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


Protein interface hot spots, as revealed by alanine scanning mutagenesis, continue to stimulate interest in the biophysical basis of molecular recognition. Although these regions apparently constitute fertile grounds for intermolecular interactions, no general algorithm has yet been developed that can predict hot spots based solely on their shape or composition. The discovery of structural plasticity in hot spot regions indicates that dynamic simulation techniques may be essential for achieving a predictive understanding of binding interface energetics. Future progress will depend as much on the application of new computational approaches for dissecting protein interfaces as on expanding our empirical databank of mutagenic substitutions and their effects. Despite our current theoretical shortcomings, recent methodological advances provide efficient experimental means of probing hot spots and enable immediate applications for hot spots in drug discovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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