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J Chem Inf Comput Sci. 2004 Mar-Apr;44(2):347-51.

Noncovalent cross-links in context with other structural and functional elements of proteins.

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Institute of Enzymology, Biological Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 7, H-1518 Budapest, Hungary.


Proteins are heteropolymers with evolutionary selected native sequences of residues. These native sequences code for unique and stable 3D structures indispensable for biochemical activity and for proteolysis resistance, the latter which guarantees an appropriate lifetime for the protein in the protease rich cellular environment. Cross-links between residues close in space but far in the primary structure are required to maintain the folded structure of proteins. Some of these cross-links are covalent, most frequently disulfide bonds, but the majority of the cross-links are sets of cooperative noncovalent long-range interactions. In this paper we focus on special clusters of noncovalent long-range interactions: the Stabilization Centers (SCs). The relation between the SCs and secondary structural elements as well as the relation between SCs and functionally important regions of proteins are presented to show a detailed picture of these clusters, which are believed to be primarily responsible for major aspects of protein stability.

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