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Proteins. 2005 Nov 15;61(3):535-44.

Evolutionary plasticity of protein families: coupling between sequence and structure variation.

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Computational Biology Branch, National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20894, USA.


In this work we examine how protein structural changes are coupled with sequence variation in the course of evolution of a family of homologs. The sequence-structure correlation analysis performed on 81 homologous protein families shows that the majority of them exhibit statistically significant linear correlation between the measures of sequence and structural similarity. We observed, however, that there are cases where structural variability cannot be mainly explained by sequence variation, such as protein families with a number of disulfide bonds. To understand whether structures from different families and/or folds evolve in the same manner, we compared the degrees of structural change per unit of sequence change ("the evolutionary plasticity of structure") between those families with a significant linear correlation. Using rigorous statistical procedures we find that, with a few exceptions, evolutionary plasticity does not show a statistically significant difference between protein families. Similar sequence-structure analysis performed for protein loop regions shows that evolutionary plasticity of loop regions is greater than for the protein core.

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