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Structure. 2010 Feb 10;18(2):188-99. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2009.11.012.

The structural basis of peptide-protein binding strategies.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Institute for Medical Research IMRIC, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University, POB 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


Peptide-protein interactions are very prevalent, mediating key processes such as signal transduction and protein trafficking. How can peptides overcome the entropic cost involved in switching from an unstructured, flexible peptide to a rigid, well-defined bound structure? A structure-based analysis of peptide-protein interactions unravels that most peptides do not induce conformational changes on their partner upon binding, thus minimizing the entropic cost of binding. Furthermore, peptides display interfaces that are better packed than protein-protein interfaces and contain significantly more hydrogen bonds, mainly those involving the peptide backbone. Additionally, "hot spot" residues contribute most of the binding energy. Finally, peptides tend to bind in the largest pockets available on the protein surface. Our study is based on peptiDB, a new and comprehensive data set of 103 high-resolution peptide-protein complex structures. In addition to improved understanding of peptide-protein interactions, our findings have direct implications for the structural modeling, design, and manipulation of these interactions.

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