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Comput Biol Chem. 2010 Jun;34(3):172-83. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiolchem.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Jun 19.

Fine grained sampling of residue characteristics using molecular dynamics simulation.

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  • 1Chemistry Department, University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211, United States.


In a fine-grained computational analysis of protein structure, we investigated the relationships between a residue's backbone conformations and its side-chain packing as well as conformations. To produce continuous distributions in high resolution, we ran molecular dynamics simulations over a set of protein folds (dynameome). In effect, the dynameome dataset samples not only the states well represented in the PDB but also the known states that are not well represented in the structural database. In our analysis, we characterized the mutual influence among the backbone phi,psi angles with the first side-chain torsion angles (chi(1)) and the volumes occupied by the side-chains. The dependencies of these relationships on side-chain environment and amino acids are further explored. We found that residue volumes exhibit dependency on backbone 2 degrees structure conformation: side-chains pack more densely in extended beta-sheet than in alpha-helical structures. As expected, residue volumes on the protein surface were larger than those in the interior. The first side-chain torsion angles are found to be dependent on the backbone conformations in agreement with previous studies, but the dynameome dataset provides higher resolution of rotamer preferences based on the backbone conformation. All three gauche(-), gauche(+), and trans rotamers show different patterns of phi,psi dependency, and variations in chi(1) value are skewed from their canonical values to relieve the steric strains. By demonstrating the utility of dynameomic modeling on the native state ensemble, this study reveals details of the interplay among backbone conformations, residue volumes and side-chain conformations.

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