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BMC Bioinformatics. 2011 Feb 15;12 Suppl 1:S23. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-12-S1-S23.

Modeling allosteric signal propagation using protein structure networks.

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Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST, S Korea.


Allosteric communication in proteins can be induced by the binding of effective ligands, mutations or covalent modifications that regulate a site distant from the perturbed region. To understand allosteric regulation, it is important to identify the remote sites that are affected by the perturbation-induced signals and how these allosteric perturbations are transmitted within the protein structure. In this study, by constructing a protein structure network and modeling signal transmission with a Markov random walk, we developed a method to estimate the signal propagation and the resulting effects. In our model, the global perturbation effects from a particular signal initiation site were estimated by calculating the expected visiting time (EVT), which describes the signal-induced effects caused by signal transmission through all possible routes. We hypothesized that the residues with high EVT values play important roles in allosteric signaling. We applied our model to two protein structures as examples, and verified the validity of our model using various types of experimental data. We also found that the hot spots in protein binding interfaces have significantly high EVT values, which suggests that they play roles in mediating signal communication between protein domains.

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