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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Apr;1818(4):927-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.09.026. Epub 2011 Oct 12.

Computational studies of membrane proteins: models and predictions for biological understanding.

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Department of Bioengineering, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


We discuss recent progresses in computational studies of membrane proteins based on physical models with parameters derived from bioinformatics analysis. We describe computational identification of membrane proteins and prediction of their topology from sequence, discovery of sequence and spatial motifs, and implications of these discoveries. The detection of evolutionary signal for understanding the substitution pattern of residues in the TM segments and for sequence alignment is also discussed. We further discuss empirical potential functions for energetics of inserting residues in the TM domain, for interactions between TM helices or strands, and their applications in predicting lipid-facing surfaces of the TM domain. Recent progresses in structure predictions of membrane proteins are also reviewed, with further discussions on calculation of ensemble properties such as melting temperature based on simplified state space model. Additional topics include prediction of oligomerization state of membrane proteins, identification of the interfaces for protein-protein interactions, and design of membrane proteins. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Protein Folding in Membranes.

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