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J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2018 Feb;36(2):443-464. doi: 10.1080/07391102.2017.1285725. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

Comprehensive analysis of the numbers, lengths and amino acid compositions of transmembrane helices in prokaryotic, eukaryotic and viral integral membrane proteins of high-resolution structure.

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a Department of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Research Centre for Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine , Hamadan University of Medical Sciences , Hamadan , Iran.
b School of BioMedical Sciences and the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology , University of Leeds , Leeds , UK.


We report a comprehensive analysis of the numbers, lengths and amino acid compositions of transmembrane helices in 235 high-resolution structures of integral membrane proteins. The properties of 1551 transmembrane helices in the structures were compared with those obtained by analysis of the same amino acid sequences using topology prediction tools. Explanations for the 81 (5.2%) missing or additional transmembrane helices in the prediction results were identified. Main reasons for missing transmembrane helices were mis-identification of N-terminal signal peptides, breaks in α-helix conformation or charged residues in the middle of transmembrane helices and transmembrane helices with unusual amino acid composition. The main reason for additional transmembrane helices was mis-identification of amphipathic helices, extramembrane helices or hairpin re-entrant loops. Transmembrane helix length had an overall median of 24 residues and an average of 24.9 ± 7.0 residues and the most common length was 23 residues. The overall content of residues in transmembrane helices as a percentage of the full proteins had a median of 56.8% and an average of 55.7 ± 16.0%. Amino acid composition was analysed for the full proteins, transmembrane helices and extramembrane regions. Individual proteins or types of proteins with transmembrane helices containing extremes in contents of individual amino acids or combinations of amino acids with similar physicochemical properties were identified and linked to structure and/or function. In addition to overall median and average values, all results were analysed for proteins originating from different types of organism (prokaryotic, eukaryotic, viral) and for subgroups of receptors, channels, transporters and others.


amino acid composition; membrane proteins; protein structure; topology prediction; transmembrane helices

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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