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Int J Pept Protein Res. 1994 Jan;43(1):97-106.

Relevance of sequence statistics for the properties of extremophilic proteins.

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Institute for Biophysics and Physical Biochemistry, University of Regensburg, Germany.


The amino acid composition of proteins from mesophilic and extremophilic organisms is commonly assumed to reflect the mechanisms of molecular adaptation to extremes of physical conditions. In this context, halophilic behaviour has been attributed to significantly increased numbers of aspartic and glutamic acid residues. However, extending the analysis to a statistically relevant set of related proteins, dihydrofolate reductase from Halobacterium volcanii, as an example, shows that the increase in negative charge is found to be less significant than other exchanges of amino acids (e.g., Ala, Asn, Arg, Lys, Phe, Ser). Thus, the high water binding capacity of negatively charged residues cannot be unambiguously correlated with the anomalous stability of halophilic proteins. A similar caveat holds for generalizations regarding the thermal stability of proteins. In this case, D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima was compared with a number of mesophilic and moderately thermophilic homologs. Again, 'traffic rules of stabilization', in terms of amino acid changes in going from mesophilic to thermophilic proteins, cannot be given.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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