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Protein Sci. 1997 Jan;6(1):233-41.

Beta-turn propensities as paradigms for the analysis of structural motifs to engineer protein stability.

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Genzentrum der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t, M√ľnchen, Germany.


The thermodynamic stability of a protein provides an experimental metric for the relationship of protein sequence and native structure. We have investigated an approach based on an analysis of the structural database for stability engineering of an immunoglobulin variable domain. The most frequently occurring residues in specific positions of beta-turn motifs were predicted to increase the folding stability of mutants that were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis. Even in positions in which different residues are conserved in immunoglobulin sequences, the predictions were confirmed. Frequently, mutants with increased beta-turn propensities display increased folding cooperativities, suggesting pronounced effects on the unfolded state independent of the expected effect on conformational entropy. We conclude that structural motifs with predominantly local interactions can serve as templates with which patterns of sequence preferences can be extracted from the database of protein structures. Such preferences can predict the stability effects of mutations for protein engineering and design.

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