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J Mol Biol. 1997 Aug 29;271(4):511-23.

Correlated mutations contain information about protein-protein interaction.

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Protein Design Group CNB-CSIC, Campus U. Autónoma, Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049, Spain.


Many proteins have evolved to form specific molecular complexes and the specificity of this interaction is essential for their function. The network of the necessary inter-residue contacts must consequently constrain the protein sequences to some extent. In other words, the sequence of an interacting protein must reflect the consequence of this process of adaptation. It is reasonable to assume that the sequence changes accumulated during the evolution of one of the interacting proteins must be compensated by changes in the other. Here we apply a method for detecting correlated changes in multiple sequence alignments to a set of interacting protein domains and show that positions where changes occur in a correlated fashion in the two interacting molecules tend to be close to the protein-protein interfaces. This leads to the possibility of developing a method for predicting contacting pairs of residues from the sequence alone. Such a method would not need the knowledge of the structure of the interacting proteins, and hence would be both radically different and more widely applicable than traditional docking methods. We indeed demonstrate here that the information about correlated sequence changes is sufficient to single out the right inter-domain docking solution amongst many wrong alternatives of two-domain proteins. The same approach is also used here in one case (haemoglobin) where we attempt to predict the interface of two different proteins rather than two protein domains. Finally, we report here a prediction about the inter-domain contact regions of the heat- shock protein Hsc70 based only on sequence information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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