Intrinsic energy landscapes of amino acid side-chains.

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TitleIntrinsic energy landscapes of amino acid side-chains.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsZhu, X, Lopes, PEM, Shim, J, Mackerell, AD
JournalJ Chem Inf Model
Date Published2012 Jun 25
KeywordsAmino Acids, Crystallography, X-Ray, Models, Molecular, Molecular Conformation, Proteins, Quantum Theory

Amino acid side-chain conformational properties influence the overall structural and dynamic properties of proteins and, therefore, their biological functions. In this study, quantum mechanical (QM) potential energy surfaces for the rotation of side-chain χ(1) and χ(2) torsions in dipeptides in the alphaR, beta, and alphaL backbone conformations were calculated. The QM energy surfaces provide a broad view of the intrinsic conformational properties of each amino acid side-chain. The extent to which intrinsic energetics dictates side-chain orientation was studied through comparisons of the QM energy surfaces with χ(1) and χ(2) free energy surfaces from probability distributions obtained from a survey of high resolution crystal structures. In general, the survey probability maxima are centered in minima of the QM surfaces as expected for sp(3) (or sp(2) for χ(2) of Asn, Phe, Trp, and Tyr) atom centers with strong variations between amino acids occurring in the energies of the minima indicating intrinsic differences in rotamer preferences. High correlations between the QM and survey data were found for hydrophobic side-chains except Met, suggesting minimal influence of the protein and solution environments on their conformational distributions. Conversely, low correlations for polar or charged side-chains indicate a dominant role of the environment in stabilizing conformations that are not intrinsically favored. Data also link the presence of off-rotamers in His and Trp to favorable interactions with the backbone. Results also suggest that the intrinsic energetics of the side-chains of Phe and Tyr may play important roles in protein folding and stability. Analyses on whether intrinsic side-chain energetics can influence backbone preference identified a strong correlation for residues in the alphaL backbone conformation. It is suggested that this correlation reflects the intrinsic instability of the alphaL backbone such that assumption of this backbone conformation is facilitated by intrinsically favorable side-chain conformations. Together our results offer a broad overview of the conformational properties of amino acid side-chains and the QM data may be used as target data for force field optimization.

Alternate JournalJ Chem Inf Model
PubMed ID22582825
PubMed Central IDPMC3398815
Grant ListR01 GM072558 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
GM051501 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
R01 GM051501 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
R29 GM051501 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
GM072558 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States