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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Clusters of charged residues in protein three-dimensional structures.

Statistically significant charge clusters (basic, acidic, or of mixed charge) in tertiary protein structures are identified by new methods from a large representative collection of protein structures. About 10% of protein structures show at least one charge cluster, mostly of mixed type involving about equally anionic and cationic residues. Positive charge clusters are very rare. Negative (or histidine-acidic) charge clusters often coordinate calcium, or magnesium or zinc ions [e.g., thermolysin (PDB code: 3tln), mannose-binding protein (2msb), aminopeptidase (1amp)]. Mixed-charge clusters are prominent at interchain contacts where they stabilize quaternary protein formation [e.g., glutathione S-transferase (2gst), catalase (8act), and fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (1fba)]. They are also involved in protein-protein interaction and in substrate binding. For example, the mixed-charge cluster of aspartate carbamoyl-transferase (8atc) envelops the aspartate carbonyl substrate in a flexible manner (alternating tense and relaxed states) where charge associations can vary from weak to strong. Other proteins with charge clusters include the P450 cytochrome family (BM-3, Terp, Cam), several flavocytochromes, neuraminidase, hemagglutinin, the photosynthetic reaction center, and annexin. In each case in Table 2 we discuss the possible role of the charge clusters with respect to protein structure and function.[1]


  1. Clusters of charged residues in protein three-dimensional structures. Zhu, Z.Y., Karlin, S. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1996) [Pubmed]
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