Conservation of orientation and sequence in protein domain-domain interactions

Stephen J. Littler, Simon J. Hubbard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The repertoire of naturally occurring protein structures is usually characterised in structural terms at the domain level by their constituent folds. As structure is acknowledged to be an important stepping stone to the understanding of protein function, an appreciation of how individual domain interactions are built to form complete, functional protein structures is essential. A comprehensive study of protein domain interactions has been undertaken, covering all those observed in known structures, as well as those predicted to occur in 46 completed genome sequences from all three domains of life. In particular, we examine the promiscuity of protein domains characterised by SCOP superfamilies in terms of their interacting partners, the surface they use to form these interactions, and the relative orientations of their domain partners. Protein domains are shown to display a variety of behaviours, ranging from high promiscuity to absolute monogamy of domain surface employed, with both multiple and single domain partners. In addition, the conservation of sequence and volume at domain interface surfaces is observed to be significantly higher than at accessible surface in general, acting as a powerful potential predictor for domain interactions. We also examine the separation of interacting domains in protein sequence, showing that standard thresholds of 30 amino acid residues lead to a significant false positive rate, and an even more significant false negative rate of approximately 40%. These data suggest that there may be many more than the 2000 domain-domain interactions that have not yet been observed structurally, and we provide a top 30 hit-list of putative domain interactions which should be targeted. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1265-1279
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of molecular biology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2005


    • conservation
    • domain orientation
    • interactions
    • protein domains
    • protein structure


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