Protein folding problem solved?

David G. Rhodes rhodes at MODEL.PHR.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Jun 12 08:52:26 EST 1995


On Jun 10,  2:48pm, Simon Brocklehurst (Bioc) wrote:
> > Given that the crystal is a somewhat artificial environment,
>
>   Sorry, can't let you get away with saying that - too many people
> will believe what you're saying.  Crystal structures of proteins are,
> for the most part, excellent models for the structure in solution.

Yes - but _why_ is it OK...As one who has, over time, "converted" from
the first point of view to the second, allow me to throw in my $0.02:

While small molecules have extensive contact with nearest neighbors
relative to their size (i.e. large intermolecular interaction compared
to intramolecular interaction) proteins have extensive intramolecular
stabilization, and relatively small intermolecular contacts.  While I
would expect (in general) to see some distortion of the structure at
these contacts (which may be propagated through the structure in some
cases), the stable interactions that maintain the higher order structure
of the molecule serve to stabilize this conformation against "packing
forces" that can easily distort smaller moelcules.

((Caveat - no, I'm not a protein crystallographer, just opinionated.))


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