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1.  Deciphering the shape and deformation of secondary structures through local conformation analysis 
Background
Protein deformation has been extensively analysed through global methods based on RMSD, torsion angles and Principal Components Analysis calculations. Here we use a local approach, able to distinguish among the different backbone conformations within loops, α-helices and β-strands, to address the question of secondary structures' shape variation within proteins and deformation at interface upon complexation.
Results
Using a structural alphabet, we translated the 3 D structures of large sets of protein-protein complexes into sequences of structural letters. The shape of the secondary structures can be assessed by the structural letters that modeled them in the structural sequences. The distribution analysis of the structural letters in the three protein compartments (surface, core and interface) reveals that secondary structures tend to adopt preferential conformations that differ among the compartments. The local description of secondary structures highlights that curved conformations are preferred on the surface while straight ones are preferred in the core. Interfaces display a mixture of local conformations either preferred in core or surface. The analysis of the structural letters transition occurring between protein-bound and unbound conformations shows that the deformation of secondary structure is tightly linked to the compartment preference of the local conformations.
Conclusion
The conformation of secondary structures can be further analysed and detailed thanks to a structural alphabet which allows a better description of protein surface, core and interface in terms of secondary structures' shape and deformation. Induced-fit modification tendencies described here should be valuable information to identify and characterize regions under strong structural constraints for functional reasons.
doi:10.1186/1472-6807-11-9
PMCID: PMC3224362  PMID: 21284872
2.  Structural deformation upon protein-protein interaction: A structural alphabet approach 
Background
In a number of protein-protein complexes, the 3D structures of bound and unbound partners significantly differ, supporting the induced fit hypothesis for protein-protein binding.
Results
In this study, we explore the induced fit modifications on a set of 124 proteins available in both bound and unbound forms, in terms of local structure. The local structure is described thanks to a structural alphabet of 27 structural letters that allows a detailed description of the backbone. Using a control set to distinguish induced fit from experimental error and natural protein flexibility, we show that the fraction of structural letters modified upon binding is significantly greater than in the control set (36% versus 28%). This proportion is even greater in the interface regions (41%). Interface regions preferentially involve coils. Our analysis further reveals that some structural letters in coil are not favored in the interface. We show that certain structural letters in coil are particularly subject to modifications at the interface, and that the severity of structural change also varies. These information are used to derive a structural letter substitution matrix that summarizes the local structural changes observed in our data set. We also illustrate the usefulness of our approach to identify common binding motifs in unrelated proteins.
Conclusion
Our study provides qualitative information about induced fit. These results could be of help for flexible docking.
doi:10.1186/1472-6807-8-12
PMCID: PMC2315654  PMID: 18307769

Results 1-2 (2)