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Polar residues in the membrane core are conserved and directly involved in function
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7115-9751
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Here, we have analyzed strongly polar residues within the membrane core of alpha-helicalmembrane proteins. Although underrepresented, they constitute as much as 9% of all coreresidues and they are found to be more conserved than other core residues. The reason for theconservation is twofold. First, the residues are mainly buried within the proteins and secon-darily they are found to often be directly involved in the function of the protein. Even if mostpolar sidechains are buried, the actual polar groups often border water filled cavities. In addi-tion, polar residues are often directly involved in binding of small compounds in channels andtransporters or long-term interactions with prosthetic groups. The interactions with prostheticgroups in photosynthetic proteins and oxidoreductase proteins are dominated by histidines andflexibility is provided mainly by prolines. It was also predicted that in human membrane pro-teins the polar core residues are overrepresented among active transporter proteins as well asamong GPCRs, while underrepresented in families with few transmembrane regions, such asnon-GPCR receptors. In GPCRs asparagin, histidine and proline residues are overrepresentedwhile in the active transporters prolines and glutamates are most frequent.

Keyword [en]
Membrane proteins, polar residues, conservation, accessibility, functional residues
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35894OAI: diva2:288603
Available from: 2010-01-21 Created: 2010-01-20 Last updated: 2014-11-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the effects of structure and function on protein evolution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the effects of structure and function on protein evolution
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many proteins can be described as working machines that make sure that everything functions in the cell. Their specific molecular functions are largely dependent on their three-dimensional structures, which in turn are mainly predetermined by their linear sequences of amino acid residues. Therefore, there is a relation between the sequence, structure and function of a protein, in which knowledge about the structure is crucial for understanding the functions. The structure is generally difficult to determine experimentally, but should in principle be possible to predict from the sequence by computational methods. The instructions of how to build the linear proteins sequences are copied during cell division and are passed on to successive generations. Although the copying process is a very efficient and accurate system, it does not function correctly on every occasion. Sometimes errors, or mutations can result from the process. These mutations gradually accumulate over time, so that the sequences and thereby also the structures and functions of proteins evolve overtime. This thesis is based on four papers concerning the relationship between function, structure and sequence and how it changes during the evolution of proteins. Paper I shows that the structural change is linearly related to sequence change and that structures are 3 to 10 times more conserved than sequences. In Paper II and Paper III we investigated non-helical structures and polar residues, respectively, positioned in the nonpolar membrane core environment of α-helical membrane proteins. Both types were found to be evolutionary conserved and functionally important. Paper IV includes the development of a method to predict the residues in α-helical membrane proteins that after folding become exposed to the solvent environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, 2010. 48 p.
protein, structure, function, evolution, membrane
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35872 (URN)978-91-7155-980-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-02-19, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-01-28 Created: 2010-01-20 Last updated: 2014-11-10Bibliographically approved

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Illergård, KristofferElofsson, Arne
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