Hydrophilicity Matching – A Potential Prerequisite for the Formation of Protein-Protein Complexes in the Cell
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A binding event between two proteins typically consists of a diffusional search of binding partners for one another, followed by a specific recognition of the compatible binding sites resulting in the formation of the complex. However, it is unclear how binding partners find each other in the context of the crowded, constantly fluctuating, and interaction-rich cellular environment. Here we examine the non-specific component of protein-protein interactions, which refers to those physicochemical properties of the binding partners that are independent of the exact details of their binding sites, but which can affect their localization or diffusional search for one another. We show that, for a large set of high-resolution experimental 3D structures of binary, transient protein complexes taken from the DOCKGROUND database, the binding partners display a surprising, statistically significant similarity in terms of their total hydration free energies normalized by a size-dependent variable. We hypothesize that colocalization of binding partners, even within individual cellular compartments such as the cytoplasm, may be influenced by their relative hydrophilicity, potentially in response to local hydrophilic gradients.
Mario Hlevnjak is with Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences, Gordan Zitkovic is with UT Austin, Bojan Zagrovic is with Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences and University of Split.
CitationHlevnjak M, Zitkovic G, Zagrovic B (2010) Hydrophilicity Matching – A Potential Prerequisite for the Formation of Protein-Protein Complexes in the Cell. PLoS ONE 5(6): e11169. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011169
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