Protein flexibility and intrinsic disorder

Authors

  • Predrag Radivojac,

    1. Center for Information Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
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  • Zoran Obradovic,

    1. Center for Information Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
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  • David K. Smith,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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  • Guang Zhu,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clearwater Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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  • Slobodan Vucetic,

    1. Center for Information Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA
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  • Celeste J. Brown,

    1. School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4630, USA
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    • Present addresses: IBEST, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA;

  • J. David Lawson,

    1. School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4630, USA
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    • Concurrent Pharmaceuticals, 502 W. Office Center Drive, Fort Washington, PA 19034, USA;

  • A. Keith Dunker

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4630, USA
    • Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA; fax: (317) 274-4686.
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    • Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Abstract

Comparisons were made among four categories of protein flexibility: (1) low-B-factor ordered regions, (2) high-B-factor ordered regions, (3) short disordered regions, and (4) long disordered regions. Amino acid compositions of the four categories were found to be significantly different from each other, with high-B-factor ordered and short disordered regions being the most similar pair. The high-B-factor (flexible) ordered regions are characterized by a higher average flexibility index, higher average hydrophilicity, higher average absolute net charge, and higher total charge than disordered regions. The low-B-factor regions are significantly enriched in hydrophobic residues and depleted in the total number of charged residues compared to the other three categories. We examined the predictability of the high-B-factor regions and developed a predictor that discriminates between regions of low and high B-factors. This predictor achieved an accuracy of 70% and a correlation of 0.43 with experimental data, outperforming the 64% accuracy and 0.32 correlation of predictors based solely on flexibility indices. To further clarify the differences between short disordered regions and ordered regions, a predictor of short disordered regions was developed. Its relatively high accuracy of 81% indicates considerable differences between ordered and disordered regions. The distinctive amino acid biases of high-B-factor ordered regions, short disordered regions, and long disordered regions indicate that the sequence determinants for these flexibility categories differ from one another, whereas the significantly-greater-than-chance predictability of these categories from sequence suggest that flexible ordered regions, short disorder, and long disorder are, to a significant degree, encoded at the primary structure level.

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