How structure defines affinity in protein-protein interactions

Ariel Erijman*, Eran Rosenthal, Julia M. Shifman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Protein-protein interactions (PPI) in nature are conveyed by a multitude of binding modes involving various surfaces, secondary structure elements and intermolecular interactions. This diversity results in PPI binding affinities that span more than nine orders of magnitude. Several early studies attempted to correlate PPI binding affinities to various structurederived features with limited success. The growing number of high-resolution structures, the appearance of more precise methods for measuring binding affinities and the development of new computational algorithms enable more thorough investigations in this direction. Here, we use a large dataset of PPI structures with the documented binding affinities to calculate a number of structure-based features that could potentially define binding energetics. We explore how well each calculated biophysical feature alone correlates with binding affinity and determine the features that could be used to distinguish between high-, medium- and low- affinity PPIs. Furthermore, we test how various combinations of features could be applied to predict binding affinity and observe a slow improvement in correlation as more features are incorporated into the equation. In addition, we observe a considerable improvement in predictions if we exclude from our analysis low-resolution and NMR structures, revealing the importance of capturing exact intermolecular interactions in our calculations. Our analysis should facilitate prediction of new interactions on the genome scale, better characterization of signaling networks and design of novel binding partners for various target proteins.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere110085
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Erijman et al.


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