Program Abstracts - Emmanuel Levy – Weizmann

Non-functional protein interactions in crystal structures and in the cell

Emmanuel Levy – Weizmann

Proteins are naturally sticky objects, a fact reflected in the ~100,000 crystallographic structures solved to date. In order to form a crystal, a protein must indeed establish several surfaces of contact with copies of itself. The formation of so-called crystal contacts limits our ability to interpret structural data because it is hard to distinguish these non-functional interactions from real, biological ones. In a first part of the presentation, I will present a novel strategy to reliably discriminate between biological and non-biological interactions in crystal structures. In a second part of the presentation, I will present an analysis of protein sequences showing that non-functional interactions are selected against in cells. We will see how human and yeast proteins tune their sequence to minimize such non-functional interactions.

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