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Multiple protein-DNA interfaces unravelled by evolutionary information, physico-chemical and geometrical properties

Abstract : Interactions between proteins and nucleic acids are at the heart of many essential biological processes. Despite increasing structural information about how these interactions may take place, our understanding of the usage made of protein surfaces by nucleic acids is still very limited. This is in part due to the inherent complexity associated to protein surface deformability and evolution. In this work, we present a method that contributes to decipher such complexity by predicting protein-DNA interfaces and characterizing their properties. It relies on three biologically and physically meaningful descriptors, namely evolutionary conservation, physico-chemical properties and surface geometry. We carefully assessed its performance on several hundreds of protein structures and compared it to several machine-learning state-of-the-art methods. Our approach achieves a higher sensitivity compared to the other methods, with a similar precision. Importantly, we show that it is able to unravel 'hidden' binding sites by applying it to unbound protein structures and to proteins binding to DNA via multiple sites and in different conformations. It is also applicable to the detection of RNA-binding sites, without significant loss of performance. This confirms that DNA and RNA-binding sites share similar properties. Our method is implemented as a fully automated tool, [Formula: see text], freely accessible at: We also provide a new dataset of 187 protein-DNA complex structures, along with a subset of 82 associated unbound structures. The set represents the largest body of high-resolution crystallographic structures of protein-DNA complexes, use biological protein assemblies as DNA-binding units, and covers all major types of protein-DNA interactions. It is available at:
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Contributor : Gestionnaire Hal-Su <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 1:02:25 PM
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Flavia Corsi, Richard Lavery, Elodie Laine, Alessandra Carbone. Multiple protein-DNA interfaces unravelled by evolutionary information, physico-chemical and geometrical properties. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2020, 16 (2), pp.e1007624. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007624⟩. ⟨hal-02613775⟩



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