Structural flexibility in proteins: impact of the crystal environment

Abstract : Motivation: In the study of the structural flexibility of proteins, crystallographic Debye-Waller factors are the most important experimental information used in the calibration and validation of computational models, such as the very successful elastic network models (ENMs). However, these models are applied to single protein molecules, whereas the experiments are performed on crystals. Moreover, the energy scale in standard ENMs is undefined and must be obtained by fitting to the same data that the ENM is trying to predict, reducing the predictive power of the model. Results: We develop an elastic network model for the whole protein crystal in order to study the influence of crystal packing and lattice vibrations on the thermal fluctuations of the atom positions. We use experimental values for the compressibility of the crystal to establish the energy scale of our model. We predict the elastic constants of the crystal and compare with experimental data. Our main findings are (1) crystal packing modifies the atomic fluctuations considerably and (2) thermal fluctuations are not the dominant contribution to crystallographic Debye-Waller factors. Availability: The programs developed for this work are available as supplementary material at Bioinformatics Online.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas
Contributor : Isabelle Frapart <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 29, 2008 - 4:30:47 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 7:14:02 PM

Links full text



Konrad Hinsen. Structural flexibility in proteins: impact of the crystal environment. Bioinformatics, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008, 24 (4), pp.521-528. ⟨10.1093/bioinformatics/btm625⟩. ⟨hal-00283340⟩



Record views