SPARC: Structural properties associated with residue constraints

SPARC facilitates the generation of plausible hypotheses regarding underlying biochemical mechanisms by structurally characterizing protein sequence constraints. Such constraints appear as residues co-conserved in functionally related subgroups, as subtle pairwise correlations (i.e., direct couplings), and as correlations among these sequence features or with structural features. SPARC performs three types of analyses. First, based on pairwise sequence correlations, it estimates the biological relevance of alternative conformations and of homomeric contacts, as illustrated here for death domains. Second, it estimates the statistical significance of the correspondence between directly coupled residue pairs and interactions at heterodimeric interfaces. Third, given molecular dynamics simulated structures, it characterizes interactions among constrained residues or between such residues and ligands that: (a) are stably maintained during the simulation; (b) undergo correlated formation and/or disruption of interactions with other constrained residues; or (c) switch between alternative interactions. We illustrate this for two homohexameric complexes: the bacterial enhancer binding protein (bEBP) NtrC1, which activates transcription by remodeling RNA polymerase (RNAP) containing σ54, and for DnaB helicase, which opens DNA at the bacterial replication fork. Based on the NtrC1 analysis, we hypothesize possible mechanisms for inhibiting ATP hydrolysis until ADP is released from an adjacent subunit and for coupling ATP hydrolysis to restructuring of σ54 binding loops. Based on the DnaB analysis, we hypothesize that DnaB ‘grabs’ ssDNA by flipping every fourth base and inserting it into cavities between subunits and that flipping of a DnaB-specific glutamine residue triggers ATP hydrolysis.



Work Title SPARC: Structural properties associated with residue constraints
Open Access
  1. Andrew F. Neuwald
  2. Hui Yang
  3. B. Tracy Nixon
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Publication Date January 1, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited September 19, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added CSBJ-D-21-01110_R1_accepted.pdf
  • Added Creator Andrew F. Neuwald
  • Added Creator Hui Yang
  • Added Creator B. Tracy Nixon
  • Published