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Hydrophobicity scales: a thermodynamic looking glass into lipid–protein interactions

Authors
Journal
Trends in Biochemical Sciences
0968-0004
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
36
Issue
12
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tibs.2011.08.003
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

Abstract

The partitioning of amino acid sidechains into the membrane is a key aspect of membrane protein folding. However, lipid bilayers exhibit rapidly changing physicochemical properties over their nanometer-scale thickness, which complicates understanding the thermodynamics and microscopic details of membrane partitioning. Recent data from diverse approaches, including protein insertion by the Sec translocon, folding of a small beta-barrel membrane protein and computer simulations of the exact distribution of a variety of small molecules and peptides, have joined older hydrophobicity scales for membrane protein prediction. We examine the correlations among the scales and find that they are remarkably correlated even though there are large differences in magnitude. We discuss the implications of these scales for understanding membrane protein structure and function.

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