The importance of being proline: the interaction of proline-rich motifs in signaling proteins with their cognate domains

FASEB J. 2000 Feb;14(2):231-41.


Acommon focus among molecular and cellular biologists is the identification of proteins that interact with each other. Yeast two-hybrid, cDNA expression library screening, and coimmunoprecipitation experiments are powerful methods for identifying novel proteins that bind to one's favorite protein for the purpose of learning more regarding its cellular function. These same techniques, coupled with truncation and mutagenesis experiments, have been used to define the region of interaction between pairs of proteins. One conclusion from this work is that many interactions occur over short regions, often less than 10 amino acids in length within one protein. For example, mapping studies and 3-dimensional analyses of antigen-antibody interactions have revealed that epitopes are typically 4-7 residues long (1). Other examples include protein-interaction modules, such as Src homology (SH) 2 and 3 domains, phosphotyrosine binding domains (PTB), postsynaptic density/disc-large/ZO1 (PDZ) domains, WW domains, Eps15 homology (EH) domains, and 14-3-3 proteins that typically recognize linear regions of 3-9 amino acids. Each of these domains has been the subject of recent reviews published elsewhere (2 3 4 5 6 7). Among the primary structures of many ligands for protein-protein interactions, the amino acid proline is critical. In particular, SH3, WW, and several new protein-interaction domains prefer ligand sequences that are proline-rich. In addition, even though ligands for EH domains and 14-3-3 domains are not proline-rich, they do include a single proline residue. This review highlights the analysis of those protein-protein interactions that involve proline residues, the biochemistry of proline, and current drug discovery efforts based on proline peptidomimetics.-Kay, B. K., Williamson, M. P., Sudol, M. The importance of being proline: the interaction of proline-rich motifs in signaling proteins with their cognate domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs*
  • Binding Sites
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Mimicry
  • Proline*
  • Protein Binding*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tryptophan
  • src Homology Domains


  • Ligands
  • Tryptophan
  • Proline