The average contribution of individual residue to folding stability and its dependence on buried accessible surface area (ASA) are obtained by two different approaches. One is based on experimental mutation data, and the other uses a new knowledge-based atom-atom potential of mean force. We show that the contribution of a residue has a significant correlation with buried ASA and the regression slopes of 20 amino acid residues (called the buriability) are all positive (pro-burial). The buriability parameter provides a quantitative measure of the driving force for the burial of a residue. The large buriability gap observed between hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues is responsible for the burial of hydrophobic residues in soluble proteins. Possible factors that contribute to the buriability gap are discussed.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.