While the geometry and sequence preferences of turns that link two beta-strands have been exhaustively explored, the corresponding preferences for sequences that link helical structures have been less well studied. Here we examine the interhelical geometry of two connected helices as a function of their link's length. The interhelical geometry of a helical pair appears to be significantly influenced by the number of linking residues. Furthermore, for relatively short link lengths, a very limited number of predominant conformations are observed, which can be categorized by their phi/psi angles. No more than two predominant linking backbone conformations are observed for a given link length, and some linking backbone conformations correlate strongly with distinctive interhelical geometric parameters. In this study, sequence and hydrogen-bonding patterns were defined for predominant interhelical link motifs. These results should assist in both protein structure prediction and de novo protein design.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.