Modeling effects of human single nucleotide polymorphisms on protein-protein interactions

Biophys J. 2009 Mar 18;96(6):2178-88. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.12.3904.


A large set of three-dimensional structures of 264 protein-protein complexes with known nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) at the interface was built using homology-based methods. The nsSNPs were mapped on the proteins' structures and their effect on the binding energy was investigated with CHARMM force field and continuum electrostatic calculations. Two sets of nsSNPs were studied: disease annotated Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) and nonannotated (non-OMIM). It was demonstrated that OMIM nsSNPs tend to destabilize the electrostatic component of the binding energy, in contrast with the effect of non-OMIM nsSNPs. In addition, it was shown that the change of the binding energy upon amino acid substitutions is not related to the conservation of the net charge, hydrophobicity, or hydrogen bond network at the interface. The results indicate that, generally, the effect of nsSNPs on protein-protein interactions cannot be predicted from amino acids' physico-chemical properties alone, since in many cases a substitution of a particular residue with another amino acid having completely different polarity or hydrophobicity had little effect on the binding energy. Analysis of sequence conservation showed that nsSNP at highly conserved positions resulted in a large variance of the binding energy changes. In contrast, amino acid substitutions corresponding to nsSNPs at nonconserved positions, on average, were not found to have a large effect on binding affinity. pKa calculations were performed and showed that amino acid substitutions could change the wild-type proton uptake/release and thus resulting in different pH-dependence of the binding energy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Glutathione Transferase / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Static Electricity
  • beta-Globins / chemistry


  • Proteins
  • beta-Globins
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • glutathione S-transferase Mu 2