The structures of protein antigen-antibody (Ag-Ab) interfaces contain information about how Ab recognize Ag as well as how Ag are folded to present surfaces for Ag recognition. As such, the Ab surface holds information about Ag folding that resides with the Ab-Ag interface residues and how they interact. In order to gain insight into the nature of such interactions, a data set comprised of 53 non-redundant 3D structures of Ag-Ab complexes was analyzed. We assessed the physical and biochemical features of the Ag-Ab interfaces and the degree to which favored interactions exist between amino acid residues on the corresponding interface surfaces. Amino acid compositional analysis of the interfaces confirmed the dominance of TYR in the Ab paratope-containing surface (PCS), with almost two fold greater abundance than any other residue. Additionally TYR had a much higher than expected presence in the PCS compared to the surface of the whole antibody (defined as the occurrence propensity), along with aromatics PHE, TRP, and to a lesser degree HIS and ILE. In the Ag epitope-containing surface (ECS), there were slightly increased occurrence propensities of TRP and TYR relative to the whole Ag surface, implying an increased significance over the compositionally most abundant LYS>ASN>GLU>ASP>ARG. This examination encompasses a large, diverse set of unique Ag-Ab crystal structures that help explain the biological range and specificity of Ag-Ab interactions. This analysis may also provide a measure of the significance of individual amino acid residues in phage display analysis of Ag binding.
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