Stereochemical modeling of disulfide bridges. Criteria for introduction into proteins by site-directed mutagenesis

Protein Eng. 1989 Nov;3(2):95-103. doi: 10.1093/protein/3.2.95.


A computer modeling procedure for assessing the stereochemical suitability of pairs of residues in proteins as potential sites for introduction of cystine disulfide crosslinks has been developed. Residue pairs with C alpha-C alpha distances of less than or equal to 6.5 A and C beta-C beta distances of less than or equal to 4.5 A are chosen for geometrical fixation of S atoms using the program MODIP. The stereochemistry of the modeled disulfides is evaluated using limits for the structural parameters of the various torsion angles and S-S bond length in the disulfide bridge. The ability of the procedure to correctly model disulfides has been checked with examples of cystine peptides of known crystal structures and 103 disulfide bridges from 25 available protein crystal structures determined at less than or equal to 2 A resolution. An analysis of results on three proteins with engineered disulfides, T4 lysozyme, dihydrofolate reductase and subtilisin, is presented. Two positions for the introduction of 'stereochemically optimal' disulfides are identified in subtilisin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disulfides*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Disulfides