Occluded molecular surface: analysis of protein packing

J Mol Recognit. Nov-Dec 1995;8(6):334-44. doi: 10.1002/jmr.300080603.


We describe a novel method to calculate the packing interactions in protein structural models. The method calculates the interatomic occluded surface areas for each atom in the protein model. The identification of, and degree of interaction with, neighboring atoms is accomplished by extending surface normals from a dot surface of each atom to the point of intersection with neighboring atoms. The combined occluded and non-occluded surface areas may be normalized for the amino acid composition of the protein providing a single parameter, the normalized protein surface ratio, which is diagnostic for native-like structures. Individual residues in the model which are in infrequent occluded surface environments may be identified. The method provides a means to explicitly describe packing densities and packing environments of individual atoms in a protein model. Finally, the method allows estimation of the complementarity between any interacting molecules, for example a ligand binding to a receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Mathematical Computing*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Protein Folding
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins