The superfamily of leucine-rich repeat proteins can be subdivided into at least six subfamilies, characterised by different lengths and consensus sequences of the repeats. It was proposed that the repeats from different subfamilies retain a similar superhelical fold, but differ in the three-dimensional structures of individual repeats. The sequence-structure relationship of three new subfamilies was examined by molecular modelling. I provide structural models for the repeats of all subfamilies. The models enable me to explain residue conservations within each subfamily. Furthermore, the difference in the packing explains why the repeats from different subfamilies never occur simultaneously in the same protein. Finally, these studies suggest different evolutionary origins for the different subfamilies. The approach used for the prediction of the leucine-rich repeat protein structures can be applied to other proteins containing internal repeats of about 20 to 30 residue in length.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited.