Amino acid substitutions in structurally related proteins a pattern recognition approach
Amino acid substitutions in evolutionarily related proteins have been studied from a structural point of view. We consider here that an amino acid al in a protein p1 has been replaced by the amino acid a2 in the structurally similar protein p2 if, after superposition of the p1 and p2 structures, the al and a2 CÎ± atoms are no more than 1.2 Å apart. Thirty-two proteins, grouped in 11 classes, have been analysed by this method. This produced 2860 amino acid pairs (substitutions), which were analysed by multi-dimensional statistical methods. The main results are as follows: (1) according to the observed exchangeability of amino acid side-chains, only four groups (strong clusters) could be delineated; (i) Ile and Val, (ii) Leu and Met, (iii) Lys, Arg and Gln, and (iv) Tyr and Phe. The other residues could not be classified. (2) The matrix of distances between amino acids, or scoring matrix, determined from this study, is different from any other published matrix. (3) Except for the distance matrices based on the chemical properties of amino acid side-chains, which can be grouped together, all other published matrices are different from one another. (4) The distance matrix determined in this study seems to be very efficient for aligning distantly related protein sequences.