Membrane proteins are fundamental elements for every known cell, accounting for a quarter of genes in the Human genome, they play essential roles in cell biology. About 50% of currently marketed drugs have a membrane protein as target, and around a third of them target G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The current difficulties and limitations in the experimental work necessary for microscopic studies of the membrane as well as membrane proteins urged the use of computational methods. The scope of this thesis is to develop new bioinformatic tools for the study of membrane proteins and also for GPCRs in particular that help to characterize their structural features and understand their function. In regard to membrane proteins, a cornerstone of this thesis has been the creation of two databases for the main classes of membrane proteins: one for α-helical proteins (TMalphaDB) and another for β-barrel proteins (TMbetaDB). These databases are used by a newly developed tool to find structural distortions induced by specific amino acid sequence motifs (http://lmc.uab.cat/tmalphadb and http://lmc.uab.cat/tmbetadb) and in the characterization of inter-residue interactions that occur in the transmembrane region of membrane proteins aimed to understand the complexity and differential features of these proteins. Interactions involving Phe and Leu residues were found to be the main responsible for the stabilization of the transmembrane region. Moreover, the energetic contribution of interactions between sulfur-containing amino acids (Met and Cys) and aliphatic or aromatic residues were analyzed. These interactions are often not considered despite they can form stronger interactions than aromatic-aromatic or aromatic-aliphatic interactions. Additionally, G-protein coupled receptor family, the most important family of membrane proteins, have been the focus of two web applications tools dedicated to the analysis of conservation of amino acids or sequence motifs and pair correlation (GPCR-SAS, http://lmc.uab.cat/gpcrsas) and to allocate internal water molecules in receptor structures (HomolWat, http://lmc.uab.cat/HW). These web applications are pilot studies that can be extended to other membrane proteins families in future projects. All these tools and analysis may help in the development of better structural models and contribute to the understanding of membrane proteins.
|Date of Award||14 Jun 2019|
|Supervisor||Maria Duñach Masjuan (Tutor), Leonardo Pardo Carrasco (Director), Arnau Cordomi Montoya (Director) & Mireia Olivella Garcia (Director)|
- Proteïnes de membrana; Proteínas de membrana; Membrane proteins; GPCR; Estructura de proteïnes; Esctructura de proteínas; Protein structure