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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Volume 380, Issue 10 (Oct 1999)


The T-Knot Motif Revisited

Fabio Polticelli / Stefano Pascarella / Domenico Bordo / Martino Bolognesi / Paolo Ascenzi
Published Online: 2005-06-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.1999.159


The T-knot scaffold, a disulphide-reinforced structural motif shared by several proteins with very different biological functions, has been defined as ‘a stretch of the protein chain which comprises two strands of a β-sheet and three loops, knotted by two disulphides into the shape of the letter T’. In this communication we show that the presence of a central β-sheet is not a required structural feature for proteins sharing the T-knot topology. Moreover, superposition of the three-dimensional structures of representative members of the T-knot family highlights a common and structurally well-defined core, formed by the two knotted disulphides, substituting for a larger residue-based hydrophobic core. These results suggest that folding and stability of the T-knot scaffold mainly depend on the geometry of the two knotted disulphides and on the loop length, and that the secondary structure elements are not a prerequisite for motif formation. Accordingly, a redefinition of the T-knot motif is proposed.

About the article

Published Online: 2005-06-01

Published in Print: 1999-10-12

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/BC.1999.159. Export Citation

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