Characterization of Domain-Peptide Interaction Interface: A Case Study on the Amphiphysin-1 SH3 Domain

Tingjun Hou, Wei Zhang, David A. Case, Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Many important protein-protein interactions are mediated by peptide recognition modular domains, such as the Src homology 3 (SH3), SH2, PDZ, and WW domains. Characterizing the interaction interface of domain-peptide complexes and predicting binding specificity for modular domains are critical for deciphering protein-protein interaction networks. Here, we propose the use of an energetic decomposition analysis to characterize domain-peptide interactions and the molecular interaction energy components (MIECs), including van der Waals, electrostatic, and desolvation energy between residue pairs on the binding interface. We show a proof-of-concept study on the amphiphysin-1 SH3 domain interacting with its peptide ligands. The structures of the human amphiphysin-1 SH3 domain complexed with 884 peptides were first modeled using virtual mutagenesis and optimized by molecular mechanics (MM) minimization. Next, the MIECs between domain and peptide residues were computed using the MM/generalized Born decomposition analysis. We conducted two types of statistical analyses on the MIECs to demonstrate their usefulness for predicting binding affinities of peptides and for classifying peptides into binder and non-binder categories. First, combining partial least squares analysis and genetic algorithm, we fitted linear regression models between the MIECs and the peptide binding affinities on the training data set. These models were then used to predict binding affinities for peptides in the test data set; the predicted values have a correlation coefficient of 0.81 and an unsigned mean error of 0.39 compared with the experimentally measured ones. The partial least squares-genetic algorithm analysis on the MIECs revealed the critical interactions for the binding specificity of the amphiphysin-1 SH3 domain. Next, a support vector machine (SVM) was employed to build classification models based on the MIECs of peptides in the training set. A rigorous training-validation procedure was used to assess the performances of different kernel functions in SVM and different combinations of the MIECs. The best SVM classifier gave satisfactory predictions for the test set, indicated by average prediction accuracy rates of 78% and 91% for the binding and non-binding peptides, respectively. We also showed that the performance of our approach on both binding affinity prediction and binder/non-binder classification was superior to the performances of the conventional MM/Poisson-Boltzmann solvent-accessible surface area and MM/generalized Born solvent-accessible surface area calculations. Our study demonstrates that the analysis of the MIECs between peptides and the SH3 domain can successfully characterize the binding interface, and it provides a framework to derive integrated prediction models for different domain-peptide systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1201-1214
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 29 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


  • MIEC
  • PLS
  • SH3 modular domain
  • SVM
  • energetic component analysis
  • molecular interaction energy component
  • partial least squares
  • support vector machine


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