A Review of Methods Available to Estimate Solvent-Accessible Surface Areas of Soluble Proteins in the Folded and Unfolded States

ISSN: 1875-5550 (Online)
ISSN: 1389-2037 (Print)

Volume 18, 12 Issues, 2017

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Current Protein & Peptide Science

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Ben M. Dunn
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of Florida
College of Medicine, P.O. Box 100245, Gainesville
Florida, FL 32610-0245

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A Review of Methods Available to Estimate Solvent-Accessible Surface Areas of Soluble Proteins in the Folded and Unfolded States

Current Protein & Peptide Science, 15(5): 456-476.

Author(s): Syed Ausaf Ali, Md. Imtaiyaz Hassan, Asimul Islam and Faizan Ahmad.

Affiliation: Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Basic Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi 10025, India.


Solvent accessible surface area (SASA) of proteins has always been considered as a decisive factor in protein folding and stability studies. It is defined as the surface characterized around a protein by a hypothetical centre of a solvent sphere with the van der Waals contact surface of the molecule. Based on SASA values, amino acid residues of a protein can be classified as buried or exposed. There are various types of SASAs starting from relative solvent accessibility to absolute surface areas. Direct estimation of accurate SASAs of folded proteins experimentally at the atomic level is not possible. However, the SASA of a native protein can be estimated computationally from the atomic coordinates. Similarly, various simulation methods are available to compute the SASA of a protein in its unfolded state. In efforts to estimate the changes in SASA related to the protein folding, a number of the unfolded state models have been proposed. In this review, we have summarized different algorithms and computational tools for SASA estimations. Furthermore, online resources for SASA calculations and representations have also been discussed in detail. This review will be useful for protein chemists and biologists for the accurate measurements of SASA and its subsequent applications for the calculation of various biophysical and thermodynamic properties of proteins.


Crystal structure, protein folding, protein stability, solvent accessible surface area, thermodynamic properties, unfolded state.

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Article Details

Volume: 15
Issue Number: 5
First Page: 456
Last Page: 476
Page Count: 21
DOI: 10.2174/1389203715666140327114232
Price: $58

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