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Obtaining protein secondary structure content from high-resolution structures requires definitions and thresholds for the various parameters involved, typically hydrogen bond energy or length/angle and backbone φ/ψ angles. Several definitions are currently used and can have a profound impact on secondary structure content. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy has its own sensitivity to molecular geometry. It is, therefore, important to select a set of definitions that matches this sensitivity. Here, we used a new protein set consisting of 92 proteins designed for the calibration of spectroscopic methods. Spectra have been obtained from protein microarrays in a high throughput process. The potential for improving secondary structure predictions from FTIR spectra has been tested using 71 structures determined according to different definitions. The paper demonstrates that different secondary structure definitions result in large variations in secondary structure content that are not equivalent in view of the protein FTIR spectra. The prediction quality factor ζ can be improved by ca. 20-50% by selecting an adequate definition set. The results also indicate that the dictionary of secondary structure of proteins (DSSP) algorithm, which is currently widely used to evaluate protein secondary structure content, is a good choice when dealing with FTIR spectra.


Joëlle De Meutter, Erik Goormaghtigh. Searching for a Better Match between Protein Secondary Structure Definitions and Protein FTIR Spectra. Analytical chemistry. 2021 Jan 26;93(3):1561-1568

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PMID: 33332103

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