Structure-based prediction of host–pathogen protein interactions

Rachelle Mariano, Stefan Wuchty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The discovery, validation, and characterization of protein-based interactions from different species are crucial for translational research regarding a variety of pathogens, ranging from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to HIV-1. Here, we review recent advances in the prediction of host–pathogen protein interfaces using structural information. In particular, we observe that current methods chiefly perform machine learning on sequence and domain information to produce large sets of candidate interactions that are further assessed and pruned to generate final, highly probable sets. Structure-based studies have also emphasized the electrostatic properties and evolutionary transformations of pathogenic interfaces, supplying crucial insight into antigenic determinants and the ways pathogens compete for host protein binding. Advancements in spectroscopic and crystallographic methods complement the aforementioned techniques, permitting the rigorous study of true positives at a molecular level. Together, these approaches illustrate how protein structure on a variety of levels functions coordinately and dynamically to achieve host takeover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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