Copyright © 2012 The Protein Society
Influential Articles in Protein Science Journal
By: Brian W. Matthews, Editor in Chief
What is the most highly-cited article ever published in the Protein Science journal? It is from Nick Pace’s lab, published in 1995 1with 1,979 citations, “How to measure and predict the molar absorption coefficient of a protein”. As is not uncommon with frequently-quoted articles, the work includes a simple formula or method which is broadly applicable to other systems. In this case, Pace and coworkers used experimental data from 80 proteins to develop an empirical formula to predict the molar absorption coefficient, ε, at 280 nm, of any protein, based on the number of tryptophans, tyrosines and disulfide bonds. Their equation, which has clearly withstood the test of time, is:
ε(280)(M-1cm-1) = (#Trp)(5,500) + (#Tyr)(1,490) + (#Cystine)(125)
1995 was a banner year for Nick Pace. As well as the article mentioned above, in the same year he joined with Martin Scholtz and Jeffrey Meyers to publish another very highly-cited contribution in Protein Science,2 namely “Denaturant m values and heat capacity changes: Relation to changes in accessible surface areas of protein unfolding”. They showed how denaturant m values (i.e. the dependence of the free energy of unfolding on denaturant concentration) correlate strongly with the amount of protein surface exposed to solvent upon unfolding.
To fast forward, an article just published in Protein Science that could well become a future “citation classic” is “Augmented generation of protein fragments during wakefulness as the molecular cause of sleep: a hypothesis” from Alex Varshavsky.3 Varshavsky suggests that during wakefulness there is an increased accumulation of protein fragments in individual neurons and that sleep is a state in which the production of fragments is decreased via the upregulation of fragment-destroying pathways. The hypothesis provides a molecular rationale for some longstanding observations regarding sleep phenomena, and as such will be of broad interest.
1. Pace CN, Vajdos F, Fee L, Grimsley G, Gray, T. (1995) How to measure and predict the molar absorption coefficient of a protein. Protein Sci 4:2411-2423.
2. Myers, JK, Pace CN, Scholtz JM (1995) Denaturant m values and heat capacity changes: Relation to changes in accessible surface areas of protein unfolding. Protein Sci 4:2138-2148.
3. Varshavsky A (2012) Augmented generation of protein fragments during wakefulness as the molecular cause of sleep: a hypothesis. Protein Sci 21:1634-1661.