We will consider in this chapter supersecondary structures (SSS) as a set of secondary structure elements (SSEs) found in protein domains. Some SSS arrangements/topologies have been consistently observed within known tertiary structural domains. We use them in the context of repeating supersecondary structures that self-assemble in a symmetric arrangement to form a domain. We call them protodomains (or protofolds). Protodomains are some of the most interesting and insightful SSSs. Within a given 3D protein domain/fold, recognizing such sets may give insights into a possible evolutionary process of duplication, fusion, and coevolution of these protodomains, pointing to possible original protogenes. On protein folding itself, pseudosymmetric domains may point to a "directed" assembly of pseudosymmetric protodomains, directed by the only fact that they are tethered together in a protein chain. On function, tertiary functional sites often occur at protodomain interfaces, as they often occur at domain-domain interfaces in quaternary arrangements. First, we will briefly review some lessons learned from a previously published census of pseudosymmetry in protein domains (Myers-Turnbull, D. et al., J Mol Biol. 426:2255-2268, 2014) to introduce protodomains/protofolds. We will observe that the most abundant and diversified folds, or superfolds, in the currently known protein structure universe are indeed pseudosymmetric. Then, we will learn by example and select a few domain representatives of important pseudosymmetric folds and chief among them the immunoglobulin (Ig) fold and go over a pseudosymmetry supersecondary structure (protodomain) analysis in tertiary and quaternary structures. We will point to currently available software tools to help in identifying pseudosymmetry, delineating protodomains, and see how the study of pseudosymmetry and the underlying supersecondary structures can enrich a structural analysis. This should potentially help in protein engineering, especially in the development of biologics and immunoengineering.
Protodomains: Symmetry-Related Supersecondary Structures in Proteins and Self-Complementarity. Youkharibache P. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1958:187-219. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-9161-7_10. PMID: 30945220.