Submit Manuscript  

Article Details

Applicability of Instability Index for In vitro Protein Stability Prediction

[ Vol. 26 , Issue. 5 ]


Dilani G. Gamage, Ajith Gunaratne, Gopal R. Periyannan* and Timothy G. Russell   Pages 339 - 347 ( 9 )


Background: The dipeptide composition-based Instability Index (II) is one of the protein primary structure-dependent methods available for in vivo protein stability predictions. As per this method, proteins with II value below 40 are stable proteins. Intracellular protein stability principles guided the original development of the II method. However, the use of the II method for in vitro protein stability predictions raises questions about the validity of applying the II method under experimental conditions that are different from the in vivo setting.

Objective: The aim of this study is to experimentally test the validity of the use of II as an in vitro protein stability predictor.

Methods: A representative protein CCM (CCM - Caulobacter crescentus metalloprotein) that rapidly degrades under in vitro conditions was used to probe the dipeptide sequence-dependent degradation properties of CCM by generating CCM mutants to represent stable and unstable II values. A comparative degradation analysis was carried out under in vitro conditions using wildtype CCM, CCM mutants and two other candidate proteins: metallo-β-lactamase L1 and α -S1- casein representing stable, borderline stable/unstable, and unstable proteins as per the II predictions. The effect of temperature and a protein stabilizing agent on CCM degradation was also tested.

Results: Data support the dipeptide composition-dependent protein stability/instability in wt-CCM and mutants as predicted by the II method under in vitro conditions. However, the II failed to accurately represent the stability of other tested proteins. Data indicate the influence of protein environmental factors on the autoproteolysis of proteins.

Conclusion: Broader application of the II method for the prediction of protein stability under in vitro conditions is questionable as the stability of the protein may be dependent not only on the intrinsic nature of the protein but also on the conditions of the protein milieu.


Instability index, dipeptide, in vitro, calculator, mutagenesis, degradation.


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, Department of Mathematics, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL

Graphical Abstract:

Read Full-Text article