An Affordable Topography-Based Protocol for Assigning a Residue’s Character on a Hydropathy (PARCH) Scale

Jingjing Ji, Britnie Carpentier, Arindam Chakraborty, Shikha Nangia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The hydropathy of proteins or quantitative assessment of protein-water interactions has been a topic of interest for decades. Most hydropathy scales use a residue-based or atom-based approach to assign fixed numerical values to the 20 amino acids and categorize them as hydrophilic, hydroneutral, or hydrophobic. These scales overlook the protein’s nanoscale topography, such as bumps, crevices, cavities, clefts, pockets, and channels, in calculating the hydropathy of the residues. Some recent studies have included protein topography in determining hydrophobic patches on protein surfaces, but these methods do not provide a hydropathy scale. To overcome the limitations in the existing methods, we have developed a Protocol for Assigning a Residue’s Character on the Hydropathy (PARCH) scale that adopts a holistic approach to assigning the hydropathy of a residue. The parch scale evaluates the collective response of the water molecules in the protein’s first hydration shell to increasing temperatures. We performed the parch analysis of a set of well-studied proteins that include the following─enzymes, immune proteins, and integral membrane proteins, as well as fungal and virus capsid proteins. Since the parch scale evaluates every residue based on its location, a residue may have very different parch values inside a crevice versus a surface bump. Thus, a residue can have a range of parch values (or hydropathies) dictated by the local geometry. The parch scale calculations are computationally inexpensive and can compare hydropathies of different proteins. The parch analysis can affordably and reliably aid in designing nanostructured surfaces, identifying hydrophilic and hydrophobic patches, and drug discovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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