Peptides fold on a time scale that is much smaller than the time required for synthesis, whence all proteins potentially fold cotranslationally to some degree (followed by additional folding events after release from the ribosome). In this paper, in three different ways, we find that cotranslational folding success is associated with higher hydrophobicity at the N-terminus than at the C-terminus. First, we fold simple HP models on a square lattice and observe that HP sequences that fold better cotranslationally than from a fully extended state exhibit a positive difference (N-C) in terminus hydrophobicity. Second, we examine real proteins using a previously established measure of potential cotranslationality known as ALR (Average Logarithmic Ratio of the extent of previous contacts) and again find a correlation with the difference in terminus hydrophobicity. Finally, we use the cotranslational protein structure prediction program SAINT and again find that such an approach to folding is more successful for proteins with higher N-terminus than C-terminus hydrophobicity. All results indicate that cotranslational folding is promoted in part by a hydrophobic start and a less hydrophobic finish to the sequence.
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