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The hydrogen/deuterium-exchange (HDX) method, coupled with neutron diffraction, is a powerful probe for investigating molecular dynamics. In the present report, general determinants of HDX are proposed based on 12 deposited neutron protein structures. The parameters that correlate best with HDX are the depth within the protein structure of the amide N atom and the secondary-structure type. Both the B factor of the amide N atom and the ratio B/<B> correlate moderately. However, solvent accessibility only correlates strongly for one molecule and hydrogen-bonding distance correlates for two molecules with respect to amide HDX. In addition to the relatively small number of neutron structures available, the limitations to this type of analysis, namely resolution, data completeness and the data-to-parameter ratio, are discussed briefly. A global analysis of HDX was performed to overcome some of these obstacles, damping the effects of outliers and the extreme variation of the data sets arising from resolution limitations. From this, amide depth and hydrogen-bonding distance to the amide (a measure of interaction strength) show strong global correlation with HDX. For some structures, the constituents of the hydrophobic protein core could be identifed based on contiguous regions that are resistant to exchange and have significant depth. These may, in fact, constitute minimal folding domains.

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