We present a novel technique, based on the principle of maximum entropy, for deriving the solvation energy parameters of amino acids from the knowledge of the solvent accessible areas in experimentally determined native state structures as well as high quality decoys of proteins. We present the results of detailed studies and analyze the correlations of the solvation energy parameters with the standard hydrophobic scale. We study the ability of the inferred parameters to discriminate between the native state structures of proteins and their decoy conformations.

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