Derivation of rules for comparative protein modeling from a database of protein structure alignments



We describe a database of protein structure alignments as well as methods and tools that use this database to improve comparative protein modeling. The current version of the database contains 105 alignments of similar proteins or protein segments. The database comprises 416 entries, 78,495 residues, 1,233 equivalent entry pairs, and 230,396 pairs of equivalent alignment positions. At present, the main application of the database is to improve comparative modeling by satisfaction of spatial restraints implemented in the program MODELLER (Šali A, Blundell TL, 1993, J Mol Biol 234:779–815). To illustrate the usefulness of the database, the restraints on the conformation of a disulfide bridge provided by an equivalent disulfide bridge in a related structure are derived from the alignments; the prediction success of the disulfide dihedral angle classes is increased to approximately 80%, compared to approximately 55% for modeling that relies on the stereochemistry of disulfide bridges alone. The second example of the use of the database is the derivation of the probability density function for comparative modeling of the cis/trans isomerism of the proline residues; the prediction success is increased from 0% to 82.9% for cis-proline and from 93.3% to 96.2% for trans-proline. The database is available via electronic mail.