Template-free protein structure prediction and quality assessment with an all-atom free-energy model

Authors

  • Srinivasa Murthy Gopal,

    1. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute for Nanotechnology, PO Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
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  • Konstantin Klenin,

    1. DFG Center for Functional Nanostructures, Universität Karlsruhe, Wolfgang Gaede Str. 1, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
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  • Wolfgang Wenzel

    Corresponding author
    1. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute for Nanotechnology, PO Box 3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
    2. DFG Center for Functional Nanostructures, Universität Karlsruhe, Wolfgang Gaede Str. 1, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
    • Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute for Nanotechnology, Karlsruhe 76021, Germany
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Abstract

Biophysical forcefields have contributed less than originally anticipated to recent progress in protein structure prediction. Here, we have investigated the selectivity of a recently developed all-atom free-energy forcefield for protein structure prediction and quality assessment (QA). Using a heuristic method, but excluding homology, we generated decoy-sets for all targets of the CASP7 protein structure prediction assessment with <150 amino acids. The decoys in each set were then ranked by energy in short relaxation simulations and the best low-energy cluster was submitted as a prediction. For four of nine template-free targets, this approach generated high-ranking predictions within the top 10 models submitted in CASP7 for the respective targets. For these targets, our de-novo predictions had an average GDT_S score of 42.81, significantly above the average of all groups. The refinement protocol has difficulty for oligomeric targets and when no near-native decoys are generated in the decoy library. For targets with high-quality decoy sets the refinement approach was highly selective. Motivated by this observation, we rescored all server submissions up to 200 amino acids using a similar refinement protocol, but using no clustering, in a QA exercise. We found an excellent correlation between the best server models and those with the lowest energy in the forcefield. The free-energy refinement protocol may thus be an efficient tool for relative QA and protein structure prediction. Proteins 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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