skip to main content

Title: Hybridized distance- and contact-based hierarchical structure modeling for folding soluble and membrane proteins
Crystallography and NMR system (CNS) is currently a widely used method for fragment-free ab initio protein folding from inter-residue distance or contact maps. Despite its widespread use in protein structure prediction, CNS is a decade-old macromolecular structure determination system that was originally developed for solving macromolecular geometry from experimental restraints as opposed to predictive modeling driven by interaction map data. As such, the adaptation of the CNS experimental structure determination protocol for ab initio protein folding is intrinsically anomalous that may undermine the folding accuracy of computational protein structure prediction. In this paper, we propose a new CNS-free hierarchical structure modeling method called DConStruct for folding both soluble and membrane proteins driven by distance and contact information. Rigorous experimental validation shows that DConStruct attains much better reconstruction accuracy than CNS when tested with the same input contact map at varying contact thresholds. The hierarchical modeling with iterative self-correction employed in DConStruct scales at a much higher degree of folding accuracy than CNS with the increase in contact thresholds, ultimately approaching near-optimal reconstruction accuracy at higher-thresholded contact maps. The folding accuracy of DConStruct can be further improved by exploiting distance-based hybrid interaction maps at tri-level thresholding, as demonstrated by the better more » performance of our method in folding free modeling targets from the 12th and 13th rounds of the Critical Assessment of techniques for protein Structure Prediction (CASP) experiments compared to popular CNS- and fragment-based approaches and energy-minimization protocols, some of which even using much finer-grained distance maps than ours. Additional large-scale benchmarking shows that DConStruct can significantly improve the folding accuracy of membrane proteins compared to a CNS-based approach. These results collectively demonstrate the feasibility of greatly improving the accuracy of ab initio protein folding by optimally exploiting the information encoded in inter-residue interaction maps beyond what is possible by CNS. « less
; ;
Kolodny, Rachel
Award ID(s):
2030722 1942692 2208679
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
PLOS Computational Biology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Kolodny, Rachel (Ed.)
    The topology of protein folds can be specified by the inter-residue contact-maps and accurate contact-map prediction can help ab initio structure folding. We developed TripletRes to deduce protein contact-maps from discretized distance profiles by end-to-end training of deep residual neural-networks. Compared to previous approaches, the major advantage of TripletRes is in its ability to learn and directly fuse a triplet of coevolutionary matrices extracted from the whole-genome and metagenome databases and therefore minimize the information loss during the course of contact model training. TripletRes was tested on a large set of 245 non-homologous proteins from CASP 11&12 and CAMEO experiments and outperformed other top methods from CASP12 by at least 58.4% for the CASP 11&12 targets and 44.4% for the CAMEO targets in the top- L long-range contact precision. On the 31 FM targets from the latest CASP13 challenge, TripletRes achieved the highest precision (71.6%) for the top- L /5 long-range contact predictions. It was also shown that a simple re-training of the TripletRes model with more proteins can lead to further improvement with precisions comparable to state-of-the-art methods developed after CASP13. These results demonstrate a novel efficient approach to extend the power of deep convolutional networks for high-accuracy medium-more »and long-range protein contact-map predictions starting from primary sequences, which are critical for constructing 3D structure of proteins that lack homologous templates in the PDB library.« less
  2. Abstract

    Protein structure prediction is an important problem in bioinformatics and has been studied for decades. However, there are still few open-source comprehensive protein structure prediction packages publicly available in the field. In this paper, we present our latest open-source protein tertiary structure prediction system—MULTICOM2, an integration of template-based modeling (TBM) and template-free modeling (FM) methods. The template-based modeling uses sequence alignment tools with deep multiple sequence alignments to search for structural templates, which are much faster and more accurate than MULTICOM1. The template-free (ab initio or de novo) modeling uses the inter-residue distances predicted by DeepDist to reconstruct tertiary structure models without using any known structure as template. In the blind CASP14 experiment, the average TM-score of the models predicted by our server predictor based on the MULTICOM2 system is 0.720 for 58 TBM (regular) domains and 0.514 for 38 FM and FM/TBM (hard) domains, indicating that MULTICOM2 is capable of predicting good tertiary structures across the board. It can predict the correct fold for 76 CASP14 domains (95% regular domains and 55% hard domains) if only one prediction is made for a domain. The success rate is increased to 3% for both regular and hard domains if fivemore »predictions are made per domain. Moreover, the prediction accuracy of the pure template-free structure modeling method on both TBM and FM targets is very close to the combination of template-based and template-free modeling methods. This demonstrates that the distance-based template-free modeling method powered by deep learning can largely replace the traditional template-based modeling method even on TBM targets that TBM methods used to dominate and therefore provides a uniform structure modeling approach to any protein. Finally, on the 38 CASP14 FM and FM/TBM hard domains, MULTICOM2 server predictors (MULTICOM-HYBRID, MULTICOM-DEEP, MULTICOM-DIST) were ranked among the top 20 automated server predictors in the CASP14 experiment. After combining multiple predictors from the same research group as one entry, MULTICOM-HYBRID was ranked no. 5. The source code of MULTICOM2 is freely available at

    « less
  3. Abstract

    Sequence-based contact prediction has shown considerable promise in assisting non-homologous structure modeling, but it often requires many homologous sequences and a sufficient number of correct contacts to achieve correct folds. Here, we developed a method, C-QUARK, that integrates multiple deep-learning and coevolution-based contact-maps to guide the replica-exchange Monte Carlo fragment assembly simulations. The method was tested on 247 non-redundant proteins, where C-QUARK could fold 75% of the cases with TM-scores (template-modeling scores) ≥0.5, which was 2.6 times more than that achieved by QUARK. For the 59 cases that had either low contact accuracy or few homologous sequences, C-QUARK correctly folded 6 times more proteins than other contact-based folding methods. C-QUARK was also tested on 64 free-modeling targets from the 13th CASP (critical assessment of protein structure prediction) experiment and had an average GDT_TS (global distance test) score that was 5% higher than the best CASP predictors. These data demonstrate, in a robust manner, the progress in modeling non-homologous protein structures using low-accuracy and sparse contact-map predictions.

  4. Abstract Background Driven by deep learning, inter-residue contact/distance prediction has been significantly improved and substantially enhanced ab initio protein structure prediction. Currently, most of the distance prediction methods classify inter-residue distances into multiple distance intervals instead of directly predicting real-value distances. The output of the former has to be converted into real-value distances to be used in tertiary structure prediction. Results To explore the potentials of predicting real-value inter-residue distances, we develop a multi-task deep learning distance predictor (DeepDist) based on new residual convolutional network architectures to simultaneously predict real-value inter-residue distances and classify them into multiple distance intervals. Tested on 43 CASP13 hard domains, DeepDist achieves comparable performance in real-value distance prediction and multi-class distance prediction. The average mean square error (MSE) of DeepDist’s real-value distance prediction is 0.896 Å 2 when filtering out the predicted distance ≥ 16 Å, which is lower than 1.003 Å 2 of DeepDist’s multi-class distance prediction. When distance predictions are converted into contact predictions at 8 Å threshold (the standard threshold in the field), the precision of top L/5 and L/2 contact predictions of DeepDist’s multi-class distance prediction is 79.3% and 66.1%, respectively, higher than 78.6% and 64.5% of its real-value distance prediction and the best resultsmore »in the CASP13 experiment. Conclusions DeepDist can predict inter-residue distances well and improve binary contact prediction over the existing state-of-the-art methods. Moreover, the predicted real-value distances can be directly used to reconstruct protein tertiary structures better than multi-class distance predictions due to the lower MSE. Finally, we demonstrate that predicting the real-value distance map and multi-class distance map at the same time performs better than predicting real-value distances alone.« less
  5. Abstract Motivation Deep learning has become the dominant technology for protein contact prediction. However, the factors that affect the performance of deep learning in contact prediction have not been systematically investigated. Results We analyzed the results of our three deep learning-based contact prediction methods (MULTICOM-CLUSTER, MULTICOM-CONSTRUCT and MULTICOM-NOVEL) in the CASP13 experiment and identified several key factors [i.e. deep learning technique, multiple sequence alignment (MSA), distance distribution prediction and domain-based contact integration] that influenced the contact prediction accuracy. We compared our convolutional neural network (CNN)-based contact prediction methods with three coevolution-based methods on 75 CASP13 targets consisting of 108 domains. We demonstrated that the CNN-based multi-distance approach was able to leverage global coevolutionary coupling patterns comprised of multiple correlated contacts for more accurate contact prediction than the local coevolution-based methods, leading to a substantial increase of precision by 19.2 percentage points. We also tested different alignment methods and domain-based contact prediction with the deep learning contact predictors. The comparison of the three methods showed deeper sequence alignments and the integration of domain-based contact prediction with the full-length contact prediction improved the performance of contact prediction. Moreover, we demonstrated that the domain-based contact prediction based on a novel ab initio approachmore »of parsing domains from MSAs alone without using known protein structures was a simple, fast approach to improve contact prediction. Finally, we showed that predicting the distribution of inter-residue distances in multiple distance intervals could capture more structural information and improve binary contact prediction. Availability and implementation Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.« less