skip to main content

Title: DescribePROT: database of amino acid-level protein structure and function predictions
Abstract We present DescribePROT, the database of predicted amino acid-level descriptors of structure and function of proteins. DescribePROT delivers a comprehensive collection of 13 complementary descriptors predicted using 10 popular and accurate algorithms for 83 complete proteomes that cover key model organisms. The current version includes 7.8 billion predictions for close to 600 million amino acids in 1.4 million proteins. The descriptors encompass sequence conservation, position specific scoring matrix, secondary structure, solvent accessibility, intrinsic disorder, disordered linkers, signal peptides, MoRFs and interactions with proteins, DNA and RNAs. Users can search DescribePROT by the amino acid sequence and the UniProt accession number and entry name. The pre-computed results are made available instantaneously. The predictions can be accesses via an interactive graphical interface that allows simultaneous analysis of multiple descriptors and can be also downloaded in structured formats at the protein, proteome and whole database scale. The putative annotations included by DescriPROT are useful for a broad range of studies, including: investigations of protein function, applied projects focusing on therapeutics and diseases, and in the development of predictors for other protein sequence descriptors. Future releases will expand the coverage of DescribePROT. DescribePROT can be accessed at  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nucleic Acids Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
D298 to D308
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The DescribePROT database of amino acid-level descriptors of protein structures and functions was substantially expanded since its release in 2020. This expansion includes substantial increase in the size, scope, and quality of the underlying data, the addition of experimental structural information, the inclusion of new data download options, and an upgraded graphical interface. DescribePROT currently covers 19 structural and functional descriptors for proteins in 273 reference proteomes generated by 11 accurate and complementary predictive tools. Users can search our resource in multiple ways, interact with the data using the graphical interface, and download data at various scales including individual proteins, entire proteomes, and whole database. The annotations in DescribePROT are useful for a broad spectrum of studies that include investigations of protein structure and function, development and validation of predictive tools, and to support efforts in understanding molecular underpinnings of diseases and development of therapeutics. DescribePROT can be freely accessed at

    more » « less
  2. Abstract Motivation

    Most proteins perform their biological functions through interactions with other proteins in cells. Amino acid mutations, especially those occurring at protein interfaces, can change the stability of protein–protein interactions (PPIs) and impact their functions, which may cause various human diseases. Quantitative estimation of the binding affinity changes (ΔΔGbind) caused by mutations can provide critical information for protein function annotation and genetic disease diagnoses.


    We present SSIPe, which combines protein interface profiles, collected from structural and sequence homology searches, with a physics-based energy function for accurate ΔΔGbind estimation. To offset the statistical limits of the PPI structure and sequence databases, amino acid-specific pseudocounts were introduced to enhance the profile accuracy. SSIPe was evaluated on large-scale experimental data containing 2204 mutations from 177 proteins, where training and test datasets were stringently separated with the sequence identity between proteins from the two datasets below 30%. The Pearson correlation coefficient between estimated and experimental ΔΔGbind was 0.61 with a root-mean-square-error of 1.93 kcal/mol, which was significantly better than the other methods. Detailed data analyses revealed that the major advantage of SSIPe over other traditional approaches lies in the novel combination of the physical energy function with the new knowledge-based interface profile. SSIPe also considerably outperformed a former profile-based method (BindProfX) due to the newly introduced sequence profiles and optimized pseudocount technique that allows for consideration of amino acid-specific prior mutation probabilities.

    Availability and implementation

    Web-server/standalone program, source code and datasets are freely available at and

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Protein sequence matching presently fails to identify many structures that are highly similar, even when they are known to have the same function. The high packing densities in globular proteins lead to interdependent substitutions, which have not previously been considered for amino acid similarities. At present, sequence matching compares sequences based only upon the similarities of single amino acids, ignoring the fact that in densely packed protein, there are additional conservative substitutions representing exchanges between two interacting amino acids, such as a small‐large pair changing to a large‐small pair substitutions that are not individually so conservative. Here we show that including information for such pairs of substitutions yields improved sequence matches, and that these yield significant gains in the agreements between sequence alignments and structure matches of the same protein pair. The result shows sequence segments matched where structure segments are aligned. There are gains for all 2002 collected cases where the sequence alignments that were not previously congruent with the structure matches. Our results also demonstrate a significant gain in detecting homology for “twilight zone” protein sequences. The amino acid substitution metrics derived have many other potential applications, for annotations, protein design, mutagenesis design, and empirical potential derivation.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    It is critical for biological studies to annotate amino acid sequences and understand how proteins function. Protein function is important to medical research in the health industry (e.g., drug discovery). With the advancement of deep learning, accurate protein annotation models have been developed for alignment free protein annotation. In this paper, we develop a deep learning model with an attention mechanism that can predict Gene Ontology labels given a protein sequence input. We believe this model can produce accurate predictions as well as maintain good interpretability. We further show how the model can be interpreted by examining and visualizing the intermediate layer output in our deep neural network. 
    more » « less
  5. ResNet and, more recently, AlphaFold2 have demonstrated that deep neural networks can now predict a tertiary structure of a given protein amino-acid sequence with high accuracy. This seminal development will allow molecular biology researchers to advance various studies linking sequence, structure, and function. Many studies will undoubtedly focus on the impact of sequence mutations on stability, fold, and function. In this paper, we evaluate the ability of AlphaFold2 to predict accurate tertiary structures of wildtype and mutated sequences of protein molecules. We do so on a benchmark dataset in mutation modeling studies. Our empirical evaluation utilizes global and local structure analyses and yields several interesting observations. It shows, for instance, that AlphaFold2 performs similarly on wildtype and variant sequences. The placement of the main chain of a protein molecule is highly accurate. However, while AlphaFold2 reports similar confidence in its predictions over wildtype and variant sequences, its performance on placements of the side chains suffers in comparison to main-chain predictions. The analysis overall supports the premise that AlphaFold2-predicted structures can be utilized in further downstream tasks, but that further refinement of these structures may be necessary.

    more » « less