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  1. Abstract Background Protein inter-residue contact and distance prediction are two key intermediate steps essential to accurate protein structure prediction. Distance prediction comes in two forms: real-valued distances and ‘binned’ distograms, which are a more finely grained variant of the binary contact prediction problem. The latter has been introduced as a new challenge in the 14th Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP14) 2020 experiment. Despite the recent proliferation of methods for predicting distances, few methods exist for evaluating these predictions. Currently only numerical metrics, which evaluate the entire prediction at once, are used. These give no insight into the structural details of a prediction. For this reason, new methods and tools are needed. Results We have developed a web server for evaluating predicted inter-residue distances. Our server, DISTEVAL, accepts predicted contacts, distances, and a true structure as optional inputs to generate informative heatmaps, chord diagrams, and 3D models. All of these outputs facilitate visual and qualitative assessment. The server also evaluates predictions using other metrics such as mean absolute error, root mean squared error, and contact precision. Conclusions The visualizations generated by DISTEVAL complement each other and collectively serve as a powerful tool for both quantitative and qualitativemore »assessments of predicted contacts and distances, even in the absence of a true 3D structure.« less
  2. Abstract

    As deep learning algorithms drive the progress in protein structure prediction, a lot remains to be studied at this merging superhighway of deep learning and protein structure prediction. Recent findings show that inter-residue distance prediction, a more granular version of the well-known contact prediction problem, is a key to predicting accurate models. However, deep learning methods that predict these distances are still in the early stages of their development. To advance these methods and develop other novel methods, a need exists for a small and representative dataset packaged for faster development and testing. In this work, we introduce protein distance net (PDNET), a framework that consists of one such representative dataset along with the scripts for training and testing deep learning methods. The framework also includes all the scripts that were used to curate the dataset, and generate the input features and distance maps. Deep learning models can also be trained and tested in a web browser using free platforms such as Google Colab. We discuss how PDNET can be used to predict contacts, distance intervals, and real-valued distances.

  3. 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
  4. Abstract Motivation

    Exciting new opportunities have arisen to solve the protein contact prediction problem from the progress in neural networks and the availability of a large number of homologous sequences through high-throughput sequencing. In this work, we study how deep convolutional neural networks (ConvNets) may be best designed and developed to solve this long-standing problem.


    With publicly available datasets, we designed and trained various ConvNet architectures. We tested several recent deep learning techniques including wide residual networks, dropouts and dilated convolutions. We studied the improvements in the precision of medium-range and long-range contacts, and compared the performance of our best architectures with the ones used in existing state-of-the-art methods. The proposed ConvNet architectures predict contacts with significantly more precision than the architectures used in several state-of-the-art methods. When trained using the DeepCov dataset consisting of 3456 proteins and tested on PSICOV dataset of 150 proteins, our architectures achieve up to 15% higher precision when L/2 long-range contacts are evaluated. Similarly, when trained using the DNCON2 dataset consisting of 1426 proteins and tested on 84 protein domains in the CASP12 dataset, our single network achieves 4.8% higher precision than the ensembled DNCON2 method when top L long-range contacts are evaluated.

    Availability and<a href='#' onclick='$(this).hide().next().show().next().show();return false;' style='margin-left:10px;'>more »</a><span style='display:none;'>implementation

    DEEPCON is available at

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