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null (Ed.)Sequence-based protein homology detection has emerged as one of the most sensitive and accurate approaches to protein structure prediction. Despite the success, homology detection remains very challenging for weakly homologous proteins with divergent evolutionary profile. Very recently, deep neural network architectures have shown promising progress in mining the coevolutionary signal encoded in multiple sequence alignments, leading to reasonably accurate estimation of inter-residue interaction maps, which serve as a rich source of additional information for improved homology detection. Here, we summarize the latest developments in protein homology detection driven by inter-residue interaction map threading. We highlight the emerging trends in distant-homology protein threading through the alignment of predicted interaction maps at various granularities ranging from binary contact maps to finer-grained distance and orientation maps as well as their combination. We also discuss some of the current limitations and possible future avenues to further enhance the sensitivity of protein homology detection.more » « less
Kolodny, Rachel (Ed.)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 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.more » « less
Zhang, Yang (Ed.)Recent advances in distance-based protein folding have led to a paradigm shift in protein structure prediction. Through sufficiently precise estimation of the inter-residue distance matrix for a protein sequence, it is now feasible to predict the correct folds for new proteins much more accurately than ever before. Despite the exciting progress, a dedicated visualization system that can dynamically capture the distance-based folding process is still lacking. Most molecular visualizers typically provide only a static view of a folded protein conformation, but do not capture the folding process. Even among the selected few graphical interfaces that do adopt a dynamic perspective, none of them are distance-based. Here we present PolyFold, an interactive visual simulator for dynamically capturing the distance-based protein folding process through real-time rendering of a distance matrix and its compatible spatial conformation as it folds in an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. PolyFold integrates highly convergent stochastic optimization algorithms with on-demand customizations and interactive manipulations to maximally satisfy the geometric constraints imposed by a distance matrix. PolyFold is capable of simulating the complex process of protein folding even on modest personal computers, thus making it accessible to the general public for fostering citizen science. Open source code of PolyFold is freely available for download at https://github.com/Bhattacharya-Lab/PolyFold . It is implemented in cross-platform Java and binary executables are available for macOS, Linux, and Windows.more » « less
null (Ed.)Abstract Motivation Protein model quality estimation, in many ways, informs protein structure prediction. Despite their tight coupling, existing model quality estimation methods do not leverage inter-residue distance information or the latest technological breakthrough in deep learning that has recently revolutionized protein structure prediction. Results We present a new distance-based single-model quality estimation method called QDeep by harnessing the power of stacked deep residual neural networks (ResNets). Our method first employs stacked deep ResNets to perform residue-level ensemble error classifications at multiple predefined error thresholds, and then combines the predictions from the individual error classifiers for estimating the quality of a protein structural model. Experimental results show that our method consistently outperforms existing state-of-the-art methods including ProQ2, ProQ3, ProQ3D, ProQ4, 3DCNN, MESHI, and VoroMQA in multiple independent test datasets across a wide-range of accuracy measures; and that predicted distance information significantly contributes to the improved performance of QDeep. Availability and implementation https://github.com/Bhattacharya-Lab/QDeep. Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.more » « less
Threading a query protein sequence onto a library of weakly homologous structural templates remains challenging, even when sequence‐based predicted contact or distance information is used. Contact‐assisted or distance‐assisted threading methods utilize only the spatial proximity of the interacting residue pairs for template selection and alignment, ignoring their orientation. Moreover, existing threading methods fail to consider the neighborhood effect induced by the query–template alignment. We present a new distance‐ and orientation‐based covariational threading method called DisCovER by effectively integrating information from inter‐residue distance and orientation along with the topological network neighborhood of a query–template alignment. Our method first selects a subset of templates using standard profile‐based threading coupled with topological network similarity terms to account for the neighborhood effect and subsequently performs distance‐ and orientation‐based query–template alignment using an iterative double dynamic programming framework. Multiple large‐scale benchmarking results on query proteins classified as weakly homologous from the continuous automated model evaluation experiment and from the current literature show that our method outperforms several existing state‐of‐the‐art threading approaches, and that the integration of the neighborhood effect with the inter‐residue distance and orientation information synergistically contributes to the improved performance of DisCovER. DisCovER is freely available at