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  1. Kolodny, Rachel (Ed.)
    Phylogenomic studies of prokaryotic taxa often assume conserved marker genes are homologous across their length. However, processes such as horizontal gene transfer or gene duplication and loss may disrupt this homology by recombining only parts of genes, causing gene fission or fusion. We show using simulation that it is necessary to delineate homology groups in a set of bacterial genomes without relying on gene annotations to define the boundaries of homologous regions. To solve this problem, we have developed a graph-based algorithm to partition a set of bacterial genomes into Maximal Homologous Groups of sequences ( MHGs ) where each MHG is a maximal set of maximum-length sequences which are homologous across the entire sequence alignment. We applied our algorithm to a dataset of 19 Enterobacteriaceae species and found that MHGs cover much greater proportions of genomes than markers and, relatedly, are less biased in terms of the functions of the genes they cover. We zoomed in on the correlation between each individual marker and their overlapping MHGs, and show that few phylogenetic splits supported by the markers are supported by the MHGs while many marker-supported splits are contradicted by the MHGs. A comparison of the species tree inferred frommore »marker genes with the species tree inferred from MHGs suggests that the increased bias and lack of genome coverage by markers causes incorrect inferences as to the overall relationship between bacterial taxa.« less
  2. 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
  3. 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 bettermore »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