Andrzej Kolinski Research Group

Coarse-grained protein modeling

Modeling Software & Servers

Biomolecules — dynamics & interactions


Assembly of protein structure from sparse experimental data: an efficient Monte Carlo model


Proteins, 32:475–494, 1998


A new, efficient method for the assembly of protein tertiary structure from known, loosely encoded secondary structure restraints and sparse information about exact side chain contacts is proposed and evaluated. The method is based on a new, very simple method for the reduced modeling of protein structure and dynamics, where the protein is described as a lattice chain connecting side chain centers of mass rather than Calphas. The model has implicit built-in multibody correlations that simulate short- and long-range packing preferences, hydrogen bonding cooperativity and a mean force potential describing hydrophobic interactions. Due to the simplicity of the protein representation and definition of the model force field, the Monte Carlo algorithm is at least an order of magnitude faster than previously published Monte Carlo algorithms for structure assembly. In contrast to existing algorithms, the new method requires a smaller number of tertiary restraints for successful fold assembly; on average, one for every seven residues as compared to one for every four residues. For example, for smaller proteins such as the B domain of protein G, the resulting structures have a coordinate root mean square deviation (cRMSD), which is about 3 A from the experimental structure; for myoglobin, structures whose backbone cRMSD is 4.3 A are produced, and for a 247-residue TIM barrel, the cRMSD of the resulting folds is about 6 A. As would be expected, increasing the number of tertiary restraints improves the accuracy of the assembled structures. The reliability and robustness of the new method should enable its routine application in model building protocols based on various (very sparse) experimentally derived structural restraints.