Source:Proteins, 37:592–610, 1999
A new method for the homology-based modeling of protein three-dimensional structures is proposed and evaluated. The alignment of a query sequence to a structural template produced by threading algorithms usually produces low-resolution molecular models. The proposed method attempts to improve these models. In the first stage, a high-coordination lattice approximation of the query protein fold is built by suitable tracking of the incomplete alignment of the structural template and connection of the alignment gaps. These initial lattice folds are very similar to the structures resulting from standard molecular modeling protocols. Then, a Monte Carlo simulated annealing procedure is used to refine the initial structure. The process is controlled by the model's internal force field and a set of loosely defined restraints that keep the lattice chain in the vicinity of the template conformation. The internal force field consists of several knowledge-based statistical potentials that are enhanced by a proper analysis of multiple sequence alignments. The template restraints are implemented such that the model chain can slide along the template structure or even ignore a substantial fraction of the initial alignment. The resulting lattice models are, in most cases, closer (sometimes much closer) to the target structure than the initial threading-based models. All atom models could easily be built from the lattice chains. The method is illustrated on 12 examples of target/template pairs whose initial threading alignments are of varying quality. Possible applications of the proposed method for use in protein function annotation are briefly discussed.