Protein structure prediction by pro-Sp3-TASSER
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An automated protein structure prediction algorithm, pro-sp3-Threading/ASSEmbly/Refinement (TASSER), is described and benchmarked. Structural templates are identified using five different scoring functions derived from the previously developed threading methods PROSPECTOR_3 and SP3. Top templates identified by each scoring function are combined to derive contact and distant restraints for subsequent model refinement by short TASSER simulations. For Medium/Hard targets (those with moderate to poor quality templates and/or alignments), alternative template alignments are also generated by parametric alignment and the top models selected by TASSER-QA are included in the contact and distance restraint derivation. Then, multiple short TASSER simulations are used to generate an ensemble of full-length models. Subsequently, the top models are selected from the ensemble by TASSER-QA and used to derive TASSER contacts and distant restraints for another round of full TASSER refinement. The final models are selected from both rounds of TASSER simulations by TASSER-QA. We compare prosp3- TASSER with our previously developed MetaTASSER method (enhanced with chunk-TASSER for Medium/Hard targets) on a representative test data set of 723 proteins <250 residues in length. For the 348 proteins classified as easy targets (those templates with good alignments and global structure similarity to the target), the cumulative TM-score of the best of top five models by pro-sp3-TASSER shows a 2.1% improvement over MetaTASSER. For the 155/220 medium/hard targets, the improvements in TM-score are 2.8% and 2.2%, respectively. All improvements are statistically significant. More importantly, the number of foldable targets (those having models whose TM-score to native >0.4 in the top five clusters) increases from 472 to 497 for all targets, and the relative increases for medium and hard targets are 10% and 15%, respectively. A server that implements the above algorithm is available .