A combination of sequence comparison, threading, lattice, and off-lattice Monte Carlo (MC) simulations and clustering of MC trajectories was used to predict the structure of all (but one) targets of the CASP4 experiment on protein structure prediction. Although this method is automated and is operationally the same regardless of the level of uniqueness of the query proteins, here we focus on the more difficult targets at the border of the fold recognition and new fold categories. For a few targets (T0110 is probably the best example), the ab initio method produced more accurate models than models obtained by the fold recognition techniques. For the most difficult targets from the new fold categories, substantial fragments of structures have been correctly predicted. Possible improvements of the method are briefly discussed.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.