Assembly of polypeptide and protein backbone conformations from low energy ensembles of short fragments: development of strategies and construction of models for myoglobin, lysozyme, and thymosin beta 4

Protein Sci. 1992 May;1(5):625-40. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560010509.


Recently we developed methods for the construction of knowledge-based mean fields from a data base of known protein structures. As shown previously, this approach can be used to calculate ensembles of probable conformations for short fragments of polypeptide chains. Here we develop procedures for the assembly of short fragments to complete three-dimensional models of polypeptide chains. The amino acid sequence of a given protein is decomposed into all possible overlapping fragments of a given length, and an ensemble of probable conformations is calculated for each fragment. The fragments are assembled to a complete model by choosing appropriate conformations from the individual ensembles and by averaging over equivalent angles. Finally a consistent model is obtained by rebuilding the conformation from the average angles. From the average angles the local variability of the structure can be calculated, which is a useful criterion for the reliability of the model. The procedure is applied to the calculation of the local backbone conformations of myoglobin and lysozyme whose structures have been solved by X-ray analysis and thymosin beta 4, a polypeptide of 43 amino acid residues whose structure was recently investigated by NMR spectroscopy. We demonstrate that substantial fractions of the calculated local backbone conformations are similar to the experimentally determined structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Computer Simulation
  • Databases, Factual
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muramidase / chemistry*
  • Myoglobin / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding
  • Thermodynamics
  • Thymosin / chemistry*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Myoglobin
  • Peptide Fragments
  • thymosin beta(4)
  • Thymosin
  • Muramidase