Protein motion is often the link between structure and function and a substantial fraction of proteins move through a domain hinge bending mechanism. Predicting the location of the hinge from a single structure is thus a logical first step towards predicting motion. Here, we describe ways to predict the hinge location by grouping residues with correlated normal-mode motions. We benchmarked our normal-mode based predictor against a gold standard set of carefully annotated hinge locations taken from the Database of Macromolecular Motions. We then compared it with three existing structure-based hinge predictors (TLSMD, StoneHinge, and FlexOracle), plus HingeSeq, a sequence-based hinge predictor. Each of these methods predicts hinges using very different sources of information-normal modes, experimental thermal factors, bond constraint networks, energetics, and sequence, respectively. Thus it is logical that using these algorithms together would improve predictions. We integrated all the methods into a combined predictor using a weighted voting scheme. Finally, we encapsulated all our results in a web tool which can be used to run all the predictors on submitted proteins and visualize the results.
(c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.