We performed a comprehensive structure validation of both automated and manually generated structures of the 10 targets of the CASD-NMR-2013 effort. We established that automated structure determination protocols are capable of reliably producing structures of comparable accuracy and quality to those generated by a skilled researcher, at least for small, single domain proteins such as the ten targets tested. The most robust results appear to be obtained when NOESY peak lists are used either as the primary input data or to augment chemical shift data without the need to manually filter such lists. A detailed analysis of the long-range NOE restraints generated by the different programs from the same data showed a surprisingly low degree of overlap. Additionally, we found that there was no significant correlation between the extent of the NOE restraint overlap and the accuracy of the structure. This result was surprising given the importance of NOE data in producing good quality structures. We suggest that this could be explained by the information redundancy present in NOEs between atoms contained within a fixed covalent network.
Keywords: Blind testing; CASD-NMR; NMR; NOE; Protein; Quality; Structure determination; Validation.