Rossmann-toolbox: a deep learning-based protocol for the prediction and design of cofactor specificity in Rossmann fold proteins

Brief Bioinform. 2022 Jan 17;23(1):bbab371. doi: 10.1093/bib/bbab371.


The Rossmann fold enzymes are involved in essential biochemical pathways such as nucleotide and amino acid metabolism. Their functioning relies on interaction with cofactors, small nucleoside-based compounds specifically recognized by a conserved βαβ motif shared by all Rossmann fold proteins. While Rossmann methyltransferases recognize only a single cofactor type, the S-adenosylmethionine, the oxidoreductases, depending on the family, bind nicotinamide (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) or flavin-based (flavin adenine dinucleotide) cofactors. In this study, we showed that despite its short length, the βαβ motif unambiguously defines the specificity towards the cofactor. Following this observation, we trained two complementary deep learning models for the prediction of the cofactor specificity based on the sequence and structural features of the βαβ motif. A benchmark on two independent test sets, one containing βαβ motifs bearing no resemblance to those of the training set, and the other comprising 38 experimentally confirmed cases of rational design of the cofactor specificity, revealed the nearly perfect performance of the two methods. The Rossmann-toolbox protocols can be accessed via the webserver at and are available as a Python package at

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Deep Learning*
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide / chemistry
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide / metabolism
  • NAD / chemistry
  • NAD / metabolism
  • NADP / chemistry
  • NADP / metabolism
  • Proteins


  • Proteins
  • NAD
  • Flavin-Adenine Dinucleotide
  • NADP