DDGun: an untrained predictor of protein stability changes upon amino acid variants

Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Jul 5;50(W1):W222-W227. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkac325.


Estimating the functional effect of single amino acid variants in proteins is fundamental for predicting the change in the thermodynamic stability, measured as the difference in the Gibbs free energy of unfolding, between the wild-type and the variant protein (ΔΔG). Here, we present the web-server of the DDGun method, which was previously developed for the ΔΔG prediction upon amino acid variants. DDGun is an untrained method based on basic features derived from evolutionary information. It is antisymmetric, as it predicts opposite ΔΔG values for direct (A → B) and reverse (B → A) single and multiple site variants. DDGun is available in two versions, one based on only sequence information and the other one based on sequence and structure information. Despite being untrained, DDGun reaches prediction performances comparable to those of trained methods. Here we make DDGun available as a web server. For the web server version, we updated the protein sequence database used for the computation of the evolutionary features, and we compiled two new data sets of protein variants to do a blind test of its performances. On these blind data sets of single and multiple site variants, DDGun confirms its prediction performance, reaching an average correlation coefficient between experimental and predicted ΔΔG of 0.45 and 0.49 for the sequence-based and structure-based versions, respectively. Besides being used for the prediction of ΔΔG, we suggest that DDGun should be adopted as a benchmark method to assess the predictive capabilities of newly developed methods. Releasing DDGun as a web-server, stand-alone program and docker image will facilitate the necessary process of method comparison to improve ΔΔG prediction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids* / genetics
  • Computers
  • Databases, Protein
  • Protein Stability*
  • Proteins* / chemistry
  • Proteins* / genetics


  • Amino Acids
  • Proteins