Prediction of protein structural classes

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 1995;30(4):275-349. doi: 10.3109/10409239509083488.


A protein is usually classified into one of the following five structural classes: alpha, beta, alpha + beta, alpha/beta, and zeta (irregular). The structural class of a protein is correlated with its amino acid composition. However, given the amino acid composition of a protein, how may one predict its structural class? Various efforts have been made in addressing this problem. This review addresses the progress in this field, with the focus on the state of the art, which is featured by a novel prediction algorithm and a recently developed database. The novel algorithm is characterized by a covariance matrix that takes into account the coupling effect among different amino acid components of a protein. The new database was established based on the requirement that the classes should have (1) as many nonhomologous structures as possible, (2) good quality structure, and (3) typical or distinguishable features for each of the structural classes concerned. The very high success rate for both the training-set proteins and the testing-set proteins, which has been further validated by a simulated analysis and a jackknife analysis, indicates that it is possible to predict the structural class of a protein according to its amino acid composition if an ideal and complete database can be established. It also suggests that the overall fold of a protein is basically determined by its amino acid composition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Computers
  • Databases, Factual
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / classification*


  • Proteins