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Comparative Study
, 279 (1), 287-302

A Graph-Theoretic Algorithm for Comparative Modeling of Protein Structure

Comparative Study

A Graph-Theoretic Algorithm for Comparative Modeling of Protein Structure

R Samudrala et al. J Mol Biol.


The interconnected nature of interactions in protein structures appears to be the major hurdle in preventing the construction of accurate comparative models. We present an algorithm that uses graph theory to handle this problem. Each possible conformation of a residue in an amino acid sequence is represented using the notion of a node in a graph. Each node is given a weight based on the degree of the interaction between its side-chain atoms and the local main-chain atoms. Edges are then drawn between pairs of residue conformations/nodes that are consistent with each other (i.e. clash-free and satisfying geometrical constraints). The edges are weighted based on the interactions between the atoms of the two nodes. Once the entire graph is constructed, all the maximal sets of completely connected nodes (cliques) are found using a clique-finding algorithm. The cliques with the best weights represent the optimal combinations of the various main-chain and side-chain possibilities, taking the respective environments into account. The algorithm is used in a comparative modeling scenario to build side-chains, regions of main chain, and mix and match between different homologs in a context-sensitive manner. The predictive power of this method is assessed by applying it to cases where the experimental structure is not known in advance.

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