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Improved cryoEM-Guided Iterative Molecular Dynamics--Rosetta Protein Structure Refinement Protocol for High Precision Protein Structure Prediction.

  • Author(s): Lindert, Steffen;
  • McCammon, J Andrew
  • et al.

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Many excellent methods exist that incorporate cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) data to constrain computational protein structure prediction and refinement. Previously, it was shown that iteration of two such orthogonal sampling and scoring methods – Rosetta and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations – facilitated exploration of conformational space in principle. Here, we go beyond a proof-of-concept study and address significant remaining limitations of the iterative MD–Rosetta protein structure refinement protocol. Specifically, all parts of the iterative refinement protocol are now guided by medium-resolution cryoEM density maps, and previous knowledge about the native structure of the protein is no longer necessary. Models are identified solely based on score or simulation time. All four benchmark proteins showed substantial improvement through three rounds of the iterative refinement protocol. The best-scoring final models of two proteins had sub-Ångstrom RMSD to the native structure over residues in secondary structure elements. Molecular dynamics was most efficient in refining secondary structure elements and was thus highly complementary to the Rosetta refinement which is most powerful in refining side chains and loop regions.

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