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Sequence-Based Prediction of Metamorphic Behavior in Proteins.


An increasing number of proteins have been demonstrated in recent years to adopt multiple three-dimensional folds with different functions. These metamorphic proteins are characterized by having two or more folds with significant differences in their secondary structure, in which each fold is stabilized by a distinct local environment. So far, ∼90 metamorphic proteins have been identified in the Protein Databank, but we and others hypothesize that a far greater number of metamorphic proteins remain undiscovered. In this work, we introduce a computational model to predict metamorphic behavior in proteins using only knowledge of the sequence. In this model, secondary structure prediction programs are used to calculate diversity indices, which are measures of uncertainty in predicted secondary structure at each position in the sequence; these are then used to assign protein sequences as likely to be metamorphic versus monomorphic (i.e., having just one fold). We constructed a reference data set to train our classification method, which includes a novel compilation of 136 likely monomorphic proteins and a set of 201 metamorphic protein structures taken from the literature. Our model is able to classify proteins as metamorphic versus monomorphic with a Matthews correlation coefficient of ∼0.36 and true positive/true negative rates of ∼65%/80%, suggesting that it is possible to predict metamorphic behavior in proteins using only sequence information.

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