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Advances in the REDCAT software package

Chris Schmidt, Stephanie J Irausquin and Homayoun Valafar*

Author Affiliations

Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14:302  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-302

Published: 7 October 2013

Abstract

Background

Residual Dipolar Couplings (RDCs) have emerged in the past two decades as an informative source of experimental restraints for the study of structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules and complexes. The REDCAT software package was previously introduced for the analysis of molecular structures using RDC data. Here we report additional features that have been included in this software package in order to expand the scope of its analyses. We first discuss the features that enhance REDCATs user-friendly nature, such as the integration of a number of analyses into one single operation and enabling convenient examination of a structural ensemble in order to identify the most suitable structure. We then describe the new features which expand the scope of RDC analyses, performing exercises that utilize both synthetic and experimental data to illustrate and evaluate different features with regard to structure refinement and structure validation.

Results

We establish the seamless interaction that takes place between REDCAT, VMD, and Xplor-NIH in demonstrations that utilize our newly developed REDCAT-VMD and XplorGUI interfaces. These modules enable visualization of RDC analysis results on the molecular structure displayed in VMD and refinement of structures with Xplor-NIH, respectively. We also highlight REDCAT’s Error-Analysis feature in reporting the localized fitness of a structure to RDC data, which provides a more effective means of recognizing local structural anomalies. This allows for structurally sound regions of a molecule to be identified, and for any refinement efforts to be focused solely on locally distorted regions.

Conclusions

The newly engineered REDCAT software package, which is available for download via the WWW from http://ifestos.cse.sc.edu webcite, has been developed in the Object Oriented C++ environment. Our most recent enhancements to REDCAT serve to provide a more complete RDC analysis suite, while also accommodating a more user-friendly experience, and will be of great interest to the community of researchers and developers since it hides the complications of software development.

Keywords:
Protein; Structure; Residual; Dipolar; Coupling; VMD; Xplor-NIH; RDC