Protein secondary structure assignment revisited: a detailed analysis of different assignment methods
1 INRA, Unité Mathématiques Informatique et Génome, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy en Josas Cedex, France
2 INSERM U726, Equipe de Bioinformatique Génomique et Moléculaire, Université Paris 7, case 7113, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris cedex 05, France
BMC Structural Biology 2005, 5:17 doi:10.1186/1472-6807-5-17Published: 15 September 2005
A number of methods are now available to perform automatic assignment of periodic secondary structures from atomic coordinates, based on different characteristics of the secondary structures. In general these methods exhibit a broad consensus as to the location of most helix and strand core segments in protein structures. However the termini of the segments are often ill-defined and it is difficult to decide unambiguously which residues at the edge of the segments have to be included. In addition, there is a "twilight zone" where secondary structure segments depart significantly from the idealized models of Pauling and Corey. For these segments, one has to decide whether the observed structural variations are merely distorsions or whether they constitute a break in the secondary structure.
To address these problems, we have developed a method for secondary structure assignment, called KAKSI. Assignments made by KAKSI are compared with assignments given by DSSP, STRIDE, XTLSSTR, PSEA and SECSTR, as well as secondary structures found in PDB files, on 4 datasets (X-ray structures with different resolution range, NMR structures).
A detailed comparison of KAKSI assignments with those of STRIDE and PSEA reveals that KAKSI assigns slightly longer helices and strands than STRIDE in case of one-to-one correspondence between the segments. However, KAKSI tends also to favor the assignment of several short helices when STRIDE and PSEA assign longer, kinked, helices. Helices assigned by KAKSI have geometrical characteristics close to those described in the PDB. They are more linear than helices assigned by other methods. The same tendency to split long segments is observed for strands, although less systematically. We present a number of cases of secondary structure assignments that illustrate this behavior.
Our method provides valuable assignments which favor the regularity of secondary structure segments.