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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

A multi-template combination algorithm for protein comparative modeling

Jianlin Cheng

Author Affiliations

Department of Computer Science, Informatics Institute, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-2060, USA

BMC Structural Biology 2008, 8:18  doi:10.1186/1472-6807-8-18

Published: 17 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Multiple protein templates are commonly used in manual protein structure prediction. However, few automated algorithms of selecting and combining multiple templates are available.

Results

Here we develop an effective multi-template combination algorithm for protein comparative modeling. The algorithm selects templates according to the similarity significance of the alignments between template and target proteins. It combines the whole template-target alignments whose similarity significance score is close to that of the top template-target alignment within a threshold, whereas it only takes alignment fragments from a less similar template-target alignment that align with a sizable uncovered region of the target.

We compare the algorithm with the traditional method of using a single top template on the 45 comparative modeling targets (i.e. easy template-based modeling targets) used in the seventh edition of Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP7). The multi-template combination algorithm improves the GDT-TS scores of predicted models by 6.8% on average. The statistical analysis shows that the improvement is significant (p-value < 10-4). Compared with the ideal approach that always uses the best template, the multi-template approach yields only slightly better performance. During the CASP7 experiment, the preliminary implementation of the multi-template combination algorithm (FOLDpro) was ranked second among 67 servers in the category of high-accuracy structure prediction in terms of GDT-TS measure.

Conclusion

We have developed a novel multi-template algorithm to improve protein comparative modeling.