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An information gain-based approach for evaluating protein structure models

Abstract : For three decades now, knowledge-based scoring functions that operate through the potential of mean force (PMF) approach have continuously proven useful for studying protein structures. Although these statistical potentials are not to be confused with their physics-based counterparts of the same name-i.e. PMFs obtained by molecular dynamics simulations-their particular success in assessing the native-like character of protein structure predictions has lead authors to consider the computed scores as approximations of the free energy. However, this physical justification is a matter of controversy since the beginning. Alternative interpretations based on Bayes' theorem have been proposed, but the misleading formalism that invokes the inverse Boltzmann law remains recurrent in the literature. In this article, we present a conceptually new method for ranking protein structure models by quality, which is (i) independent of any physics-based explanation and (ii) relevant to statistics and to a general definition of information gain. The theoretical development described in this study provides new insights into how statistical PMFs work, in comparison with our approach. To prove the concept, we have built interatomic distance-dependent scoring functions, based on the former and new equations, and compared their performance on an independent benchmark of 60,000 protein structures. The results demonstrate that our new formalism outperforms statistical PMFs in evaluating the quality of protein structural decoys. Therefore, this original type of score offers a possibility to improve the success of statistical PMFs in the various fields of structural biology where they are applied. The open-source code is available for download at https://gitlab.rpbs.univ-paris-diderot.fr/src/ig-score. (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Research Network of Computational and Structural Biotechnology.
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https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03300418
Contributor : Colette Orange <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 10:15:34 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - 3:33:10 AM

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Guillaume Postic, Nathalie Janel, Pierre Tuffery, Gautier Moroy. An information gain-based approach for evaluating protein structure models. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Elsevier, 2020, 18, pp.2228-2236. ⟨10.1016/j.csbj.2020.08.013⟩. ⟨hal-03300418⟩

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