The biological function of proteins is dependent, to a large extent, on their native three dimensional conformation. Thus, it is important to know the structure of as many proteins as possible. Since experimental methods for structure determination are very tedious, there is a significant effort to calculate the structure of a protein from its linear sequence. Direct methods of calculating structure from sequence are not available yet. Thus, an indirect approach to predict the conformation of protein, called threading, is discussed. In this approach, known structures are used as constraints, to restrict the search for the native conformation. Threading requires finding good alignments between a sequence and a structure, which is a major computational challenge and a practical bottleneck in applying threading procedures. The Genetic Algorithm paradigm, an efficient search method that is based on evolutionary ideas, is used to perform sequence to structure alignments. A proper representation is discussed in which genetic operators can be effectively implemented. The algorithm performance is tested for a set of six sequence/structure pairs. The effects of changing operators and parameters are explored and analyzed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Amihood Amir acknowledges support from NSF grant CCR-96-10170 and BSF grant 96-00509. Ron Unger is supported by grant 569/98 from the Israel Science Foundation.
- Genetic algorithms
- Protein folding
- Protein threading