ABSTRACT: Most methods for biological sequence homology search and alignment work with primary sequence alone, neglecting higher-order correlations. Recently, statistical physics models called Potts models have been used to infer all-by-all pairwise correlations between sites in deep multiple sequence alignments, and these pairwise couplings have improved 3D structure predictions. Here we extend the use of Potts models from structure prediction to sequence alignment and homology search by developing what we call a hidden Potts model (HPM) that merges a Potts emission process to a generative probability model of insertion and deletion. Because an HPM is incompatible with efficient dynamic programming alignment algorithms, we develop an approximate algorithm based on importance sampling, using simpler probabilistic models as proposal distributions. We test an HPM implementation on RNA structure homology search benchmarks, where we can compare directly to exact alignment methods that capture nested RNA base-pairing correlations (stochastic context-free grammars). HPMs perform promisingly in these proof of principle experiments.
Project description:PURPOSE:To investigate how high-permittivity materials (HPMs) can improve SNR when placed between MR detectors and the imaged body. METHODS:We used a simulation framework based on dyadic Green's functions to calculate the electromagnetic field inside a uniform dielectric sphere at 7 Tesla, with and without a surrounding layer of HPM. SNR-optimizing (ideal) current patterns were expressed as the sum of signal-optimizing (signal-only) current patterns and dark mode current patterns that minimize sample noise while contributing nothing to signal. We investigated how HPM affects the shape and amplitude of these current patterns, sample noise, and array SNR. RESULTS:Ideal and signal-only current patterns were identical for a central voxel. HPMs introduced a phase shift into these patterns, compensating for signal propagation delay in the HPMs. For an intermediate location within the sphere, dark mode current patterns were present and illustrated the mechanisms by which HPMs can reduce sample noise. High-amplitude signal-only current patterns were observed for HPM configurations that shield the electromagnetic field from the sample. For coil arrays, these configurations corresponded to poor SNR in deep regions but resulted in large SNR gains near the surface due to enhanced fields in the vicinity of the HPM. For very high relative permittivity values, HPM thicknesses corresponding to even multiples of ?/4 resulted in coil SNR gains throughout the sample. CONCLUSION:HPMs affect both signal sensitivity and sample noise. Lower amplitude signal-only optimal currents corresponded to higher array SNR performance and could guide the design of coils integrated with HPM.
Project description:Potts Hamiltonian models of protein sequence co-variation are statistical models constructed from the pair correlations observed in a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) of a protein family. These models are powerful because they capture higher order correlations induced by mutations evolving under constraints and help quantify the connections between protein sequence, structure, and function maintained through evolution. We review recent work with Potts models to predict protein structure and sequence-dependent conformational free energy landscapes, to survey protein fitness landscapes and to explore the effects of epistasis on fitness. We also comment on the numerical methods used to infer these models for each application.
Project description:HHpred is a fast server for remote protein homology detection and structure prediction and is the first to implement pairwise comparison of profile hidden Markov models (HMMs). It allows to search a wide choice of databases, such as the PDB, SCOP, Pfam, SMART, COGs and CDD. It accepts a single query sequence or a multiple alignment as input. Within only a few minutes it returns the search results in a user-friendly format similar to that of PSI-BLAST. Search options include local or global alignment and scoring secondary structure similarity. HHpred can produce pairwise query-template alignments, multiple alignments of the query with a set of templates selected from the search results, as well as 3D structural models that are calculated by the MODELLER software from these alignments. A detailed help facility is available. As a demonstration, we analyze the sequence of SpoVT, a transcriptional regulator from Bacillus subtilis. HHpred can be accessed at http://protevo.eb.tuebingen.mpg.de/hhpred.
Project description:Background:Dendrobii Officinalis Caulis (DC) is a well-known tonic herbal medicine worldwide and has favorable immunomodulatory activity. Various material specifications of DC are available in herbal markets, and DC is ingested by different edible methods. However, whether these specifications and edible methods are suitable or not remains unknown. Methods:In this study, we evaluated the suitability of four material specifications (fresh stem, dried stem, fengdou and powder) and three edible methods (making tea, soup and medicinal liquor) based on holistic polysaccharide marker (HPM), the major polysaccharide components in DC. First, the HPMs were extracted from the four specifications of DC by the three edible methods in different conditions. Second, qualitative and quantitative characterization of the extracted HPMs was performed using high performance gel permeation chromatography (HPGPC). Third, immunomodulatory activities of the extracted HPMs were evaluated in vivo. Results:The results showed that the HPMs were found to be quantitatively different from various specification of DC and edible methods. In vivo analysis indicated that the HPMs exerted positive effects on innate immune responses by increment in proliferation of splenocytes, secretion of IL-2 and cytotoxicity activity of NK cells. Moreover, the dosage amount of HPM should be defined as a certain range, but not the larger the better, for exerting strong immunological activities. Conclusion:According to the both chemical and biological results, fengdou by boiling with water for 4 h is the most recommended specification and edible method for DC.
Project description:Recent developments in global statistical methodologies have advanced the analysis of large collections of protein sequences for coevolutionary information. Coevolution between amino acids in a protein arises from compensatory mutations that are needed to maintain the stability or function of a protein over the course of evolution. This gives rise to quantifiable correlations between amino acid sites within the multiple sequence alignment of a protein family. Here, we use the maximum entropy-based approach called mean field Direct Coupling Analysis (mfDCA) to infer a Potts model Hamiltonian governing the correlated mutations in a protein family. We use the inferred pairwise statistical couplings to generate the sequence-dependent heterogeneous interaction energies of a structure-based model (SBM) where only native contacts are considered. Considering the ribosomal S6 protein and its circular permutants as well as the SH3 protein, we demonstrate that these models quantitatively agree with experimental data on folding mechanisms. This work serves as a new framework for generating coevolutionary data-enriched models that can potentially be used to engineer key functional motions and novel interactions in protein systems.
Project description:Inverse statistical approaches to determine protein structure and function from Multiple Sequence Alignments (MSA) are emerging as powerful tools in computational biology. However the underlying assumptions of the relationship between the inferred effective Potts Hamiltonian and real protein structure and energetics remain untested so far. Here we use lattice protein model (LP) to benchmark those inverse statistical approaches. We build MSA of highly stable sequences in target LP structures, and infer the effective pairwise Potts Hamiltonians from those MSA. We find that inferred Potts Hamiltonians reproduce many important aspects of 'true' LP structures and energetics. Careful analysis reveals that effective pairwise couplings in inferred Potts Hamiltonians depend not only on the energetics of the native structure but also on competing folds; in particular, the coupling values reflect both positive design (stabilization of native conformation) and negative design (destabilization of competing folds). In addition to providing detailed structural information, the inferred Potts models used as protein Hamiltonian for design of new sequences are able to generate with high probability completely new sequences with the desired folds, which is not possible using independent-site models. Those are remarkable results as the effective LP Hamiltonians used to generate MSA are not simple pairwise models due to the competition between the folds. Our findings elucidate the reasons for the success of inverse approaches to the modelling of proteins from sequence data, and their limitations.
Project description:Iterative similarity search programs, like psiblast, jackhmmer, and psisearch, are much more sensitive than pairwise similarity search methods like blast and ssearch because they build a position specific scoring model (a PSSM or HMM) that captures the pattern of sequence conservation characteristic to a protein family. But models are subject to contamination; once an unrelated sequence has been added to the model, homologs of the unrelated sequence will also produce high scores, and the model can diverge from the original protein family. Examination of alignment errors during psiblast PSSM contamination suggested a simple strategy for dramatically reducing PSSM contamination. psiblast PSSMs are built from the query-based multiple sequence alignment (MSA) implied by the pairwise alignments between the query model (PSSM, HMM) and the subject sequences in the library. When the original query sequence residues are inserted into gapped positions in the aligned subject sequence, the resulting PSSM rarely produces alignment over-extensions or alignments to unrelated sequences. This simple step, which tends to anchor the PSSM to the original query sequence and slightly increase target percent identity, can reduce the frequency of false-positive alignments more than 20-fold compared with psiblast and jackhmmer, with little loss in search sensitivity.
Project description:Accurate comparative analysis tools for low-homology proteins remains a difficult challenge in computational biology, especially sequence alignment and consensus folding problems. We present partiFold-Align, the first algorithm for simultaneous alignment and consensus folding of unaligned protein sequences; the algorithm's complexity is polynomial in time and space. Algorithmically, partiFold-Align exploits sparsity in the set of super-secondary structure pairings and alignment candidates to achieve an effectively cubic running time for simultaneous pairwise alignment and folding. We demonstrate the efficacy of these techniques on transmembrane ?-barrel proteins, an important yet difficult class of proteins with few known three-dimensional structures. Testing against structurally derived sequence alignments, partiFold-Align significantly outperforms state-of-the-art pairwise and multiple sequence alignment tools in the most difficult low-sequence homology case. It also improves secondary structure prediction where current approaches fail. Importantly, partiFold-Align requires no prior training. These general techniques are widely applicable to many more protein families (partiFold-Align is available at http://partifold.csail.mit.edu/ ).
Project description:Alignment of structural RNAs is an important problem with a wide range of applications. Since function is often determined by molecular structure, RNA alignment programs should take into account both sequence and base-pairing information for structural homology identification. This paper describes C++ software, RNAmountAlign, for RNA sequence/structure alignment that runs in O(n3) time and O(n2) space for two sequences of length n; moreover, our software returns a p-value (transformable to expect value E) based on Karlin-Altschul statistics for local alignment, as well as parameter fitting for local and global alignment. Using incremental mountain height, a representation of structural information computable in cubic time, RNAmountAlign implements quadratic time pairwise local, global and global/semiglobal (query search) alignment using a weighted combination of sequence and structural similarity. RNAmountAlign is capable of performing progressive multiple alignment as well. Benchmarking of RNAmountAlign against LocARNA, LARA, FOLDALIGN, DYNALIGN, STRAL, MXSCARNA, and MUSCLE shows that RNAmountAlign has reasonably good accuracy and faster run time supporting all alignment types. Additionally, our extension of RNAmountAlign, called RNAmountAlignScan, which scans a target genome sequence to find hits having high sequence and structural similarity to a given query sequence, outperforms RSEARCH and sequence-only query scans and runs faster than FOLDALIGN query scan.