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The loop problem in proteins: a Monte Carlo simulated annealing approach

Carlacci, L., Englander, S.W.
Biopolymers 1993 v.33 no.8 pp. 1271-1286
proteins, cattle, pancreas, trypsin inhibitors, molecular conformation, Monte Carlo method, simulation models, algorithms
A Monte Carlo simulated annealing (MCSA) algorithm was used to generate the conformations of local regions in bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) starting from random initial conformations. In the approach explored, only the conformation of the segment is computed; the rest of the protein is fixed in the known native conformation. Rather than follow a single simulation exhaustively, computer time is better used by performing multiple independent MCSA simulations in which different starting temperatures are employed and the number of conformations sampled is varied. The best computed conformation is chosen on the basis of lowest total energy and refined further. The total energy used in the annealing is the sum of the intrasegment energy, the interaction energy of the segment with the local surrounding region, and a distance constraint to generate a smooth connection of the initially randomized segment with the rest of the protein. The rms deviations between the main-chain conformations of the computed segments in BPTI and those of the native X-ray structure are 0.94 angstrom for a 5-residue alpha-helical segment, 1.11 angstrom for a 5-residue beta-strand segment, and 1.03, 1.61, and 1.87 angstrom for 5-, 7-, and 9-residue loop segments. Side-chain deviations are comparable to the main-chain deviations for those side chains that interact strongly with the fixed part of the protein. A detailed view of the deviations at an atom-resolved level is obtained by comparing the predicted segments with their known conformations in the crystal structure of BPTI. These results emphasize the value of predetermined fixed structure against which the computed segment can nest.