Secondary Structure Spatial Conformation Footprint: A Novel Method for Fast Protein Structure Comparison and Classification

TitleSecondary Structure Spatial Conformation Footprint: A Novel Method for Fast Protein Structure Comparison and Classification
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsZotenko E, O'Leary DP, Przytycka TM
JournalBMC Structural Biology
Date Published2006///

Recently a new class of methods for fast protein structure comparison has emerged. We call the methods in this class projection methods as they rely on a mapping of protein structure into a high-dimensional vector space. Once the mapping is done, the structure comparison is reduced to distance computation between corresponding vectors. As structural similarity is approximated by distance between projections, the success of any projection method depends on how well its mapping function is able to capture the salient features of protein structure. There is no agreement on what constitutes a good projection technique and the three currently known projection methods utilize very different approaches to the mapping construction, both in terms of what structural elements are included and how this information is integrated to produce a vector representation. Results In this paper we propose a novel projection method that uses secondary structure information to produce the mapping. First, a diverse set of spatial arrangements of triplets of secondary structure elements, a set of structural models, is automatically selected. Then, each protein structure is mapped into a high-dimensional vector of "counts" or footprint, where each count corresponds to the number of times a given structural model is observed in the structure, weighted by the precision with which the model is reproduced. We perform the first comprehensive evaluation of our method together with all other currently known projection methods. Conclusion The results of our evaluation suggest that the type of structural information used by a projection method affects the ability of the method to detect structural similarity. In particular, our method that uses the spatial conformations of triplets of secondary structure elements outperforms other methods in most of the tests.