Stockholms universitet

Arne ElofssonProfessor i Bioinformatik



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Accurate contact-based modelling of repeat proteins predicts the structure of new repeats protein families

    2021. Claudio Bassot, Arne Elofsson. PloS Computational Biology 17 (4)


    Repeat proteins are widespread among organisms and particularly abundant in eukaryotic proteomes. Their primary sequence presents repetition in the amino acid sequences that origin structures with repeated folds/domains. Although the repeated units often can be recognised from the sequence alone, often structural information is missing. Here, we used contact prediction for predicting the structure of repeats protein directly from their primary sequences. We benchmark the methods on a dataset comprehensive of all the known repeated structures. We evaluate the contact predictions and the obtained models for different classes of repeat proteins. Further, we develop and benchmark a quality assessment (QA) method specific for repeat proteins. Finally, we used the prediction pipeline for all PFAM repeat families without resolved structures and found that forty-one of them could be modelled with high accuracy. Repeat proteins are abundant in eukaryotic proteomes. They are involved in many eukaryotic specific functions, including signalling. For many of these proteins, the structure is not known, as they are difficult to crystallise. Today, using direct coupling analysis and deep learning it is often possible to predict a protein's structure. However, the unique sequence features present in repeat proteins have been a challenge to use direct coupling analysis for predicting contacts. Here, we show that deep learning-based methods (trRosetta, DeepMetaPsicov (DMP) and PconsC4) overcomes this problem and can predict intra- and inter-unit contacts in repeat proteins. In a benchmark dataset of 815 repeat proteins, about 90% can be correctly modelled. Further, among 48 PFAM families lacking a protein structure, we produce models of forty-one families with estimated high accuracy.

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  • The evolutionary history of topological variations in the CPA/AT transporters

    2021. Govindarajan Sudha (et al.). PloS Computational Biology 17 (8)


    CPA/AT transporters are made up of scaffold and a core domain. The core domain contains two non-canonical helices (broken or reentrant) that mediate the transport of ions, amino acids or other charged compounds. During evolution, these transporters have undergone substantial changes in structure, topology and function. To shed light on these structural transitions, we create models for all families using an integrated topology annotation method. We find that the CPA/AT transporters can be classified into four fold-types based on their structure; (1) the CPA-broken fold-type, (2) the CPA-reentrant fold-type, (3) the BART fold-type, and (4) a previously not described fold-type, the Reentrant-Helix-Reentrant fold-type. Several topological transitions are identified, including the transition between a broken and reentrant helix, one transition between a loop and a reentrant helix, complete changes of orientation, and changes in the number of scaffold helices. These transitions are mainly caused by gene duplication and shuffling events. Structural models, topology information and other details are presented in a searchable database, CPAfold ( Author summary The availability of experimentally solved transmembrane transport structures are sparse, and modelling is challenging as the families contain non-canonical transmembrane helices. Here, we present structural models for all families of CPA/AT transporters. These proteins are then classified into four fold-types, including one novel fold-type, the reentrant-helix-reentrant fold type. We find extensive structural variations within the fold with members having from three to fourteen transmembrane helices. We explore the evolutionary mechanisms that have shaped the topological variations providing a deeper understanding of membrane protein structure and evolution. We also believe our work could serve as a model system to understand the evolution of topology variations for other membrane proteins.

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  • GraphQA

    2021. Federico Baldassarre (et al.). Bioinformatics 37 (3), 360-366


    Motivation: Proteins are ubiquitous molecules whose function in biological processes is determined by their 3D structure. Experimental identification of a protein's structure can be time-consuming, prohibitively expensive and not always possible. Alternatively, protein folding can be modeled using computational methods, which however are not guaranteed to always produce optimal results. GraphQA is a graph-based method to estimate the quality of protein models, that possesses favorable properties such as representation learning, explicit modeling of both sequential and 3D structure, geometric invariance and computational efficiency.

    Results: GraphQA performs similarly to state-of-the-art methods despite using a relatively low number of input features. In addition, the graph network structure provides an improvement over the architecture used in ProQ4 operating on the same input features. Finally, the individual contributions of GraphQA components are carefully evaluated.

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