Study of protetin loop conformational changes by free energy estimation using colony energy
"Predicting protein loop structures is an important modeling problem since protein loops are often involved in diverse biological functions by participating in enzyme active sites, ligand binding sites, etc. However, loop structure prediction is difficult even when structures of homologous proteins are known due to large sequence and structure variability among loops of homologous proteins. Therefore, an ab initio approach is necessary to solve loop modeling problems. One of the difficulties in the development of ab initio loop modeling method is to derive an accurate scoring function that closely approximates the true free energy function. In particular, entropy as well as energy contribution have to be considered adequately for loops because loops tend to be flexible compared to other parts of protein. In this study, the contribution of conformational entropy is considered in scoring loop conformations by employing “colony energy” which was previously proposed to estimate the free energy or an ensemble of conformations. Loop conformations were generated by using tow EDISON_Chem programs GalaxyFill and GalaxySC, and colony energy was designed for this sampling by tuning relevant parameters. On a test set of 40 loops, the accuracy of predicted loop structure improved on average by scoring with the colony energy compared to scoring by energy alone. In addition, high correlation between colony energy and deviation from the native structure suggested that more extensive sampling can further improve the prediction accuracy. In another test on 6 ligand-binding loops that show conformational changes by ligand binding, both ligand-free and ligand-bound states could be identified by using colony energy when no information on the ligand-bound conformation is used. "