Models for Protein Structure Prediction by Evolutionary Algorithms
Evolutionary algorithms (EAs) have been shown to be competent at solving complex, multimodal optimisation problems in applications where the search space is large and badly understood. EAs are therefore among the most promising classes of algorithms for solving the Protein Structure Prediction Problem (PSPP). The PSPP is how to derive the 3D-structure of a protein given only its sequence of amino acids. This dissertation defines, evaluates and shows limitations of simplified models for solving the PSPP. These simplified models are off-lattice extensions to the lattice HP model which has been proposed and is claimed to possess some of the properties of real protein folding such as the formation of a hydrophobic core. Lattice models usually model a protein at the amino acid level of detail, use simple energy calculations and are used mainly for search algorithm development. Off-lattice models usually model the protein at the atomic level of detail, use more complex energy calculations and may be used for comparison with real proteins. The idea is to combine the fast energy calculations of lattice models with the increased spatial possibilities of an off-lattice environment allowing for comparison with real protein structures. A hypothesis is presented which claims that a simplified off-lattice model which considers other amino acid properties apart from hydrophobicity will yield simulated structures with lower Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD) to the native fold than a model only considering hydrophobicity. The hypothesis holds for four of five tested short proteins with a maximum of 46 residues. Best average RMSD for any model tested is above 6Å, i.e. too high for useful structure prediction and excludes significant resemblance between native and simulated structure. Hence, the tested models do not contain the necessary biological information to capture the complex interactions of real protein folding. It is also shown that the EA itself is competent and can produce near-native structures if given a suitable evaluation function. Hence, EAs are useful for eventually solving the PSPP.
School:Högskolan i Skövde
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:bioinformatics evolutionary algorithms protein structure prediction
Date of Publication:01/30/2008