Blind test of physics-based prediction of protein structures

M. Scott Shell, Sefika Ozkan, Vincent Voelz, Guohong Albert Wu, Ken A. Dill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We report here a multiprotein blind test of a computer method to predict native protein structures based solely on an all-atom physics-based force field. We use the AMBER 96 potential function with an implicit (GB/SA) model of solvation, combined with replica-exchange molecular-dynamics simulations. Coarse conformational sampling is performed using the zipping and assembly method (ZAM), an approach that is designed to mimic the putative physical routes of protein folding. ZAM was applied to the folding of six proteins, from 76 to 112 monomers in length, in CASP7, a community-wide blind test of protein structure prediction. Because these predictions have about the same level of accuracy as typical bioinformatics methods, and do not utilize information from databases of known native structures, this work opens up the possibility of predicting the structures of membrane proteins, synthetic peptides, or other foldable polymers, for which there is little prior knowledge of native structures. This approach may also be useful for predicting physical protein folding routes, non-native conformations, and other physical properties from amino acid sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-924
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 4 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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