Direct coupling analysis for protein contact prediction

Methods in Molecular Biology
Faruck MorcosMartin Weigt


During evolution, structure, and function of proteins are remarkably conserved, whereas amino-acid sequences vary strongly between homologous proteins. Structural conservation constrains sequence variability and forces different residues to coevolve, i.e., to show correlated patterns of amino-acid occurrences. However, residue correlation may result from direct coupling, e.g., by a contact in the folded protein, or be induced indirectly via intermediate residues. To use empirically observed correlations for predicting residue-residue contacts, direct and indirect effects have to be disentangled. Here we present mechanistic details on how to achieve this using a methodology called Direct Coupling Analysis (DCA). DCA has been shown to produce highly accurate estimates of amino-acid pairs that have direct reciprocal constraints in evolution. Specifically, we provide instructions and protocols on how to use the algorithmic implementations of DCA starting from data extraction to predicted-contact visualization in contact maps or representative protein structures.


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Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
Homologous Gene

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