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Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jul;41(Web Server issue):W273-80. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt384. Epub 2013 May 13.

EvoDesign: De novo protein design based on structural and evolutionary profiles.

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Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA.


Protein design aims to identify new protein sequences of desirable structure and biological function. Most current de novo protein design methods rely on physics-based force fields to search for low free-energy states following Anfinsen's thermodynamic hypothesis. A major obstacle of such approaches is the inaccuracy of the force field design, which cannot accurately describe the atomic interactions or distinguish correct folds. We developed a new web server, EvoDesign, to design optimal protein sequences of given scaffolds along with multiple sequence and structure-based features to assess the foldability and goodness of the designs. EvoDesign uses an evolution-profile-based Monte Carlo search with the profiles constructed from homologous structure families in the Protein Data Bank. A set of local structure features, including secondary structure, torsion angle and solvation, are predicted by single-sequence neural-network training and used to smooth the sequence motif and accommodate the physicochemical packing. The EvoDesign algorithm has been extensively tested in large-scale protein design experiments, which demonstrate enhanced foldability and structural stability of designed sequences compared with the physics-based designing methods. The EvoDesign server is freely available at

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