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Protein Sci. 1995 Dec;4(12):2517-25.

A simple and fast approach to prediction of protein secondary structure from multiply aligned sequences with accuracy above 70%.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


To improve secondary structure predictions in protein sequences, the information residing in multiple sequence alignments of substituted but structurally related proteins is exploited. A database comprised of 70 protein families and a total of 2,500 sequences, some of which were aligned by tertiary structural superpositions, was used to calculate residue exchange weight matrices within alpha-helical, beta-strand, and coil substructures, respectively. Secondary structure predictions were made based on the observed residue substitutions in local regions of the multiple alignments and the largest possible associated exchange weights in each of the three matrix types. Comparison of the observed and predicted secondary structure on a per-residue basis yielded a mean accuracy of 72.2%. Individual alpha-helix, beta-strand, and coil states were respectively predicted at 66.7, and 75.8% correctness, representing a well-balanced three-state prediction. The accuracy level, verified by cross-validation through jack-knife tests on all protein families, dropped, on average, to only 70.9%, indicating the rigor of the prediction procedure. On the basis of robustness, conceptual clarity, accuracy, and executable efficiency, the method has considerable advantage, especially with its sole reliance on amino acid substitutions within structurally related proteins.

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