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Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Jul 1;31(13):3293-5.

DSSPcont: Continuous secondary structure assignments for proteins.

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CUBIC, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, 650 West 168th Street BB217, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The DSSP program automatically assigns the secondary structure for each residue from the three-dimensional co-ordinates of a protein structure to one of eight states. However, discrete assignments are incomplete in that they cannot capture the continuum of thermal fluctuations. Therefore, DSSPcont ( introduces a continuous assignment of secondary structure that replaces 'static' by 'dynamic' states. Technically, the continuum results from calculating weighted averages over 10 discrete DSSP assignments with different hydrogen bond thresholds. A DSSPcont assignment for a particular residue is a percentage likelihood of eight secondary structure states, derived from a weighted average of the ten DSSP assignments. The continuous assignments have two important features: (i) they reflect the structural variations due to thermal fluctuations as detected by NMR spectroscopy; and (ii) they reproduce the structural variation between many NMR models from one single model. Therefore, functionally important variation can be extracted from a single X-ray structure using the continuous assignment procedure.

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