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WCG Status Update

WCG Post

HPF2 Update - March 2010

Greetings WCG Volunteers,

We've been working diligently to develop a pipeline for a cooperative analysis of phylogenetic and structural data. We will integrate our structure predictions with knowledge of how proteins (and functional sites on folded proteins) evolve, by estimating the phylogenies of all protein domain families in our database and identifying positively-selected amino acid sites in these families using codon-based molecular evolution models that can be mapped onto the predicted structures. The first stages of this analysis are coming to fruition, and we've begun investigating preliminary results.

Using phylogenetic models, we intend to identify sites of proteins exhibiting evolutionary pressure. This may improve our understanding of how proteins evolve new functions and structures, and will ultimately lead to an increase in genome annotation for proteins whose purpose we know next to nothing about. The great scale of and wealth of information in our database may allow us to improve upon our existing and future de novo structure and function predictions. Identifying structurally or functionally importing residues in protein domains should inform our comparative modeling techniques. We use probabilistic methods to produce models of evolution using observed rates of mutation in protein families. Lots of different evolutionary pressures affect the mutation and expression of proteins, but we hope to garner insight with this analysis about how evolution adapts protein function.

Using our automated methods, we produced evolutionary models for a handful of identified protein domain families in major plant genomes. One such protein family matches PDB 1TQE "Myocyte Enhancer Factor-2". While this analysis is very preliminary (and I stress preliminary), positive selection analysis identifies a few residues that may be involved in DNA binding and the integrity of the dimer near the substrate. This is the kind of science we'll be investigating in the future using WCG predicted structures.
Patrick Winters
Bonneau Lab

PDB 1TQE: colored blue, with probability of positive selection highlighted yellow-red.

PDB 1TQE: the two chains colored blue and green, with probability of positive selection highlighted yellow-red.

Screenshot from embedded Jalview of the family's alignment.

Screenshot from embedded PhyloWidget of the family's phylogenetic tree.