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Experimentally Derived and Computationally Optimized Backbone Conformational Statistics for Blocked Amino Acids

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posted on 05.12.2018, 00:00 by Jeong-Mo Choi, Rohit V. Pappu
Experimentally derived, amino acid specific backbone dihedral angle distributions are invaluable for modeling data-driven conformational equilibria of proteins and for enabling quantitative assessments of the accuracies of molecular mechanics force fields. The protein coil library that is extracted from analysis of high-resolution structures of proteins has served as a useful proxy for quantifying intrinsic and context-dependent conformational distributions of amino acids. However, data that go into coil libraries will have hidden biases, and ad hoc procedures must be used to remove these biases. Here, we combine high-resolution biased information from protein structural databases with unbiased low-resolution information from spectroscopic measurements of blocked amino acids to obtain experimentally derived and computationally optimized coil-library landscapes for each of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids. Quantitative descriptions of conformational distributions require parsing of data into conformational basins with defined envelopes, centers, and statistical weights. We develop and deploy a numerical method to extract conformational basins. The weights of conformational basins are optimized to reproduce quantitative inferences drawn from spectroscopic experiments for blocked amino acids. The optimized distributions serve as touchstones for assessments of intrinsic conformational preferences and for quantitative comparisons of molecular mechanics force fields.

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