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Proteins and their complexes can be heterogeneously disordered. In ensemble modeling of such systems with restraints from several experimental techniques the following problems arise: (a) integration of diverse restraints obtained on different samples under different conditions; (b) estimation of a realistic ensemble width; (c) sufficient sampling of conformational space; (d) representation of the ensemble by an interpretable number of conformers; (e) recognition of weak order with site resolution. Here, I introduce several tools that address these problems, focusing on utilization of distance distribution information for estimating ensemble width. The RigiFlex approach integrates such information with high-resolution structures of ordered domains and small-angle scattering data. The EnsembleFit module provides moderately sized ensembles by fitting conformer populations and discarding conformers with low population. EnsembleFit balances the loss in fit quality upon combining restraint subsets from different techniques. Pair correlation analysis for residues and local compaction analysis help in feature detection. The RigiFlex pipeline is tested on data simulated from the structure 70 kDa protein-RNA complex RsmE/RsmZ. It recovers this structure with ensemble width and difference from ground truth both being on the order of 4.2 Å. EnsembleFit reduces the ensemble of the proliferating-cell-nuclear-antigen-associated factor p15PAF from 4,939 to 75 conformers while maintaining good fit quality of restraints. Local compaction analysis for the PaaA2 antitoxin from E. coli O157 revealed correlations between compactness and enhanced residual dipolar couplings in the original NMR restraint set. © 2020 The Protein Society.


Gunnar Jeschke. MMM: Integrative ensemble modeling and ensemble analysis. Protein science : a publication of the Protein Society. 2021 Jan;30(1):125-135

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PMID: 33015891

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