Redundancy-weighting for better inference of protein structural features

Chen Yanover, Natalia Vanetik, Michael Levitt, Rachel Kolodny, Chen Keasar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivation: Structural knowledge, extracted from the Protein Data Bank (PDB), underlies numerous potential functions and prediction methods. The PDB, however, is highly biased: many proteins have more than one entry, while entire protein families are represented by a single structure, or even not at all. The standard solution to this problem is to limit the studies to non-redundant subsets of the PDB. While alleviating biases, this solution hides the many-to-many relations between sequences and structures. That is, non-redundant datasets conceal the diversity of sequences that share the same fold and the existence of multiple conformations for the same protein. A particularly disturbing aspect of non-redundant subsets is that they hardly benefit from the rapid pace of protein structure determination, as most newly solved structures fall within existing families. Results: In this study we explore the concept of redundancy-weighted datasets, originally suggested by Miyazawa and Jernigan. Redundancy-weighted datasets include all available structures and associate them (or features thereof) with weights that are inversely proportional to the number of their homologs. Here, we provide the first systematic comparison of redundancy-weighted datasets with non-redundant ones. We test three weighting schemes and show that the distributions of structural features that they produce are smoother (having higher entropy) compared with the distributions inferred from non-redundant datasets. We further show that these smoothed distributions are both more robust and more correct than their non-redundant counterparts. We suggest that the better distributions, inferred using redundancyweighting, may improve the accuracy of knowledge-based potentials and increase the power of protein structure prediction methods. Consequently, they may enhance model-driven molecular biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2295-2301
Number of pages7
Issue number16
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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