Discovering and classifying long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) across all mammalian tissues and cell lines remains a major challenge. Previously, mouse lncRNAs were identified using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) data from a limited number of tissues or cell lines. Additionally, associating a few hundred lncRNA promoters with chromatin states in a single mouse cell line has identified two classes of chromatin-associated lncRNA. However, the discovery and classification of lncRNAs is still pending in many other tissues in mouse. To address this, we built a comprehensive catalog of lncRNAs by combining known lncRNAs with high-confidence novel lncRNAs identified by mapping and de novo assembling billions of RNA-seq reads from eight tissues and a primary cell line in mouse. Next, we integrated this catalog of lncRNAs with multiple genome-wide chromatin state maps and found two different classes of chromatin state-associated lncRNAs, including promoter-associated (plncRNAs) and enhancer-associated (elncRNAs) lncRNAs, across various tissues. Experimental knockdown of an elncRNA resulted in the downregulation of the neighboring protein-coding Kdm8 gene, encoding a histone demethylase. Our findings provide 2,803 novel lncRNAs and a comprehensive catalog of chromatin-associated lncRNAs across different tissues in mouse.
Structures of biomolecular systems are increasingly computed by integrative modeling that relies on varied types of experimental data and theoretical information. We describe here the proceedings and conclusions from the first wwPDB Hybrid/Integrative Methods Task Force Workshop held at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, UK, October 6 and 7, 2014. At the workshop, experts in various experimental fields of structural biology, experts in integrative modeling and visualization, and experts in data archiving addressed a series of questions central to the future of structural biology. How should integrative models be represented? How should the data and integrative models be validated? What data should be archived? How should the data and models be archived? What information should accompany the publication of integrative models?
integrative modeling; hybrid modeling; integrative structural biology; Protein Data Bank
The great majority of helical membrane proteins are inserted co-translationally into the ER membrane through a continuous ribosome-translocon channel. The efficiency of membrane insertion depends on transmembrane (TM) helix amino acid composition, the helix length and the position of the amino acids within the helix. In this work, we conducted a computational analysis of the composition and location of amino acids in transmembrane helices found in membrane proteins of known structure to obtain an extensive set of designed polypeptide segments with naturally occurring amino acid distributions. Then, using an in vitro translation system in the presence of biological membranes, we experimentally validated our predictions by analyzing its membrane integration capacity. Coupled with known strategies to control membrane protein topology, these findings may pave the way to de novo membrane protein design.
Mating type switching in yeast occurs through gene conversion between the MAT locus and one of two silent loci (HML or HMR) on opposite ends of the chromosome. MATa cells choose HML as template, while MATα cells use HMR. The Recombination Enhancer (RE), located on the left arm regulates this process. One long-standing hypothesis is that switching is guided by mating type-specific, and possibly RE-dependent chromosome folding. Here we use Hi-C, 5C, and live cell imaging to characterize the conformation of chromosome III in both mating types. We discovered a mating type-specific conformational difference in the left arm. Deletion of a 1 kb subregion within the RE, which is not necessary during switching, abolished mating type-dependent chromosome folding. The RE is therefore a composite element with one subregion essential for donor selection during switching, and a separate region involved in modulating chromosome conformation.
Chromosome conformation; Mating type switching; long-range interactions; Recombination Enhancer; multicolor fluorescence microscopy
As a follow up to the antimycobacterial screening exercise and the release of GSK´s first Tres Cantos Antimycobacterial Set (TCAMS-TB), this paper presents the results of a second antitubercular screening effort of two hundred and fifty thousand compounds recently added to the GSK collection. The compounds were further prioritized based on not only antitubercular potency but also on physicochemical characteristics. The 50 most attractive compounds were then progressed for evaluation in three different predictive computational biology algorithms based on structural similarity or GSK historical biological assay data in order to determine their possible mechanisms of action. This effort has resulted in the identification of novel compounds and their hypothesized targets that will hopefully fuel future TB drug discovery and target validation programs alike.
Target identification is essential for drug design, drug-drug interaction prediction, dosage adjustment and side effect anticipation. Specifically, the knowledge of structural details is essential for understanding the mode of action of a compound on a target protein. Here, we present nAnnoLyze, a method for target identification that relies on the hypothesis that structurally similar binding sites bind similar ligands. nAnnoLyze integrates structural information into a bipartite network of interactions and similarities to predict structurally detailed compound-protein interactions at proteome scale. The method was benchmarked on a dataset of 6,282 pairs of known interacting ligand-target pairs reaching a 0.96 of area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUC) when using the drug names as an input feature for the classifier, and a 0.70 of AUC for “anonymous” compounds or compounds not present in the training set. nAnnoLyze resulted in higher accuracies than its predecessor, AnnoLyze. We applied the method to predict interactions for all the compounds in the DrugBank database with each human protein structure and provide examples of target identification for known drugs against human diseases. The accuracy and applicability of our method to any compound indicate that a comparative docking approach such as nAnnoLyze enables large-scale annotation and analysis of compound–protein interactions and thus may benefit drug development.
Description of the “mode-of-action” of a small chemical compound against a protein target is essential for the drug discovery process. Such description relies on three main steps: i) the identification of the target protein within the thousands of proteins in an organism, ii) the localization of the binding interaction site in the identified target protein, and iii) the molecular characterization of the compound’s binding mode in the binding site of the target protein. Here, we introduce a new computational method, called nAnnoLyze, which uses graph theory principles to relate compounds and target proteins based on comparative principles. nAnnoLyze aims at addressing two of the three previous steps, that is, target identification and binding site localization. Our results suggest that the nAnnoLyze accuracy and proteome-wide applicability enables the large-scale annotation and analysis of compound–protein interaction and thus may benefit drug development.
Restraint-based modeling of genomes has been recently explored with the advent of Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C-based) experiments. We previously developed a reconstruction method to resolve the 3D architecture of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes using 3C-based data. These models were congruent with fluorescent imaging validation. However, the limits of such methods have not systematically been assessed. Here we propose the first evaluation of a mean-field restraint-based reconstruction of genomes by considering diverse chromosome architectures and different levels of data noise and structural variability. The results show that: first, current scoring functions for 3D reconstruction correlate with the accuracy of the models; second, reconstructed models are robust to noise but sensitive to structural variability; third, the local structure organization of genomes, such as Topologically Associating Domains, results in more accurate models; fourth, to a certain extent, the models capture the intrinsic structural variability in the input matrices and fifth, the accuracy of the models can be a priori predicted by analyzing the properties of the interaction matrices. In summary, our work provides a systematic analysis of the limitations of a mean-field restrain-based method, which could be taken into consideration in further development of methods as well as their applications.
Functional characterization of a protein sequence is one of the most frequent problems in biology. This task is usually facilitated by accurate three-dimensional (3-D) structure of the studied protein. In the absence of an experimentally determined structure, comparative or homology modeling can sometimes provide a useful 3-D model for a protein that is related to at least one known protein structure. Comparative modeling predicts the 3-D structure of a given protein sequence (target) based primarily on its alignment to one or more proteins of known structure (templates). The prediction process consists of fold assignment, target-template alignment, model building, and model evaluation. This unit describes how to calculate comparative models using the program MODELLER and discusses all four steps of comparative modeling, frequently observed errors, and some applications. Modeling lactate dehydrogenase from Trichomonas
vaginalis (TvLDH) is described as an example. The download and installation of the MODELLER software is also described.
Modeller; protein structure; comparative modeling; structure prediction; protein fold
How DNA is organized in three dimensions inside the cell nucleus and how that affects the ways in which cells access, read and interpret genetic information are among the longest standing questions in cell biology. Using newly developed molecular, genomic, and computational approaches based on the chromosome conformation capture technology (such as 3C, 4C, 5C and Hi-C) the spatial organization of genomes is being explored at unprecedented resolution. Interpreting the increasingly large chromatin interaction datasets is now posing novel challenges. Here we describe several types of statistical and computational approaches that have recently been developed to analyze chromatin interaction data.
Chromosome conformation capture; chromatin looping; long-range gene regulation; chromatin domains; 3D modeling; polymer physics; genomics; integrative modeling; topology; fractal globule
We have determined the three-dimensional (3D) architecture of the Caulobacter crescentus genome by combining genome-wide chromatin interaction detection, live-cell imaging, and computational modeling. Using chromosome conformation capture carbon copy (5C) technology, we derive ~13 Kb resolution 3D models of the Caulobacter genome. These models illustrate that the genome is ellipsoidal with periodically arranged arms. The parS sites, a pair of short contiguous sequence elements involved in chromosome segregation, are positioned at one pole of this structure, where they nucleate a compact chromatin conformation. Both 5C and imaging experiments demonstrate that placing these sequence elements at new genomic positions yields large-scale rotations of the genome within the cell. Utilizing automated fluorescent imaging, we orient the genome within the cell and illustrate that within the resolution of our data the parS proximal region is the only portion of the genome stably attached to the cell envelope. Our approach provides an experimental paradigm for deriving insight into the cis-determinants of 3D genome architecture.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), infects an estimated two billion people worldwide and is the leading cause of mortality due to infectious disease. The development of new anti-TB therapeutics is required, because of the emergence of multi-drug resistance strains as well as co-infection with other pathogens, especially HIV. Recently, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline published the results of a high-throughput screen (HTS) of their two million compound library for anti-mycobacterial phenotypes. The screen revealed 776 compounds with significant activity against the M. tuberculosis H37Rv strain, including a subset of 177 prioritized compounds with high potency and low in vitro cytotoxicity. The next major challenge is the identification of the target proteins. Here, we use a computational approach that integrates historical bioassay data, chemical properties and structural comparisons of selected compounds to propose their potential targets in M. tuberculosis. We predicted 139 target - compound links, providing a necessary basis for further studies to characterize the mode of action of these compounds. The results from our analysis, including the predicted structural models, are available to the wider scientific community in the open source mode, to encourage further development of novel TB therapeutics.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a major worldwide pathogen infecting millions individuals every year. Additionally, the number of antibiotic resistant strains has dramatically increased over the last decades. Trying to address this challenge, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has recently published the results of a large-scale high-throughput screen (HTS) that resulted in the release of 776 chemical compound structures active against tuberculosis. We have used this dataset of compounds as input to our computational approach that integrates historical bioassay data, chemical properties and structural comparisons. We propose 139 targets alongside their respective hit compounds and made them open to the wider scientific community. Our hope is that the availability of the experimental data from GSK and our computational analysis will encourage further research providing validated therapeutically targets against this devastating disease.
The vast majority of membrane proteins are anchored to biological membranes through hydrophobic α-helices. Sequence analysis of high-resolution membrane protein structures show that ionizable amino acid residues are present in transmembrane (TM) helices, often with a functional and/or structural role. Here, using as scaffold the hydrophobic TM domain of the model membrane protein glycophorin A (GpA), we address the consequences of replacing specific residues by ionizable amino acids on TM helix insertion and packing, both in detergent micelles and in biological membranes. Our findings demonstrate that ionizable residues are stably inserted in hydrophobic environments, and tolerated in the dimerization process when oriented toward the lipid face, emphasizing the complexity of protein-lipid interactions in biological membranes.
PA-824 is a promising drug candidate for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB). It is in phase II clinical trials as part of the first newly designed regimen containing multiple novel antituberculosis drugs (PA-824 in combination with moxifloxacin and pyrazinamide). However, given that the genes involved in resistance against PA-824 are not fully conserved in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC), this regimen might not be equally effective against different MTBC genotypes. To investigate this question, we sequenced two PA-824 resistance genes (fgd1 [Rv0407] and ddn [Rv3547]) in 65 MTBC strains representing major phylogenetic lineages. The MICs of representative strains were determined using the modified proportion method in the Bactec MGIT 960 system. Our analysis revealed single-nucleotide polymorphisms in both genes that were specific either for several genotypes or for individual strains, yet none of these mutations significantly affected the PA-824 MICs (≤0.25 μg/ml). These results were supported by in silico modeling of the mutations identified in Fgd1. In contrast, “Mycobacterium canettii” strains displayed a higher MIC of 8 μg/ml. In conclusion, we found a large genetic diversity in PA-824 resistance genes that did not lead to elevated PA-824 MICs. In contrast, M. canettii strains had MICs that were above the plasma concentrations of PA-824 documented so far in clinical trials. As M. canettii is also intrinsically resistant against pyrazinamide, new regimens containing PA-824 and pyrazinamide might not be effective in treating M. canettii infections. This finding has implications for the design of multiple ongoing clinical trials.
Over the last decade, and especially after the advent of fluorescent in situ hybridization imaging and chromosome conformation capture methods, the availability of experimental data on genome three-dimensional organization has dramatically increased. We now have access to unprecedented details of how genomes organize within the interphase nucleus. Development of new computational approaches to leverage this data has already resulted in the first three-dimensional structures of genomic domains and genomes. Such approaches expand our knowledge of the chromatin folding principles, which has been classically studied using polymer physics and molecular simulations. Our outlook describes computational approaches for integrating experimental data with polymer physics, thereby bridging the resolution gap for structural determination of genomes and genomic domains.
We developed a general approach that combines Chromosome Conformation Capture Carbon Copy with the Integrated Modeling Platform to generate high-resolution three-dimensional models of chromatin at the Mb scale. We applied this approach to the ENm008 domain on human chromosome 16 containing the α-globin locus, which is expressed in K562 cells and silenced in lymphoblastoid cells (GM12878). The models accurately reproduce the known looping interactions between the α-globin genes and their distal regulatory elements. Further, we find that the domain folds into a single globular conformation in GM12878 cells, whereas two globules are formed in K562 cells. The central cores of these globules are enriched for transcribed genes, whereas non-transcribed chromatin is more peripheral. We propose that globule formation represents a higher-order folding state related to clustering of transcribed genes around shared transcription machineries, as observed by microscopy.
Comparing the structures of proteins is crucial to gaining insight into protein evolution and function. Here, we align the sequences of multiple protein structures by a dynamic programming optimization of a scoring function that is a sum of an affine gap penalty and terms dependent on various sequence and structure features (SALIGN). The features include amino acid residue type, residue position, residue accessible surface area, residue secondary structure state and the conformation of a short segment centered on the residue. The multiple alignment is built by following the ‘guide’ tree constructed from the matrix of all pairwise protein alignment scores. Importantly, the method does not depend on the exact values of various parameters, such as feature weights and gap penalties, because the optimal alignment across a range of parameter values is found. Using multiple structure alignments in the HOMSTRAD database, SALIGN was benchmarked against MUSTANG for multiple alignments as well as against TM-align and CE for pairwise alignments. On the average, SALIGN produces a 15% improvement in structural overlap over HOMSTRAD and 14% over MUSTANG, and yields more equivalent structural positions than TM-align and CE in 90% and 95% of cases, respectively. The utility of accurate multiple structure alignment is illustrated by its application to comparative protein structure modeling.
multiple structure alignment; dynamic programming; guide tree; RMSD; structure overlap
Motivation:Several strategies have been developed to predict the fold of a target protein sequence, most of which are based on aligning the target sequence to other sequences of known structure. Previously, we demonstrated that the consideration of protein–protein interactions significantly increases the accuracy of fold assignment compared with PSI-BLAST sequence comparisons. A drawback of our method was the low number of proteins to which a fold could be assigned. Here, we present an improved version of the method that addresses this limitation. We also compare our method to other state-of-the-art fold assignment methodologies.
Results: Our approach (ModLink+) has been tested on 3716 proteins with domain folds classified in the Structural Classification Of Proteins (SCOP) as well as known interacting partners in the Database of Interacting Proteins (DIP). For this test set, the ratio of success [positive predictive value (PPV)] on fold assignment increases from 75% for PSI-BLAST, 83% for HHSearch and 81% for PRC to >90% for ModLink+at the e-value cutoff of 10−3. Under this e-value, ModLink+can assign a fold to 30–45% of the proteins in the test set, while our previous method could cover <25%. When applied to 6384 proteins with unknown fold in the yeast proteome, ModLink+combined with PSI-BLAST assigns a fold for domains in 3738 proteins, while PSI-BLAST alone covers only 2122 proteins, HHSearch 2969 and PRC 2826 proteins, using a threshold e-value that would represent a PPV >82% for each method in the test set.
Availability: The ModLink+server is freely accessible in the World Wide Web at http://sbi.imim.es/modlink/.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
In recent years, the number of available RNA structures has rapidly grown reflecting the increased interest on RNA biology. Similarly to the studies carried out two decades ago for proteins, which gave the fundamental grounds for developing comparative protein structure prediction methods, we are now able to quantify the relationship between sequence and structure conservation in RNA.
Here we introduce an all-against-all sequence- and three-dimensional (3D) structure-based comparison of a representative set of RNA structures, which have allowed us to quantitatively confirm that: (i) there is a measurable relationship between sequence and structure conservation that weakens for alignments resulting in below 60% sequence identity, (ii) evolution tends to conserve more RNA structure than sequence, and (iii) there is a twilight zone for RNA homology detection.
The computational analysis here presented quantitatively describes the relationship between sequence and structure for RNA molecules and defines a twilight zone region for detecting RNA homology. Our work could represent the theoretical basis and limitations for future developments in comparative RNA 3D structure prediction.
Recent interest in non-coding RNA transcripts has resulted in a rapid increase of deposited RNA structures in the Protein Data Bank. However, a characterization and functional classification of the RNA structure and function space have only been partially addressed. Here, we introduce the SARA program for pair-wise alignment of RNA structures as a web server for structure-based RNA function assignment. The SARA server relies on the SARA program, which aligns two RNA structures based on a unit-vector root-mean-square approach. The likely accuracy of the SARA alignments is assessed by three different P-values estimating the statistical significance of the sequence, secondary structure and tertiary structure identity scores, respectively. Our benchmarks, which relied on a set of 419 RNA structures with known SCOR structural class, indicate that at a negative logarithm of mean P-value higher or equal than 2.5, SARA can assign the correct or a similar SCOR class to 81.4% and 95.3% of the benchmark set, respectively. The SARA server is freely accessible via the World Wide Web at http://sgu.bioinfo.cipf.es/services/SARA/.
Conventional patent-based drug development incentives work badly for the developing world, where commercial markets are usually small to non-existent. For this reason, the past decade has seen extensive experimentation with alternative R&D institutions ranging from private–public partnerships to development prizes. Despite extensive discussion, however, one of the most promising avenues—open source drug discovery—has remained elusive. We argue that the stumbling block has been the absence of a critical mass of preexisting work that volunteers can improve through a series of granular contributions. Historically, open source software collaborations have almost never succeeded without such “kernels”.
Here, we use a computational pipeline for: (i) comparative structure modeling of target proteins, (ii) predicting the localization of ligand binding sites on their surfaces, and (iii) assessing the similarity of the predicted ligands to known drugs. Our kernel currently contains 143 and 297 protein targets from ten pathogen genomes that are predicted to bind a known drug or a molecule similar to a known drug, respectively. The kernel provides a source of potential drug targets and drug candidates around which an online open source community can nucleate. Using NMR spectroscopy, we have experimentally tested our predictions for two of these targets, confirming one and invalidating the other.
The TDI kernel, which is being offered under the Creative Commons attribution share-alike license for free and unrestricted use, can be accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.tropicaldisease.org. We hope that the kernel will facilitate collaborative efforts towards the discovery of new drugs against parasites that cause tropical diseases.
Open source drug discovery, a promising alternative avenue to conventional patent-based drug development, has so far remained elusive with few exceptions. A major stumbling block has been the absence of a critical mass of preexisting work that volunteers can improve through a series of granular contributions. This paper introduces the results from a newly assembled computational pipeline for identifying protein targets for drug discovery in ten organisms that cause tropical diseases. We have also experimentally tested two promising targets for their binding to commercially available drugs, validating one and invalidating the other. The resulting kernel provides a base of drug targets and lead candidates around which an open source community can nucleate. We invite readers to donate their judgment and in silico and in vitro experiments to develop these targets to the point where drug optimization can begin.
MODBASE (http://salilab.org/modbase) is a database of annotated comparative protein structure models. The models are calculated by MODPIPE, an automated modeling pipeline that relies primarily on MODELLER for fold assignment, sequence–structure alignment, model building and model assessment (http:/salilab.org/modeller). MODBASE currently contains 5 152 695 reliable models for domains in 1 593 209 unique protein sequences; only models based on statistically significant alignments and/or models assessed to have the correct fold are included. MODBASE also allows users to calculate comparative models on demand, through an interface to the MODWEB modeling server (http://salilab.org/modweb). Other resources integrated with MODBASE include databases of multiple protein structure alignments (DBAli), structurally defined ligand binding sites (LIGBASE), predicted ligand binding sites (AnnoLyze), structurally defined binary domain interfaces (PIBASE) and annotated single nucleotide polymorphisms and somatic mutations found in human proteins (LS-SNP, LS-Mut). MODBASE models are also available through the Protein Model Portal (http://www.proteinmodelportal.org/).
A number of studies have used protein interaction data alone for protein function prediction. Here, we introduce a computational approach for annotation of enzymes, based on the observation that similar protein sequences are more likely to perform the same function if they share similar interacting partners.
The method has been tested against the PSI-BLAST program using a set of 3,890 protein sequences from which interaction data was available. For protein sequences that align with at least 40% sequence identity to a known enzyme, the specificity of our method in predicting the first three EC digits increased from 80% to 90% at 80% coverage when compared to PSI-BLAST.
Our method can also be used in proteins for which homologous sequences with known interacting partners can be detected. Thus, our method could increase 10% the specificity of genome-wide enzyme predictions based on sequence matching by PSI-BLAST alone.