Due to the strict relation between protein function and structure, the prediction of protein 3D-structure has become one of the most important tasks in bioinformatics and proteomics. In fact, notwithstanding the increase of experimental data on protein structures available in public databases, the gap between known sequences and known tertiary structures is constantly increasing. The need for automatic methods has brought the development of several prediction and modelling tools, but a general methodology able to solve the problem has not yet been devised, and most methodologies concentrate on the simplified task of predicting secondary structure.
In this paper we concentrate on the problem of predicting secondary structures by adopting a technology based on multiple experts. The system performs an overall processing based on two main steps: first, a "sequence-to-structure" prediction is enforced by resorting to a population of hybrid (genetic-neural) experts, and then a "structure-to-structure" prediction is performed by resorting to an artificial neural network. Experiments, performed on sequences taken from well-known protein databases, allowed to reach an accuracy of about 76%, which is comparable to those obtained by state-of-the-art predictors.
The adoption of a hybrid technique, which encompasses genetic and neural technologies, has demonstrated to be a promising approach in the task of protein secondary structure prediction.