A deep learning framework for improving long-range residue-residue contact prediction using a hierarchical strategy

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Motivation:Residue-residue contacts are of great value for protein structure prediction, since contact information, especially from those long-range residue pairs, can significantly reduce the complexity of conformational sampling for protein structure prediction in practice. Despite progresses in the past decade on protein targets with abundant homologous sequences, accurate contact prediction for proteins with limited sequence information is still far from satisfaction. Methodologies for these hard targets still need further improvement.Results:We presented a computational program DeepConPred, which includes a pipeline of two novel deep-learning-based methods (DeepCCon and DeepRCon) as well as a contact refinement step, to improve the prediction of long-range residue contacts from primary sequences. When compared with previous prediction approaches, our framework employed an effective scheme to identify optimal and important features for contact prediction, and was only trained with coevolutionary information derived from a limited number of homologous sequences to ensure robustness and usefulness for hard targets. Independent tests showed that 59.33%/49.97%, 64.39%/54.01% and 70.00%/59.81% of the top L/5, top L/10 and top 5 predictions were correct for CASP10/CASP11 proteins, respectively. In general, our algorithm ranked as one of the best methods for CASP targets.Availability and implementation:All source data and codes are available at or zengjy321@tsinghua.edu.cnSupplementary information:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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