SVMQA: support-vector-machine-based protein single-model quality assessment

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The accurate ranking of predicted structural models and selecting the best model from a given candidate pool remain as open problems in the field of structural bioinformatics. The quality assessment (QA) methods used to address these problems can be grouped into two categories: consensus methods and single-model methods. Consensus methods in general perform better and attain higher correlation between predicted and true quality measures. However, these methods frequently fail to generate proper quality scores for native-like structures which are distinct from the rest of the pool. Conversely, single-model methods do not suffer from this drawback and are better suited for real-life applications where many models from various sources may not be readily available.


In this study, we developed a support-vector-machine-based single-model global quality assessment (SVMQA) method. For a given protein model, the SVMQA method predicts TM-score and GDT_TS score based on a feature vector containing statistical potential energy terms and consistency-based terms between the actual structural features (extracted from the three-dimensional coordinates) and predicted values (from primary sequence). We trained SVMQA using CASP8, CASP9 and CASP10 targets and determined the machine parameters by 10-fold cross-validation. We evaluated the performance of our SVMQA method on various benchmarking datasets. Results show that SVMQA outperformed the existing best single-model QA methods both in ranking provided protein models and in selecting the best model from the pool. According to the CASP12 assessment, SVMQA was the best method in selecting good-quality models from decoys in terms of GDTloss.

Availability and implementation:

SVMQA method can be freely downloaded from


Supplementary information:

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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