Coevolving residues inform protein dynamics profiles and disease susceptibility of nSNVs

by Brandon M. Butler, I. Can Kazan, Avishek Kumar, S. Banu Ozkan

The conformational dynamics of proteins is rarely used in methodologies used to predict the impact of genetic mutations due to the paucity of three-dimensional protein structures as compared to the vast number of available sequences. Until now a three-dimensional (3D) structure has been required to predict the conformational dynamics of a protein. We introduce an approach that estimates the conformational dynamics of a protein, without relying on structural information. This de novo approach utilizes coevolving residues identified from a multiple sequence alignment (MSA) using Potts models. These coevolving residues are used as contacts in a Gaussian network model (GNM) to obtain protein dynamics. B-factors calculated using sequence-based GNM (Seq-GNM) are in agreement with crystallographic B-factors as well as theoretical B-factors from the original GNM that utilizes the 3D structure. Moreover, we demonstrate the ability of the calculated B-factors from the Seq-GNM approach to discriminate genomic variants according to their phenotypes for a wide range of proteins. These results suggest that protein dynamics can be approximated based on sequence information alone, making it possible to assess the phenotypes of nSNVs in cases where a 3D structure is unknown. We hope this work will promote the use of dynamics information in genetic disease prediction at scale by circumventing the need for 3D structures.

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