The last few decades observed an increasing interest in development and application of 1-dimensional (1D) descriptors of protein structure. These descriptors project 3D structural features onto 1D strings of residue-wise structural assignments. They cover a wide-range of structural aspects including conformation of the backbone, burying depth/solvent exposure and flexibility of residues, and inter-chain residue-residue contacts. We perform first-of-its-kind comprehensive comparative review of the existing 1D structural descriptors. We define, review and categorize ten structural descriptors and we also describe, summarize and contrast over eighty computational models that are used to predict these descriptors from the protein sequences. We show that the majority of the recent sequence-based predictors utilize machine learning models, with the most popular being neural networks, support vector machines, hidden Markov models, and support vector and linear regressions. These methods provide high-throughput predictions and most of them are accessible to a non-expert user via web servers and/or stand-alone software packages. We empirically evaluate several recent sequence-based predictors of secondary structure, disorder, and solvent accessibility descriptors using a benchmark set based on CASP8 targets. Our analysis shows that the secondary structure can be predicted with over 80% accuracy and segment overlap (SOV), disorder with over 0.9 AUC, 0.6 Matthews Correlation Coefficient (MCC), and 75% SOV, and relative solvent accessibility with PCC of 0.7 and MCC of 0.6 (0.86 when homology is used). We demonstrate that the secondary structure predicted from sequence without the use of homology modeling is as good as the structure extracted from the 3D folds predicted by top-performing template-based methods.
Keywords: protein structure, protein structure prediction, structural descriptors, secondary structure, transmembrane helices, torsion angles, solvent accessibility, residue depth, contact number, residue-wise contact order, protein disorder, contact order, B-factor
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