Peptide structure prediction using distributed volunteer computing networks
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Recent investigations to develop novel antimicrobial, antibiotical drugs have focused on the development of artificial protein peptides. As short peptides are naturally involved in many important biological processes in the cell and therefore target many kinds of cells. To functionalize peptides it is vital to design peptides, which can differentially target bacterial and eucariotic cells. Although the length of the peptides investigated in this study was limited to 16 amino acids, the number of possible peptide sequences is still too large to synthesize them in a trial- and error manner, therefore requiring a method for directed, but also high-througput peptide design. By predicting the structure of peptide proteins, this design process can be supported through structure-function analysis and peptide-membrane interaction simulation. In this investigation we could predict peptide structures de-novo, i.e. with the sequence information alone, using a massively parallel simulation scheme. We sample a sizable fraction of the peptide’s conformational space using Monte-Carlo simulations in the free-energy forcefield PFF02 on the volunteer computing network POEM@HOME. This forcefield models the protein’s native conformation as the global minimum of the free-energy. We could identify peptides of different topologies in a completely automated manner, which allows for the high-throughput screening of large peptide databases for their structural features, which would allow the rapid protopying of peptides needed for novel peptide design.
KeywordsProtein structure Structure prediction Distributed computing BOINC Volunteer computing
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