Invariant patterns in crystal lattices: Implications for protein folding algorithms (extended abstract)

  • William E. Hart
  • Sorin Istrail
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1075)


Crystal lattices are infinite periodic graphs that occur naturally in a variety of geometries and which are of fundamental importance in polymer science. Discrete models of protein folding use crystal lattices to define the space of protein conformations. Because various crystal lattices provide discretizations of the same physical phenomenon, it is reasonable to expect that there will exist “invariants” across lattices that define fundamental properties of the protein folding process; an invariant defines a property that transcends particular lattice formulations. This paper identifies two classes of invariants, defined in terms of sublattices that are related to the design of algorithms for the structure prediction problem. The first class of invariants is used to define a master approximation algorithm for which provable performance guarantees exist. This algorithm can be applied to generalizations of the hydrophobic-hydrophilic model that have lattices other than the cubic lattice, including most of the crystal lattices commonly used in protein folding lattice models. The second class of invariants applies to a related lattice model. Using these invariants, we show that for this model the structure prediction problem is intractable across a variety of three-dimensional lattices. It turns out that these two classes of invariants are respectively sublattices of the two- and three-dimensional square lattice. As the square lattices are the standard lattices used in empirical protein folding studies, our results provide a rigorous confirmation of the ability of these lattices to provide insight into biological phenomenon. Our results are the first in the literature that identify algorithmic paradigms for the protein structure prediction problem that transcend particular lattice formulations.


Crystal Lattice Approximation Algorithm Lattice Model Diamond Lattice Contact Edge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • William E. Hart
    • 1
  • Sorin Istrail
    • 1
  1. 1.Massively Parallel Computing Research LaboratorySandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerque

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