Mori, T.; Terashi, G.; Matsuoka, D.; Kihara, D. & Sugita, Y. Efficient Flexible Fitting Refinement with Automatic Error Fixing for De Novo Structure Modeling from Cryo-EM Density Maps. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, 2021
Structural modeling of proteins from cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) density maps is one of the challenging issues in structural biology. De novo modeling combined with flexible fitting refinement (FFR) has been widely used to build a structure of new proteins. In de novo prediction, artificial conformations containing local structural errors such as chirality errors, cis peptide bonds, and ring penetrations are frequently generated and cannot be easily removed in the subsequent FFR. Moreover, refinement can be significantly suppressed due to the low mobility of atoms inside the protein. To overcome these problems, we propose an efficient scheme for FFR, in which the local structural errors are fixed first, followed by FFR using an iterative simulated annealing (SA) molecular dynamics protocol with the united atom (UA) model in an implicit solvent model; we call this scheme “SAUA-FFR”. The best model is selected from multiple flexible fitting runs with various biasing force constants to reduce overfitting. We apply our scheme to the decoys obtained from MAINMAST and demonstrate an improvement of the best model of eight selected proteins in terms of the root-mean-square deviation, MolProbity score, and RWplus score compared to the original scheme of MAINMAST. Fixing the local structural errors can enhance the formation of secondary structures, and the UA model enables progressive refinement compared to the all-atom model owing to its high mobility in the implicit solvent. The SAUA-FFR scheme realizes efficient and accurate protein structure modeling from medium-resolution maps with less overfitting.