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      WEBnm@ v2.0: Web server and services for comparing protein flexibility

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          Normal mode analysis (NMA) using elastic network models is a reliable and cost-effective computational method to characterise protein flexibility and by extension, their dynamics. Further insight into the dynamics–function relationship can be gained by comparing protein motions between protein homologs and functional classifications. This can be achieved by comparing normal modes obtained from sets of evolutionary related proteins.


          We have developed an automated tool for comparative NMA of a set of pre-aligned protein structures. The user can submit a sequence alignment in the FASTA format and the corresponding coordinate files in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) format. The computed normalised squared atomic fluctuations and atomic deformation energies of the submitted structures can be easily compared on graphs provided by the web user interface. The web server provides pairwise comparison of the dynamics of all proteins included in the submitted set using two measures: the Root Mean Squared Inner Product and the Bhattacharyya Coefficient. The Comparative Analysis has been implemented on our web server for NMA, WEBnm@, which also provides recently upgraded functionality for NMA of single protein structures. This includes new visualisations of protein motion, visualisation of inter-residue correlations and the analysis of conformational change using the overlap analysis. In addition, programmatic access to WEBnm@ is now available through a SOAP-based web service. Webnm@ is available at http://apps.cbu.uib.no/webnma.


          WEBnm@ v2.0 is an online tool offering unique capability for comparative NMA on multiple protein structures. Along with a convenient web interface, powerful computing resources, and several methods for mode analyses, WEBnm@ facilitates the assessment of protein flexibility within protein families and superfamilies. These analyses can give a good view of how the structures move and how the flexibility is conserved over the different structures.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-014-0427-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 62

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          ElNemo: a normal mode web server for protein movement analysis and the generation of templates for molecular replacement.

          Normal mode analysis (NMA) is a powerful tool for predicting the possible movements of a given macromolecule. It has been shown recently that half of the known protein movements can be modelled by using at most two low-frequency normal modes. Applications of NMA cover wide areas of structural biology, such as the study of protein conformational changes upon ligand binding, membrane channel opening and closure, potential movements of the ribosome, and viral capsid maturation. Another, newly emerging field of NMA is related to protein structure determination by X-ray crystallography, where normal mode perturbed models are used as templates for diffraction data phasing through molecular replacement (MR). Here we present ElNémo, a web interface to the Elastic Network Model that provides a fast and simple tool to compute, visualize and analyse low-frequency normal modes of large macro-molecules and to generate a large number of different starting models for use in MR. Due to the 'rotation-translation-block' (RTB) approximation implemented in ElNémo, there is virtually no upper limit to the size of the proteins that can be treated. Upon input of a protein structure in Protein Data Bank (PDB) format, ElNémo computes its 100 lowest-frequency modes and produces a comprehensive set of descriptive parameters and visualizations, such as the degree of collectivity of movement, residue mean square displacements, distance fluctuation maps, and the correlation between observed and normal-mode-derived atomic displacement parameters (B-factors). Any number of normal mode perturbed models for MR can be generated for download. If two conformations of the same (or a homologous) protein are available, ElNémo identifies the normal modes that contribute most to the corresponding protein movement. The web server can be freely accessed at http://igs-server.cnrs-mrs.fr/elnemo/index.html.
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            Coarse-grained normal mode analysis in structural biology.

             Ivet Bahar,  AJ Rader (2005)
            The realization that experimentally observed functional motions of proteins can be predicted by coarse-grained normal mode analysis has renewed interest in applications to structural biology. Notable applications include the prediction of biologically relevant motions of proteins and supramolecular structures driven by their structure-encoded collective dynamics; the refinement of low-resolution structures, including those determined by cryo-electron microscopy; and the identification of conserved dynamic patterns and mechanically key regions within protein families. Additionally, hybrid methods that couple atomic simulations with deformations derived from coarse-grained normal mode analysis are able to sample collective motions beyond the range of conventional molecular dynamics simulations. Such applications have provided great insight into the underlying principles linking protein structures to their dynamics and their dynamics to their functions.
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              Collective motions in proteins: a covariance analysis of atomic fluctuations in molecular dynamics and normal mode simulations.

              A method is described for identifying collective motions in proteins from molecular dynamics trajectories or normal mode simulations. The method makes use of the covariances of atomic positional fluctuations. It is illustrated by an analysis of the bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor. Comparison of the covariance and cross-correlation matrices shows that the relative motions have many similar features in the different simulations. Many regions of the protein, especially regions of secondary structure, move in a correlated manner. Anharmonic effects, which are included in the molecular dynamics simulations but not in the normal analysis, are of some importance in determining the larger scale collective motions, but not the more local fluctuations. Comparisons of molecular dynamics simulations in the present and absence of solvent indicate that the environment is of significance for the long-range motions.

                Author and article information

                BMC Bioinformatics
                BMC Bioinformatics
                BMC Bioinformatics
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 December 2014
                30 December 2014
                : 15
                : 1
                [ ]Department of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [ ]Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [ ]Computational Biology Unit, Department of Informatics, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
                [ ]Present address: University Chemical Laboratories, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1EW UK
                © Tiwari et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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