Efficient conformational space exploration in ab initio protein folding simulation
Protein structure prediction (PSP) is computationally a very challenging problem. The challenge largely comes from the fact that the energy function that needs to be minimised in order to obtain the native structure of a given protein is not clearly known. A high resolution 20 × 20 energy model could better capture the behaviour of the actual energy function than a low resolution energy model such as hydrophobic polar. However, the fine grained details of the high resolution interaction energy matrix are often not very informative for guiding the search. In contrast, a low resolution energy model could effectively bias the search towards certain promising directions. In this paper, we develop a genetic algorithm that mainly uses a high resolution energy model for protein structure evaluation but uses a low resolution HP energy model in focussing the search towards exploring structures that have hydrophobic cores. We experimentally show that this mixing of energy models leads to significant lower energy structures compared to the state-of-the-art results.