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Adaptive landscape flattening in amino acid sequence space for the computational design of protein:peptide binding

Abstract : For the high throughput design of protein:peptide binding, one must explore a vast space of amino acid sequences in search of low binding free energies. This complex problem is usually addressed with either simple heuristic scoring or expensive sequence enumeration schemes. Far more efficient than enumeration is a recent Monte Carlo approach that adaptively flattens the energy landscape in sequence space of the unbound peptide and provides formally exact binding free energy differences. The method allows the binding free energy to be used directly as the design criterion. We propose several improvements that allow still more efficient sampling and can address larger design problems. They include the use of Replica Exchange Monte Carlo and landscape flattening for both the unbound and bound peptides. We used the method to design peptides that bind to the PDZ domain of the Tiam1 signaling protein and could serve as inhibitors of its activity. Four peptide positions were allowed to mutate freely. Almost 75 000 peptide variants were processed in two simulations of 109 steps each that used 1 CPU hour on a desktop machine. 96% of the theoretical sequence space was sampled. The relative binding free energies agreed qualitatively with values from experiment. The sampled sequences agreed qualitatively with an experimental library of Tiam1-binding peptides. The main assumption limiting accuracy is the fixed backbone approximation, which could be alleviated in future work by using increased computational resources and multi-backbone designs.
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Contributor : Aurélien Arnoux <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 1:44:04 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 4:10:05 PM






Francesco Villa, Nicolas Panel, Xingyu Chen, Thomas Simonson. Adaptive landscape flattening in amino acid sequence space for the computational design of protein:peptide binding. Journal of Chemical Physics, American Institute of Physics, 2018, 149 (7), pp.072302. ⟨10.1063/1.5022249⟩. ⟨hal-01975456⟩



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