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Analysis of the code relating sequence to conformation in globular proteins. Theory and application of expected information

  • Proteins


1. An information theory analysis of the folding of a globular protein is proposed. 2. The folding is seen as a transfer of information between two messages, the primary sequence and the biologically active conformation. 3. It is shown how the information transferred was estimated by inspection of proteins of known primary sequence and conformation. 4. In this estimation, concerted use of subjective (Bayesian) probabilities leads to a more robust approach which can be employed whether the number of proteins of known sequence and conformation is large or small. 5. Further, it is demonstrated that the problem then becomes a very simple algebraic formulation for information estimates. 6. Finally, it is shown how this process of information theory analysis can be reversed to predict the conformation of a protein by using its primary sequence and the above information estimates obtained from other proteins. 7. The present paper provides the theoretical basis for the derivation and application of a stereochemical alphabet (Robson & Pain, 1974a,c), and for an investigation of the effects of residues on the conformations of their neighbours (Robson & Pain, 1974b).

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