Multiple model approach: Exploring the limits of comparative modeling

Łukasz Jaroszewski, Krzysztof Pawłowski, Adam Godzik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


One of the biggest problems in modeling distantly related proteins is the quality of the target-template alignment. This problem often results in low quality models that do not utilize all the information available in the template structure. The divergence of alignments at a low sequence identity level, which is a hindrance in most modeling attempts, is used here as a basis for a new technique of Multiple Model Approach (MMA). Alternative alignments prepared here using different mutation matrices and gap penalties, combined with automated model building, are used to create a set of models that explore a range of possible conformations for the target protein. Models are evaluated using different techniques to identify the best model. In the set of examples studied here, the correct target structure is known, which allows the evaluation of various alignment and evaluation strategies. For a randomly selected group of distantly homologous protein pairs representing all structural classes and various fold types, it is shown that a threading score based on simplified statistical potentials of mean force can identify the best models and, consequently, the most reliable alignment. In cases where the difference between target and template structures is significant, the threading score shows clearly that all models are wrong, therefore disqualifying the template.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-309
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Molecular Modeling
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Alignment ambiguity
  • Comparative modeling
  • Distantly related proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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