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In PLoS computational biology

Predicting three-dimensional protein structure and assembling protein complexes using sequence information belongs to the most prominent tasks in computational biology. Recently substantial progress has been obtained in the case of single proteins using a combination of unsupervised coevolutionary sequence analysis with structurally supervised deep learning. While reaching impressive accuracies in predicting residue-residue contacts, deep learning has a number of disadvantages. The need for large structural training sets limits the applicability to multi-protein complexes; and their deep architecture makes the interpretability of the convolutional neural networks intrinsically hard. Here we introduce FilterDCA, a simpler supervised predictor for inter-domain and inter-protein contacts. It is based on the fact that contact maps of proteins show typical contact patterns, which results from secondary structure and are reflected by patterns in coevolutionary analysis. We explicitly integrate averaged contacts patterns with coevolutionary scores derived by Direct Coupling Analysis, improving performance over standard coevolutionary analysis, while remaining fully transparent and interpretable. The FilterDCA code is available at

Muscat Maureen, Croce Giancarlo, Sarti Edoardo, Weigt Martin