Défis algorithmiques pour les simulations biomoléculaires et la conception de protéines

Abstract : Computational protein design is a method to modify proteins and obtain new properties, using their 3D structure and molecular modelling. To make the method more predictive, the models need continued improvement. In this thesis, we addressed the problem of explicitly representing the flexibility of the protein backbone. We developed a "multi-state" design approach, based on a small library of backbone conformations, defined ahead of time. In a Monte Carlo framework, given the rugged protein energy landscape, large backbone motions can only be accepted if precautions are taken. Thus, to explore these conformations, along with sidechain mutations and motions, we have introduced a new type of Monte Carlo move. The move is a "hybrid" one, where the backbone changes its conformation, then a short Monte Carlo relaxation of the sidechains is done, followed by an acceptation test. To obtain a Boltzmann sampling of states, the acceptation probability should have a specific form, which involves a path integral that is difficult to calculate. Two approximate forms are explored: the first is based on a single relaxation path, or "generating path" (Single Path Approximation or SPA). The second is more complex and relies on a collection of paths, obtained by shuffling the elementary steps of the generating path (Permuted Path Approximation or PPA). These approximations are tested in depth and compared on two proteins. Free energy differences between the backbone conformations are computed using three different approaches, which move the system reversibly from one conformation to another, but follow very different routes. Good agreement is obtained between the methods and a wide range of parameterizations, indicating that the free energy behaves as a state function, as it should, and strongly suggesting that Boltzmann sampling is verified. The sampling method is applied to the tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase enzyme, allowing us to identify sequences that prefer either an open or a closed conformation of an active site loop, so that in principle we can control, or design the loop conformation. Finally, we describe preliminary work to make the protein backbone fully flexible, moving within a continuous and not a discrete space. This new conformational space requires a complete reorganization of the energy calculation and Monte Carlo simulation scheme, increases simulation cost substantially, and requires a much more aggressive parallelization of our software.
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Karen Druart. Défis algorithmiques pour les simulations biomoléculaires et la conception de protéines. Bio-Informatique, Biologie Systémique [q-bio.QM]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX080⟩. ⟨tel-01502014⟩

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