Visualising intrinsic disorder and conformational variation in protein ensembles†
Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in proteins are still not well understood, but are increasingly recognised as important in key biological functions, as well as in diseases. IDRs often confound experimental structure determination—however, they are present in many of the available 3D structures, where they exhibit a wide range of conformations, from ill-defined and highly flexible to well-defined upon binding to partner molecules, or upon post-translational modifications. Analysing such large conformational variations across ensembles of 3D structures can be complex and difficult; our goal in this paper is to improve this situation by augmenting traditional approaches (molecular graphics and principal components) with methods from human–computer interaction and information visualisation, especially parallel coordinates. We present a new tool integrating these approaches, and demonstrate how it can dissect ensembles to reveal functional insights into conformational variation and intrinsic disorder.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Molecular Simulations and Visualization