Publication in Briefings in Bioinformatics

Sequeiros-Borja CE, Surpeta B, Brezovsky J, 2020: Recent advances in user-friendly computational tools to engineer protein function. Briefings in Bioinformatics. (Advance article DOI: 10.1093/bib/bbaa150) full text

Progress in technology and algorithms throughout the past decade has transformed the field of protein design and engineering. Computational approaches have become well-engrained in the processes of tailoring proteins for various biotechnological applications. Many tools and methods are developed and upgraded each year to satisfy the increasing demands and challenges of protein engineering. To help protein engineers and bioinformaticians navigate this emerging wave of dedicated software, we have critically evaluated recent additions to the toolbox regarding their application for semi-rational and rational protein engineering. These newly developed tools identify and prioritize hotspots and analyze the effects of mutations for a variety of properties, comprising ligand binding, protein–protein and protein–nucleic acid interactions, and electrostatic potential. We also discuss notable progress to target elusive protein dynamics and associated properties like ligand-transport processes and allosteric communication. Finally, we discuss several challenges these tools face and provide our perspectives on the further development of readily applicable methods to guide protein engineering efforts.

Publication in International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Surpeta B, Sequeiros-Borja CE, Brezovsky J, 2020: Dynamics, a Powerful Component of Current and Future in Silico Approaches for Protein Design and EngineeringInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences 21: 2713. full textIjms 21 02713 g001

Computational prediction has become an indispensable aid in the processes of engineering and designing proteins for various biotechnological applications. With the tremendous progress in more powerful computer hardware and more efficient algorithms, some of in silico tools and methods have started to apply the more realistic description of proteins as their conformational ensembles, making protein dynamics an integral part of their prediction workflows. To help protein engineers to harness benefits of considering dynamics in their designs, we surveyed new tools developed for analyses of conformational ensembles in order to select engineering hotspots and design mutations. Next, we discussed the collective evolution towards more flexible protein design methods, including ensemble-based approaches, knowledge-assisted methods, and provable algorithms. Finally, we highlighted apparent challenges that current approaches are facing and provided our perspectives on their further development.