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NMR resonance peak assignment is one of the key steps in solving an NMR protein structure. The assignment process links resonance peaks to individual residues of the target protein sequence, providing the prerequisite for establishing intra- and inter-residue spatial relationships between atoms. The assignment process is tedious and time-consuming, which could take many weeks. Though there exist a number of computer programs to assist the assignment process, many NMR labs are still doing the assignments manually to ensure quality. This paper presents (1) a new scoring system for mapping spin systems to residues, (2) an automated adjacency information extraction procedure from NMR spectra, and (3) a very fast assignment algorithm based on our previous proposed greedy filtering method and a maximum matching algorithm to automate the assignment process. The computational tests on 70 instances of (pseudo) experimental NMR data of 14 proteins demonstrate that the new score scheme has much better discerning power with the aid of adjacency information between spin systems simulated across various NMR spectra. Typically, with automated extraction of adjacency information, our method achieves nearly complete assignments for most of the proteins. The experiment shows very promising perspective that the fast automated assignment algorithm together with the new score scheme and automated adjacency extraction may be ready for practical use.
Date of Conference: 11-14 Aug. 2003