The scripts and input files that accompany this demo can be found in the demos/public directory of the Rosetta weekly releases.


Written in April 2018 by Kalli Kappel (kappel at stanford dot edu).

This demo shows how to model the 3D structure of an RNA-protein complex starting from a protein structure and RNA sequence.

Setting up the demo:

  1. Install Rosetta RNA tools. See instructions and documentation here.

Brief explanation of input files:

  1. fasta.txt is a file specifying the sequence of the RNA-protein complex.
  2. secstruct.txt is a text file specifying the secondary structure for the RNA-protein complex in dot-bracket notation. Secondary structure for the protein should be specified by dots. The secondary structure should be the same length as the sequence found in the fasta file.
  3. unbound_protein.pdb is the unbound protein structure (you could alternatively use a homology model of the protein or the bound protein structure if it's known). This will be treated as a rigid body throughout the run. This structure must contain all of the protein residues that are in your fasta.txt file (this protocol does not build protein residues from scratch).
  4. RNA_helix.pdb is a structure of a 3-residue helix (generated with in RNA tools). This will be treated as a rigid body throughout the run.
  5. As an alternative to unbound_protein.pdb and RNA_helix.pdb, unbound_protein_and_RNA.pdb is a structure containing both the unbound protein structure and the RNA helix. Putting both structures in the same file will fix the relative rigid-body orientation of the two and no docking moves will be performed.
  6. flags contains all the flags for the run (or alternatively flags_no_dock for the run where the RNA helix is fixed relative to the protein). The options in this flags file are:
    -fasta fasta.txt: specifies the fasta file to use (fasta.txt).
    -secstruct_file secstruct.txt: specifies the file containing the secondary structure to use (secstruct.txt).
    -s unbound_protein.pdb RNA_helix.pdb: the input structures for the run. These will be treated as rigid bodies. -new_fold_tree_initializer true: sets up the kinematics for the problem (this flag is strongly recommended for RNA-protein modeling).
    -minimize_rna false: do low-resolution modeling only. -nstruct 5: the number of structures to build. Typically, you will want to build a total of several thousand structures. -out:file:silent 2qux_fold_and_dock.out: The name of the silent file that will be written (this will contain all of the predicted structures in a compressed format). rna:denovo:lores_scorefxn rna/denovo/rna_lores_with_rnp_aug.wts: the low-resolution score function to use (rna_lores_with_rnp_aug.wts is recommended.
    -cycles 1000: The number of Monte Carlo cycles per structure. Recommended: ~2 times the number of RNA residues that are being modeled.
    -rna_protein_docking true: Do RNA-protein docking moves.
    -convert_protein_CEN false: Don't convert protein residues to centroid mode during the run (the low-resolution score function will still be used though).
    -FA_low_res_rnp_scoring true: Use the version of the low-resolution score function based on the actual sidechain centroid positions, rather than the Rosetta centroid positions.
    -ramp_rnp_vdw true: Gradually increase the rnp_vdw weight throughout the run.
    -docking_move_size 1.0: Use regular docking moves.
    -no_filters: Don't use any filters throughout the run (not recommended for regular runs).

Running the demo:

Models of the RNA-protein complex will be built with the Rosetta fold-and-dock method, which combines FARNA RNA folding with RNA-protein docking. First, type:

rna_denovo @flags

This will take several minutes to run and will generate 5 structures. For a normal run, it is typically best to generate several thousand structures.

The final structures will be found in the silent file 2qux_fold_and_dock.out.

To extract PDB files from the silent file, type: 2qux_fold_and_dock.out 5

This will create 5 PDB files named 2qux_fold_and_dock.out.1.pdb, 2qux_fold_and_dock.out.2.pdb, etc.

Alternatively, to build models of the RNA-protein complex keeping the rigid-body orientation of the RNA helix and the protein fixed, first type:

rna_denovo @flags_no_dock

Again, this will take several minutes to run and will generate 5 structures in a silent file named 2qux_fold_and_dock_fix_rigid.out. To extract PDB files from the silent file, type: 2qux_fold_and_dock_fix_rigid.out 5

These structures should be viewed in a molecular graphics program of your choice, e.g. Pymol.

For reference, example output for this demo is provided in the example_output directory.

Additional information

See additional documentation here.