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Exploring Dimensionality, Systematic Mutations and Number of Contacts in Simple HP ab-initio Protein Folding Using a Blackboard-based Agent Platform

Authors: Hiram I. Beltrán, Arturo Rojo-Domínguez, Máximo Eduardo Sánchez Gutiérrez, Pedro Pablo González Pérez


A computational platform is presented in this contribution. It has been designed as a virtual laboratory to be used for exploring optimization algorithms in biological problems. This platform is built on a blackboard-based agent architecture. As a test case, the version of the platform presented here is devoted to the study of protein folding, initially with a bead-like description of the chain and with the widely used model of hydrophobic and polar residues (HP model). Some details of the platform design are presented along with its capabilities and also are revised some explorations of the protein folding problems with different types of discrete space. It is also shown the capability of the platform to incorporate specific tools for the structural analysis of the runs in order to understand and improve the optimization process. Accordingly, the results obtained demonstrate that the ensemble of computational tools into a single platform is worthwhile by itself, since experiments developed on it can be designed to fulfill different levels of information in a self-consistent fashion. By now, it is being explored how an experiment design can be useful to create a computational agent to be included within the platform. These inclusions of designed agents –or software pieces– are useful for the better accomplishment of the tasks to be developed by the platform. Clearly, while the number of agents increases the new version of the virtual laboratory thus enhances in robustness and functionality.

Keywords: genetic algorithms, multi-agent systems, bioinformatics, optimization, protein folding, structural biology.

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