Root mean square deviation (bioinformatics)

Root mean square deviation (bioinformatics)

The root mean square deviation (RMSD) is the measure of the average distance between the backbones of superimposed proteins. In the study of globular protein conformations, one customarily measures the similarity in three-dimensional structure by the RMSD of the Cα atomic coordinates after optimal rigid body superposition.

When a dynamical system fluctuates about some well-defined average position the RMSD from the average over time can be referred to as the RMSF or root mean square fluctuation. The size of this fluctuation can be measured, eg using Mössbauer spectroscopy or nuclear magnetic resonance, and can provide important physical information. The Lindemann index is a method of placing the RMSF in the context of the parameters of the system.

A widely used way to compare the structures of biomolecules or solid bodies is to translate and rotate one structure with respect to the other to minimize the RMSD. Coutsias, "et al." presented a simple derivation, based on quaternions, for the optimal solid body transformation (rotation-translation) that minimizes the RMSD between two sets of vectors.cite journal | author = Coutsias EA, Seok C, Dill KA | title = Using quaternions to calculate RMSD | journal = J Comput Chem | volume = 25 | issue = 15 | pages = 1849–1857 | year = 2004 | pmid = 15376254 | doi = 10.1002/jcc.20110] They proved that the quaternion method is equivalent to the well-known formula due to Kabsch.cite journal | author = Kabsch W | title = A solution for the best rotation to relate two sets of vectors | journal = Acta Crystallographica | volume = 32 | pages = 922–923 | year = 1976]

The equation


where δ is the distance between N pairs of equivalent atoms (usually "Cα" and sometimes "C","N","O","Cβ").

Normally a rigid superposition which minimizes the RMSD is performed, and this minimum is returned. Given two sets of n points mathbf{v} and mathbf{w}, the RMSD is defined as follows:

An RMSD value is expressed in length units. The most commonly used unit in structural biology is the Ångström (Å) which is equal to 10–10m.


Typically RMSD is used to make a quantitative comparison between the structure of a partially folded protein and the structure of the native state. For example, the CASP protein structure prediction competition uses RMSD as one of its assessments of how well a submitted structure matches the native state.

Also some scientists who study protein folding simulations use RMSD as a reaction coordinate to quantify where the protein is between the folded state and the unfolded state.

ee also

*Root mean square deviation
*Root mean square fluctuation
*Quaternion—used to optimise RMSD calculations
*Kabsch algorithm—an algorithm used to minimize the RMSD by first finding the best rotationcite journal | author = Kabsch W | title = A solution for the best rotation to relate two sets of vectors | journal = Acta Crystallographica | volume = 32 | pages = 922–923 | year = 1976]
* [ Secondary Structure Matching (SSM)] — a tool for protein structure comparison. Uses RMSD.
* [ SuperPose] — a protein superposition server. Uses RMSD.
* [ superpose] — structural alignment based on secondary structure matching. By the CCP4 project. Uses RMSD.


Further reading
* Armougom F, Moretti S, Keduas V, Notredame C (2006). "The iRMSD: a local measure of sequence alignment accuracy using structural information." "Bioinformatics, 22(14):e35-9".
* Damm KL, Carlson HA (2006). "Gaussian-weighted RMSD superposition of proteins: a structural comparison for flexible proteins and predicted protein structures." "Biophys J, 90(12):4558-73".
* Kneller GR (2005). "Comment on ``Using quaternions to calculate RMSD" [J. Comp. Chem. 25, 1849 (2004)] "." "J Comput Chem, 26(15):1660-2".
* Theobald DL (2005). "Rapid calculation of RMSDs using a quaternion-based characteristic polynomial." "Acta Crystallogr A", 61(Pt 4):478-80.
* Maiorov VN, Crippen GM (1994). "Significance of root-mean-square deviation in comparing three-dimensional structures of globular proteins." "J Mol Biol, 235(2):625-34".

External links

* [ Molecular Distance Measures] —a tutorial on how to calculate RMSD
* [ RMSD] —another tutorial on how to calculate RMSD with example code

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