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Advanced Numerical Methods in the Mathematical Sciences

Kelin Xia, Michigan State University
Persistent Homology Analysis of Biomolecules


Proteins are the most important biomolecules for living organisms. The understanding of protein structure, function, dynamics, and transport is one of the most challenging tasks in biological science. We have introduced persistent homology for extracting molecular topological fingerprints (MTFs) based on the persistence of molecular topological invariants. MTFs are utilized for protein characterization, identification, and classification. Both all-atom and coarse-grained representations of MTFs are constructed. On the basis of the correlation between protein compactness, rigidity, and connectivity, we propose an accumulated bar length generated from persistent topological invariants for the quantitative modeling of protein flexibility. To this end, a correlation matrix-based filtration is developed. This approach gives rise to an accurate prediction of the optimal characteristic distance used in protein B-factor analysis. Finally, MTFs are employed to characterize protein topological evolution during protein folding and quantitatively predict the protein folding stability. An excellent consistence between our persistent homology prediction and molecular dynamics simulation is found. This work reveals the topology-function relationship of proteins.