Rxivist logo

Determining protein structures using genetics

By Jörn M. Schmiedel, Ben Lehner

Posted 20 Apr 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/303875 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41588-019-0431-x)

Determining the three dimensional structures of macromolecules is a major goal of biological research because of the close relationship between structure and function. Structure determination usually relies on physical techniques including x-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and cryo-electron microscopy. Here we present a method that allows the high-resolution three-dimensional structure of a biological macromolecule to be determined only from measurements of the activity of mutant variants of the molecule. This genetic approach to structure determination relies on the quantification of genetic interactions (epistasis) between mutations and the discrimination of direct from indirect interactions. This provides a new experimental strategy for structure determination, with the potential to reveal functional and in vivo structural conformations at low cost and high throughput.

Download data

  • Downloaded 3,426 times
  • Download rankings, all-time:
    • Site-wide: 1,696 out of 100,856
    • In systems biology: 38 out of 2,563
  • Year to date:
    • Site-wide: 31,373 out of 100,856
  • Since beginning of last month:
    • Site-wide: 32,853 out of 100,856

Altmetric data

Downloads over time

Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide


Sign up for the Rxivist weekly newsletter! (Click here for more details.)


  • 20 Oct 2020: Support for sorting preprints using Twitter activity has been removed, at least temporarily, until a new source of social media activity data becomes available.
  • 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
  • 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
  • 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
  • 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
  • 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
  • 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
  • 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
  • 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!