MutateX: an automated pipeline for in silico saturation mutagenesis of protein structures and structural ensembles

Matteo Tiberti*, Thilde Terkelsen, Kristine Degn, Ludovica Beltrame, Tycho Canter Cremers, Isabelle da Piedade, Miriam Di Marco, Emiliano Maiani, Elena Papaleo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Mutations, which result in amino acid substitutions, influence the stability of proteins and their binding to biomolecules. A molecular understanding of the effects of protein mutations is both of biotechnological and medical relevance. Empirical free energy functions that quickly estimate the free energy change upon mutation (ΔΔG) can be exploited for systematic screenings of proteins and protein complexes. In silico saturation mutagenesis can guide the design of new experiments or rationalize the consequences of known mutations. Often software such as FoldX, while fast and reliable, lack the necessary automation features to apply them in a high-throughput manner. We introduce MutateX, a software to automate the prediction of ΔΔGs associated with the systematic mutation of each residue within a protein, or protein complex to all other possible residue types, using the FoldX energy function. MutateX also supports ΔΔG calculations over protein ensembles, upon post-translational modifications and in multimeric assemblies. At the heart of MutateX lies an automated pipeline engine that handles input preparation, parallelization and outputs publication-ready figures. We illustrate the MutateX protocol applied to different case studies. The results of the high-throughput scan provided by our tools can help in different applications, such as the analysis of disease-associated mutations, to complement experimental deep mutational scans, or assist the design of variants for industrial applications. MutateX is a collection of Python tools that relies on open-source libraries. It is available free of charge under the GNU General Public License from
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbbac074
JournalBriefings in Bioinformatics
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Free energy
  • Mutations
  • Post-translational modifications
  • Structural ensembles
  • Binding
  • Stability


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