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Nucleic Acids Res. Jan 1, 1998; 26(1): 316–319.
PMCID: PMC147193

Touring protein fold space with Dali/FSSP.


The FSSP database and its new supplement, the Dali Domain Dictionary, present a continuously updated classification of all known 3D protein structures. The classification is derived using an automatic structure alignment program (Dali) for the all-against-all comparison of structures in the Protein Data Bank. From the resulting enumeration of structural neighbours (which form a surprisingly continuous distribution in fold space) we derive a discrete fold classification in three steps: (i) sequence-related families are covered by a representative set of protein chains; (ii) protein chains are decomposed into structural domains based on the recurrence of structural motifs; (iii) folds are defined as tight clusters of domains in fold space. The fold classification, domain definitions and test sets for sequence-structure alignment (threading) are accessible on the web at www.embl-ebi.ac.uk/dali . The web interface provides a rich network of links between neighbours in fold space, between domains and proteins, and between structures and sequences leading, for example, to a database of explicit multiple alignments of protein families in the twilight zone of sequence similarity. The Dali/FSSP organization of protein structures provides a map of the currently known regions of the protein universe that is useful for the analysis of folding principles, for the evolutionary unification of protein families and for maximizing the information return from experimental structure determination.

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Selected References

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