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Nucleic Acids Res. Jan 1, 1999; 27(1): 275–279.
PMCID: PMC148155

The CATH Database provides insights into protein structure/function relationships.


We report the latest release (version 1.4) of the CATH protein domains database (http://www.biochem.ucl.ac.uk/bsm/cath). This is a hierarchical classification of 13 359 protein domain structures into evolutionary families and structural groupings. We currently identify 827 homologous families in which the proteins have both structual similarity and sequence and/or functional similarity. These can be further clustered into 593 fold groups and 32 distinct architectures. Using our structural classification and associated data on protein functions, stored in the database (EC identifiers, SWISS-PROT keywords and information from the Enzyme database and literature) we have been able to analyse the correlation between the 3D structure and function. More than 96% of folds in the PDB are associated with a single homologous family. However, within the superfolds, three or more different functions are observed. Considering enzyme functions, more than 95% of clearly homologous families exhibit either single or closely related functions, as demonstrated by the EC identifiers of their relatives. Our analysis supports the view that determining structures, for example as part of a 'structural genomics' initiative, will make a major contribution to interpreting genome data.

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