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Methods Mol Biol. 2008;426:3-25. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-058-8_1.

Target selection for structural genomics: an overview.

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  • 1Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department, University College London, London, UK.


The success of the whole genome sequencing projects brought considerable credence to the belief that high-throughput approaches, rather than traditional hypothesis-driven research, would be essential to structurally and functionally annotate the rapid growth in available sequence data within a reasonable time frame. Such observations supported the emerging field of structural genomics, which is now faced with the task of providing a library of protein structures that represent the biological diversity of the protein universe. To run efficiently, structural genomics projects aim to define a set of targets that maximize the potential of each structure discovery whether it represents a novel structure, novel function, or missing evolutionary link. However, not all protein sequences make suitable structural genomics targets: It takes considerably more effort to determine the structure of a protein than the sequence of its gene because of the increased complexity of the methods involved and also because the behavior of targeted proteins can be extremely variable at the different stages in the structural genomics "pipeline." Therefore, structural genomics target selection must identify and prioritize the most suitable candidate proteins for structure determination, avoiding "problematic" proteins while also ensuring the ultimate goals of the project are followed.

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