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Bioinformatics. 2010 Oct 15;26(20):2626-8. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btq481. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

OpenStructure: a flexible software framework for computational structural biology.

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  • 1Biozentrum, Universit├Ąt Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



Developers of new methods in computational structural biology are often hampered in their research by incompatible software tools and non-standardized data formats. To address this problem, we have developed OpenStructure as a modular open source platform to provide a powerful, yet flexible general working environment for structural bioinformatics. OpenStructure consists primarily of a set of libraries written in C++ with a cleanly designed application programmer interface. All functionality can be accessed directly in C++ or in a Python layer, meeting both the requirements for high efficiency and ease of use. Powerful selection queries and the notion of entity views to represent these selections greatly facilitate the development and implementation of algorithms on structural data. The modular integration of computational core methods with powerful visualization tools makes OpenStructure an ideal working and development environment. Several applications, such as the latest versions of IPLT and QMean, have been implemented based on OpenStructure-demonstrating its value for the development of next-generation structural biology algorithms.


Source code licensed under the GNU lesser general public license and binaries for MacOS X, Linux and Windows are available for download at



Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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