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Nat Biotechnol. 2000 Mar;18(3):283-7.

Structural genomics and its importance for gene function analysis.

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  • 1Laboratory of Computational Genomics, The Danforth Plant Science Center, 893 N, Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63141, USA.


Structural genomics projects aim to solve the experimental structures of all possible protein folds. Such projects entail a conceptual shift from traditional structural biology in which structural information is obtained on known proteins to one in which the structure of a protein is determined first and the function assigned only later. Whereas the goal of converting protein structure into function can be accomplished by traditional sequence motif-based approaches, recent studies have shown that assignment of a protein's biochemical function can also be achieved by scanning its structure for a match to the geometry and chemical identity of a known active site. Importantly, this approach can use low-resolution structures provided by contemporary structure prediction methods. When applied to genomes, structural information (either experimental or predicted) is likely to play an important role in high-throughput function assignment.

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