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Appl Bioinformatics. 2002;1(4):177-90.

Comparative modelling: an essential methodology for protein structure prediction in the post-genomic era.

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Biomolecular Modelling Laboratory, Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, London, United Kingdom.


The gap between the number of protein sequences and protein structures is increasing rapidly, exacerbated by the completion of numerous genome projects now flooding into public databases. To fill this gap, comparative protein modelling is widely considered the most accurate technique for predicting the three-dimensional shape of proteins. High-throughput, automatic protein modelling should considerably increase our access to protein structures other than those determined by experimental techniques such as X-ray crystallography and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy. The uses for these complete three-dimensional models are growing rapidly, ranging from guiding site-directed mutagenesis experiments to protein-protein interaction predictions. In recognition of this, a number of very useful comparative modelling servers have begun to emerge on the Web. Molecular biologists now have a powerful web-based toolkit to construct models, assess their accuracy, and use them to explain and predict experiments. There is, however, still much to do by those engaged in algorithmic development if comparative modelling is to compete on an equal footing with experimental protein structure determination techniques.

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