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In Silico Biol. 2004;4(3):311-22.

Molecular chaperones: proposal of a systematic computer-oriented nomenclature and construction of a centralized database.

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Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Gunma University, Kiryu, Gunma 376-8515, Japan.


Molecular chaperones are a wide group of unrelated protein families whose role is to assist others proteins. Comparably, under environmental stress, stress proteins behave as biocatalysts of protein stabilization. Stress proteins include a large class of proteins that were originally termed heat shock proteins (HSPs) due to their initial discovery in tissues exposed to elevated temperatures. Many, but not all, stress proteins and HSPs are molecular chaperones. Moreover, not all HSPs are derivable from stress. HSPs are structurally diversified by the contribution of various domains having specific roles. HSPs have been grouped, mainly on the basis of their molecular masses, into specific families that include small HSPs (sHSPs)/alpha-crystallins, HSP10s, HSP40s, HSP60s, HSP70s, HSP90s, HSP100s and HSP110s. The names of these major families are historical artefacts with limited information content. Using the current databases, names and proteic domains of many molecular chaperones in different species were analyzed. Although traditional names of HSPs are trivial, it is unrealistic to suggest replacing them, because they are preferred and widely used. Here we suggest that these traditional names be chaperoned, in silico, by a systematic nomenclature. Thus, for example, with the same intent of use of [trioxygen: O3] for ozone, we propose here C7HSP70[Ehsa]ER-P11021 for GRP78 (78 kDa endoplasmic Human molecular chaperone in HSP70 superfamily with P11021 as its accession number in the database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)). The proposed systematic computer-oriented naming and classification method is designed for HSPs and also their partners based on the number of amino acids, domain structure, phylogenetic domain, localization in the cell and accession number as stated in the NCBI. Arabidopsis thaliana was analyzed as a model, because it contains a large number of various HSPs localized in several organelles. Overall, this naming system helps in building, optimizing and managing a novel online database entirely devoted to HSPs. The purported taxonomy, coupled with the newly constructed database, can contribute to studies involving large amounts of stored data on HSPs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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