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Protein Eng. 1992 Jan;5(1):43-51.

A variable gap penalty function and feature weights for protein 3-D structure comparisons.

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  • 1Department of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.


We have developed a variable gap penalty function for use in the comparison program COMPARER which aligns protein sequences on the basis of their 3-D structures. For deletions and insertions, components are a function of structural features of individual amino acid residues (e.g. secondary structure and accessibility). We have also obtained relative weights for different features used in the comparison by examining the equivalent residues in weight matrices and in alignments for pairs of 3-D structures where the equivalencies are relatively unambiguous. We have used the new parameters and the variable gap penalty function in COMPARER to align protein structures in the Brookhaven Data Bank. The variable gap penalty function is useful especially in avoiding gaps in secondary structure elements and the new feature weights give improved alignments. The alignments for both azurins and plastocyanins and N- and C-terminal lobes for aspartic proteinases are discussed.

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