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J Struct Biol. 2014 Apr;186(1):62-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2014.02.017. Epub 2014 Mar 4.

Motif Analyzer for protein 3D structures.

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Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskye Gory, 1/40, 119992 Moscow, Russia. Electronic address:


The topology of the protein structure of all-β- or α/β-class is a special arrangement of β-strands within β-sheets (and α-helices surrounding β-sheets) and the order of them along the polypeptide chain. Structural motifs are a subset of strands and/or helices with widely spread topology. Structural motifs are used for classification of protein structure. Because of an increasing variety of known structures, an automatic tool for motif detection is needed. MotAn is an algorithmic detector of structural motifs in a given 3D protein structure. It detects β-hairpins, β-meanders, β-helices, Greek keys, interlocks, jellyrolls, β-α-β-motifs and β-α-β-helices. MotAn was tested on selected SCOP families and shown to be more sensitive detector than the PTGL and PROMOTIF programs. MotAn is available at


All-β- and α/β-structures; Protein structure; Structural motif; Structural motif detector

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