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IEEE Int Conf Comput Adv Bio Med Sci. 2011 Feb;2011:13-18. Epub 2011 Mar 14.

bcl::Cluster : A method for clustering biological molecules coupled with visualization in the Pymol Molecular Graphics System.

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Center for Structural Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA.


Clustering algorithms are used as data analysis tools in a wide variety of applications in Biology. Clustering has become especially important in protein structure prediction and virtual high throughput screening methods. In protein structure prediction, clustering is used to structure the conformational space of thousands of protein models. In virtual high throughput screening, databases with millions of drug-like molecules are organized by structural similarity, e.g. common scaffolds. The tree-like dendrogram structure obtained from hierarchical clustering can provide a qualitative overview of the results, which is important for focusing detailed analysis. However, in practice it is difficult to relate specific components of the dendrogram directly back to the objects of which it is comprised and to display all desired information within the two dimensions of the dendrogram. The current work presents a hierarchical agglomerative clustering method termed bcl::Cluster. bcl::Cluster utilizes the Pymol Molecular Graphics System to graphically depict dendrograms in three dimensions. This allows simultaneous display of relevant biological molecules as well as additional information about the clusters and the members comprising them.


Pymol; analysis; clustering; molecules; proteins; visualization

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