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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2011 Jun;21(3):398-403. doi: 10.1016/j.sbi.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 Apr 14.

Metagenomics and the protein universe.

Author information

1
Program on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. adam@sanfordburnham.org

Abstract

Metagenomics sequencing projects have dramatically increased our knowledge of the protein universe and provided over one-half of currently known protein sequences; they have also introduced a much broader phylogenetic diversity into the protein databases. The full analysis of metagenomic datasets is only beginning, but it has already led to the discovery of thousands of new protein families, likely representing novel functions specific to given environments. At the same time, a deeper analysis of such novel families, including experimental structure determination of some representatives, suggests that most of them represent distant homologs of already characterized protein families, and thus most of the protein diversity present in the new environments are due to functional divergence of the known protein families rather than the emergence of new ones.

PMID:
21497084
PMCID:
PMC3118404
DOI:
10.1016/j.sbi.2011.03.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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