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      SWISS-MODEL: homology modelling of protein structures and complexes

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          Homology modelling has matured into an important technique in structural biology, significantly contributing to narrowing the gap between known protein sequences and experimentally determined structures. Fully automated workflows and servers simplify and streamline the homology modelling process, also allowing users without a specific computational expertise to generate reliable protein models and have easy access to modelling results, their visualization and interpretation. Here, we present an update to the SWISS-MODEL server, which pioneered the field of automated modelling 25 years ago and been continuously further developed. Recently, its functionality has been extended to the modelling of homo- and heteromeric complexes. Starting from the amino acid sequences of the interacting proteins, both the stoichiometry and the overall structure of the complex are inferred by homology modelling. Other major improvements include the implementation of a new modelling engine, ProMod3 and the introduction a new local model quality estimation method, QMEANDisCo. SWISS-MODEL is freely available at

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          Most cited references 71

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          Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs.

           S Altschul (1997)
          The BLAST programs are widely used tools for searching protein and DNA databases for sequence similarities. For protein comparisons, a variety of definitional, algorithmic and statistical refinements described here permits the execution time of the BLAST programs to be decreased substantially while enhancing their sensitivity to weak similarities. A new criterion for triggering the extension of word hits, combined with a new heuristic for generating gapped alignments, yields a gapped BLAST program that runs at approximately three times the speed of the original. In addition, a method is introduced for automatically combining statistically significant alignments produced by BLAST into a position-specific score matrix, and searching the database using this matrix. The resulting Position-Specific Iterated BLAST (PSI-BLAST) program runs at approximately the same speed per iteration as gapped BLAST, but in many cases is much more sensitive to weak but biologically relevant sequence similarities. PSI-BLAST is used to uncover several new and interesting members of the BRCT superfamily.
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            BLAST+: architecture and applications

            Background Sequence similarity searching is a very important bioinformatics task. While Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) outperforms exact methods through its use of heuristics, the speed of the current BLAST software is suboptimal for very long queries or database sequences. There are also some shortcomings in the user-interface of the current command-line applications. Results We describe features and improvements of rewritten BLAST software and introduce new command-line applications. Long query sequences are broken into chunks for processing, in some cases leading to dramatically shorter run times. For long database sequences, it is possible to retrieve only the relevant parts of the sequence, reducing CPU time and memory usage for searches of short queries against databases of contigs or chromosomes. The program can now retrieve masking information for database sequences from the BLAST databases. A new modular software library can now access subject sequence data from arbitrary data sources. We introduce several new features, including strategy files that allow a user to save and reuse their favorite set of options. The strategy files can be uploaded to and downloaded from the NCBI BLAST web site. Conclusion The new BLAST command-line applications, compared to the current BLAST tools, demonstrate substantial speed improvements for long queries as well as chromosome length database sequences. We have also improved the user interface of the command-line applications.
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              Comparative protein modelling by satisfaction of spatial restraints.

               A. Sali,  T L Blundell (1993)
              We describe a comparative protein modelling method designed to find the most probable structure for a sequence given its alignment with related structures. The three-dimensional (3D) model is obtained by optimally satisfying spatial restraints derived from the alignment and expressed as probability density functions (pdfs) for the features restrained. For example, the probabilities for main-chain conformations of a modelled residue may be restrained by its residue type, main-chain conformation of an equivalent residue in a related protein, and the local similarity between the two sequences. Several such pdfs are obtained from the correlations between structural features in 17 families of homologous proteins which have been aligned on the basis of their 3D structures. The pdfs restrain C alpha-C alpha distances, main-chain N-O distances, main-chain and side-chain dihedral angles. A smoothing procedure is used in the derivation of these relationships to minimize the problem of a sparse database. The 3D model of a protein is obtained by optimization of the molecular pdf such that the model violates the input restraints as little as possible. The molecular pdf is derived as a combination of pdfs restraining individual spatial features of the whole molecule. The optimization procedure is a variable target function method that applies the conjugate gradients algorithm to positions of all non-hydrogen atoms. The method is automated and is illustrated by the modelling of trypsin from two other serine proteinases.

                Author and article information

                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Res
                Nucleic Acids Research
                Oxford University Press
                02 July 2018
                21 May 2018
                21 May 2018
                : 46
                : Web Server issue
                : W296-W303
                [1 ]Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50–70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
                [2 ]SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50–70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland
                Author notes
                To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +41 61 267 15 81; Fax: +41 61 267 15 85; Email: torsten.schwede@

                The authors wish it to be known that, in their opinion, the first five authors should be regarded as joint First Authors.

                © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Pages: 8
                Web Server Issue



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