, Volume 66, Issue 22, pp 3625-3639
Date: 19 Aug 2009

The protein meta-structure: a novel concept for chemical and molecular biology

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The ultimate goal of bioinformatics or computational chemical biology is the sequence-based prediction of protein functionality. However, due to the degeneracy of the primary sequence code there is no unambiguous relationship. The degeneracy can be partly lifted by going to higher levels of abstraction and, for example, incorporating 3D structural information. However, sometimes even at this conceptual level functional ambiguities often remain. Here a novel conceptual framework is described (the protein meta-structure). At this level of abstraction, the protein structure is viewed as an intricate network of interacting residues. This novel conception offers unique possibilities for chemical (molecular) biology, structural genomics and drug discovery. In this review some prototypical applications will be presented that serve to illustrate the potential of the methodology.