Journal of Computer-Aided Molecular Design

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 457–472 | Cite as

The importance of short structural motifs in protein structure analysis

  • Ron Unger
  • Joel L. Sussman
Research Papers


Proteins tend to use recurrent structural motifs on all levels of organization. In this paper we first survey the topics of recurrent motifs on the local secondary structure level and on the global fold level. Then, we focus on the intermediate level which we call the short structural motifs. We were able to identify a set of structural building blocks that are very common in protein structure. We suggest that these building blocks can be used as an important link between the primary sequence and the tertiary structure. In this framework, we present our latest results on the structural variability of the extended strand motifs. We show that extended strands can be divided into three distinct structural classes, each with its own sequence specificity. Other approaches to the study of short structural motifs are reviewed.

Key words

Protein structure Structural motifs Secondary structure Building blocks Clustering Structure verification Structure prediction 


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Copyright information

© ESCOM Science Publishers B.V. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ron Unger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joel L. Sussman
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, Maryland Biotechnology InstituteUniversity of MarylandRockvilleU.S.A.
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Computer StudiesUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkU.S.A.
  3. 3.Department of Structural BiologyWeizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael

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