Source:Nature Biotechnology, 18:283–287, 2000
Structural genomics projects aim to solve the experimental structures of all possible protein folds. Such projects entail a conceptual shift from traditional structural biology in which structural information is obtained on known proteins to one in which the structure of a protein is determined first and the function assigned only later. Whereas the goal of converting protein structure into function can be accomplished by traditional sequence motif-based approaches, recent studies have shown that assignment of a protein's biochemical function can also be achieved by scanning its structure for a match to the geometry and chemical identity of a known active site. Importantly, this approach can use low-resolution structures provided by contemporary structure prediction methods. When applied to genomes, structural information (either experimental or predicted) is likely to play an important role in high-throughput function assignment.