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eBLOCKs: enumerating conserved protein blocks to achieve maximal sensitivity and specificity.

Su, Qiaojuan Jane; Lu, Lin; Saxonov, Serge; Brutlag, Douglas L.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 33(Database issue): D178-82, 2005 Jan 01.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-15608172
Classifying proteins into families and superfamilies allows identification of functionally important conserved domains. The motifs and scoring matrices derived from such conserved regions provide computational tools that recognize similar patterns in novel sequences, and thus enable the prediction of protein function for genomes. The eBLOCKs database enumerates a cascade of protein blocks with varied conservation levels for each functional domain. A biologically important region is most stringently conserved among a smaller family of highly similar proteins. The same region is often found in a larger group of more remotely related proteins with a reduced stringency. Through enumeration, highly specific signatures can be generated from blocks with more columns and fewer family members, while highly sensitive signatures can be derived from blocks with fewer columns and more members as in a superfamily. By applying PSI-BLAST and a modified K-means clustering algorithm, eBLOCKs automatically groups protein sequences according to different levels of similarity. Multiple sequence alignments are made and trimmed into a series of ungapped blocks. Motifs and position-specific scoring matrices were derived from eBLOCKs and made available for sequence search and annotation. The eBLOCKs database provides a tool for high-throughput genome annotation with maximal specificity and sensitivity. The eBLOCKs database is freely available on the World Wide Web at http// to all users for online usage. Academic and not-for-profit institutions wishing copies of the program may contact Douglas L. Brutlag ( Commercial firms wishing copies of the program for internal installation may contact Jacqueline Tay at the Stanford Office of Technology Licensing (; http//