Homology modeling plays a central role in determining protein structure in the structural genomics project. The importance of homology modeling has been steadily increasing because of the large gap that exists between the overwhelming number of available protein sequences and experimentally solved protein structures, and also, more importantly, because of the increasing reliability and accuracy of the method. In fact, a protein sequence with over 30% identity to a known structure can often be predicted with an accuracy equivalent to a low-resolution X-ray structure. The recent advances in homology modeling, especially in detecting distant homologues, aligning sequences with template structures, modeling of loops and side chains, as well as detecting errors in a model, have contributed to reliable prediction of protein structure, which was not possible even several years ago. The ongoing efforts in solving protein structures, which can be time-consuming and often difficult, will continue to spur the development of a host of new computational methods that can fill in the gap and further contribute to understanding the relationship between protein structure and function.
homology modeling, structure refinement, sequence alignment, side-chain prediction, loop prediction, model assessment, colony energy, conformation sampling, structural genomics
Center for Molecular Modeling,Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health,Building 12A Room 2051, 12 South Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-5624, USA.