Voronoia: analyzing packing in protein structures

Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Jan;37(Database issue):D393-5. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkn769. Epub 2008 Oct 23.


The packing of protein atoms is an indicator for their stability and functionality, and applied in determining thermostability, in protein design, ligand binding and to identify flexible regions in proteins. Here, we present Voronoia, a database of atomic-scale packing data for protein 3D structures. It is based on an improved Voronoi Cell algorithm using hyperboloid interfaces to construct atomic volumes, and to resolve solvent-accessible and -inaccessible regions of atoms. The database contains atomic volumes, local packing densities and interior cavities calculated for 61 318 biological units from the PDB. A report for each structure summarizes the packing by residue and atom types, and lists the environment of interior cavities. The packing data are compared to a nonredundant set of structures from SCOP superfamilies. Both packing densities and cavities can be visualized in the 3D structures by the Jmol plugin. Additionally, PDB files can be submitted to the Voronoia server for calculation. This service performs calculations for most full-atomic protein structures within a few minutes. For batch jobs, a standalone version of the program with an optional PyMOL plugin is available for download. The database can be freely accessed at: http://bioinformatics.charite.de/voronoia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Proteins