Structural bioinformatics: deriving biological insights from protein structures

Interdiscip Sci. 2010 Dec;2(4):347-66. doi: 10.1007/s12539-010-0045-6. Epub 2010 Dec 12.


Structural bioinformatics can be described as an approach that will help decipher biological insights from protein structures. As an important component of structural biology, this area promises to provide a high resolution understanding of biology by assisting comprehension and interpretation of a large amount of structural data. Biological function of protein molecules can be inferred from their three-dimensional structures by comparing structures, classifying them and transferring function from a related protein or family. It is well known now that the structure space of protein molecules is more conserved than the sequence space, making it important to seek functional associations at the structural level. An added advantage of structural bioinformatics over simpler sequence-based methods is that the former also provides ultimate insights into the mechanisms by which various biological events take place. A bird's eye-view of the different aspects of structural bioinformatics is given here along with various recent advances in the area including how knowledge obtained from structural bioinformatics can be applied in drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Drug Discovery
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship*