Background: Protein interactions are essential for coordinating cellular functions. Proteomic studies have already elucidated a huge amount of protein-protein interactions that require detailed functional analysis. Understanding the structural basis of each individual interaction through their structural determination is necessary, yet an unfeasible task. Therefore, computational tools able to predict protein binding regions and recognition modes are required to rationalize putative molecular functions for proteins. With this aim, we previously created SCOWLP, a structural classification of protein binding regions at protein family level, based on the information obtained from high-resolution 3D protein-protein and protein-peptide complexes.
Description: We present here a new version of SCOWLP that has been enhanced by the inclusion of protein-nucleic acid and protein-saccharide interactions. SCOWLP takes interfacial solvent into account for a detailed characterization of protein interactions. In addition, the binding regions obtained per protein family have been enriched by the inclusion of predicted binding regions, which have been inferred from structurally related proteins across all existing folds. These inferences might become very useful to suggest novel recognition regions and compare structurally similar interfaces from different families.
Conclusions: The updated SCOWLP has new functionalities that allow both, detection and comparison of protein regions recognizing different types of ligands, which include other proteins, peptides, nucleic acids and saccharides, within a solvated environment. Currently, SCOWLP allows the analysis of predicted protein binding regions based on structure-based inferences across fold space. These predictions may have a unique potential in assisting protein docking, in providing insights into protein interaction networks, and in guiding rational engineering of protein ligands. The newly designed SCOWLP web application has an improved user-friendly interface that facilitates its usage, and is available at http://www.scowlp.org.