The use of evolutionary patterns in protein annotation

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2012 Jun;22(3):316-25. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 May 24.


With genomic data skyrocketing, their biological interpretation remains a serious challenge. Diverse computational methods address this problem by pointing to the existence of recurrent patterns among sequence, structure, and function. These patterns emerge naturally from evolutionary variation, natural selection, and divergence--the defining features of biological systems--and they identify molecular events and shapes that underlie specificity of function and allosteric communication. Here we review these methods, and the patterns they identify in case studies and in proteome-wide applications, to infer and rationally redesign function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation*
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / classification


  • Proteins