MMDB and VAST+: tracking structural similarities between macromolecular complexes

Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Jan;42(Database issue):D297-303. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt1208. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


The computational detection of similarities between protein 3D structures has become an indispensable tool for the detection of homologous relationships, the classification of protein families and functional inference. Consequently, numerous algorithms have been developed that facilitate structure comparison, including rapid searches against a steadily growing collection of protein structures. To this end, NCBI's Molecular Modeling Database (MMDB), which is based on the Protein Data Bank (PDB), maintains a comprehensive and up-to-date archive of protein structure similarities computed with the Vector Alignment Search Tool (VAST). These similarities have been recorded on the level of single proteins and protein domains, comprising in excess of 1.5 billion pairwise alignments. Here we present VAST+, an extension to the existing VAST service, which summarizes and presents structural similarity on the level of biological assemblies or macromolecular complexes. VAST+ simplifies structure neighboring results and shows, for macromolecular complexes tracked in MMDB, lists of similar complexes ranked by the extent of similarity. VAST+ replaces the previous VAST service as the default presentation of structure neighboring data in NCBI's Entrez query and retrieval system. MMDB and VAST+ can be accessed via

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics
  • Databases, Protein*
  • Internet
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Models, Molecular
  • Software
  • Structural Homology, Protein*


  • Macromolecular Substances