Understanding the molecular basis of protein function remains a central goal of biology, with the hope to elucidate the role of human genes in health and in disease, and to rationally design therapies through targeted molecular perturbations. We review here some of the computational techniques and resources available for characterizing a critical aspect of protein function - those mediated by protein-protein interactions (PPI). We describe several applications and recent successes of the Evolutionary Trace (ET) in identifying molecular events and shapes that underlie protein function and specificity in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. ET is a part of analytical approaches based on the successes and failures of evolution that enable the rational control of PPI.
Keywords: Evolutionary trace; Functional annotation; Functional sites; Molecular evolution; Protein design; Protein–protein interaction networks.
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