Biocuration in the structure-function linkage database: the anatomy of a superfamily

Database (Oxford). 2017 Jan 1;2017(1):bax006. doi: 10.1093/database/bax006.


With ever-increasing amounts of sequence data available in both the primary literature and sequence repositories, there is a bottleneck in annotating molecular function to a sequence. This article describes the biocuration process and methods used in the structure-function linkage database (SFLD) to help address some of the challenges. We discuss how the hierarchy within the SFLD allows us to infer detailed functional properties for functionally diverse enzyme superfamilies in which all members are homologous, conserve an aspect of their chemical function and have associated conserved structural features that enable the chemistry. Also presented is the Enzyme Structure-Function Ontology (ESFO), which has been designed to capture the relationships between enzyme sequence, structure and function that underlie the SFLD and is used to guide the biocuration processes within the SFLD.

Database url:

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein*
  • Enzymes / chemistry*
  • Enzymes / genetics*
  • Gene Ontology*
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation*
  • Structural Homology, Protein
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Enzymes