ATLIGATOR: editing protein interactions with an atlas-based approach

Bioinformatics. 2022 Nov 30;38(23):5199-5205. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btac685.


Motivation: Recognition of specific molecules by proteins is a fundamental cellular mechanism and relevant for many applications. Being able to modify binding is a key interest and can be achieved by repurposing established interaction motifs. We were specifically interested in a methodology for the design of peptide binding modules. By leveraging interaction data from known protein structures, we plan to accelerate the design of novel protein or peptide binders.

Results: We developed ATLIGATOR-a computational method to support the analysis and design of a protein's interaction with a single side chain. Our program enables the building of interaction atlases based on structures from the PDB. From these atlases pocket definitions are extracted that can be searched for frequent interactions. These searches can reveal similarities in unrelated proteins as we show here for one example. Such frequent interactions can then be grafted onto a new protein scaffold as a starting point of the design process. The ATLIGATOR tool is made accessible through a python API as well as a CLI with python scripts.

Availability and implementation: Source code can be downloaded at github (, installed from PyPI ('atligator') and is implemented in Python 3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Proteins* / chemistry
  • Software*


  • Proteins