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Team Tallies Domain Features From Human Protein Structure Predictions

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers report in a paper that is to appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on findings from a computational analysis focused on human proteome structure predictions corresponding to specific protein domains. "Identifying domains in these predicted structures and classifying them into an evolutionary hierarchy can reveal biological insights," they reason. Using manual curation and automated pipeline, the team tracked down some 47,576 globular domains, for example, evaluating evolutionary relationships between them, as well as their similarities to experimentally defined domains. The globular domain set includes stretches of sequence spanning more than 2,500 disease-associated SNPs, the authors note, along with domains that seem to have been expanded or contracted in humans compared to other animals. "[C]omparison with automatically classified domains from multiple model organisms revealed differences associated with the unique physiology of humans, such as expansion in cytokines and depletion of odor-sensing domains," they report.