Domain Definition From Structural Co-ordinates
The importance of domains as structural building blocks and elements of evolution has brought about many automated methods for their identification and classification in proteins of known structure. Automatic procedures for reliable domain assignment is essential for the generation of the domain databases, especially as the number of protein structures is increasing. Although the boundaries of a domain can be determined by visual inspection, construction of an automated method is not straightforward. Problems occur when faced with domains that are discontinuous or highly associated. The fact that there is no standard definition of what a domain really is has meant that domain assignments have varied enormously, with each researcher using a unique set of criteria.
A structural domain is a compact, globular sub-structure with more interactions within it than with the rest of the protein. Therefore, a structural domain can be determined by two visual characteristics; its compactness and its extent of isolation. Measures of local compactness in proteins have been used in many of the early methods of domain assignment and in several of the more recent methods.
Read more about this topic: Protein Domains
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