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Open Access Software

Flexible mapping of homology onto structure with Homolmapper

Nathan C Rockwell* and J Clark Lagarias

Author Affiliations

Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:123  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-123

Published: 11 April 2007

Abstract

Background

Over the past decade, a number of tools have emerged for the examination of homology relationships among protein sequences in a structural context. Most recent software implementations for such analysis are tied to specific molecular viewing programs, which can be problematic for collaborations involving multiple viewing environments. Incorporation into larger packages also adds complications for users interested in adding their own scoring schemes or in analyzing proteins incorporating unusual amino acid residues such as selenocysteine.

Results

We describe homolmapper, a command-line application for mapping information from a multiple protein sequence alignment onto a protein structure for analysis in the viewing software of the user's choice. Homolmapper is small (under 250 K for the application itself) and is written in Python to ensure portability. It is released for non-commercial use under a modified University of California BSD license. Homolmapper permits facile import of additional scoring schemes and can incorporate arbitrary additional amino acids to allow handling of residues such as selenocysteine or pyrrolysine. Homolmapper also provides tools for defining and analyzing subfamilies relative to a larger alignment, for mutual information analysis, and for rapidly visualizing the locations of mutations and multi-residue motifs.

Conclusion

Homolmapper is a useful tool for analysis of homology relationships among proteins in a structural context. There is also extensive, example-driven documentation available. More information about homolmapper is available at http://www.mcb.ucdavis.edu/faculty-labs/lagarias/homolmapper_home/homolmapper%20web%20page.htm webcite.