Motivation: Identification and comparison of similar three dimensional (3D) protein structures has become an even greater challenge in the face of the rapidly growing structure databases. Here we introduce Vorometric, a new method that provides efficient search and alignment of a query protein against a database of protein structures. Voronoi contacts of the protein residues are enriched with the secondary structure information and a metric substitution matrix is developed to allow efficient indexing. The contact hits obtained from a distance-based indexing method are extended to obtain high scoring segment pairs, which are then used to generate structural alignments.
Results: Vorometric is the first to address both search and alignment problems in the protein structure databases. The experimental results show that Vorometric is simultaneously effective in retrieving similar protein structures, producing high quality structure alignments, and identifying cross-fold similarities. Vorometric outperforms current structure retrieval methods in search accuracy, while requiring comparable running times. Furthermore, the structural superpositions produced are shown to have better quality and coverage, when compared with those of the popular structure alignment tools.
Availability: Vorometric is available as a web service at http://bio.cse.ohio-state.edu/Vorometric