February 1, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 3)
Strong Points: Analyses
Weak Points: Broken Links
Molecular biological sequence comparisons are at the root of identifying functions of unknown proteins. By identifying homology of an unknown protein (or protein domain) compared to another with a known function, clues to the function of the new protein can be obtained. Besides sequence homology, comparisons of structural homology are also useful to either establish or help confirm function. VAST assists in this process by comparing 3-D structures of PDB files uploaded by users to the Entrez Macromolecular Database (MMDB). Hosted by the NCBI, I found VAST to be a little disappointing. Rarely have I found NCBI sites with many broken links, but I found several on the opening page of VAST. Nevertheless, the analyses are welcome.