ProtAlign: A 3-Dimensional Protein Alignment Assessment Tool


ProtAlign introduces the ability to interact with and edit alignments directly in the 3-dimensional structure as well as in the usual 2-dimensional layout. It also contains several functions and features to help the user assess areas within the alignment. ProtAlign implements an open pipe architecture to allow other programs to access its molecular graphics capabilities. In addition, it is capable of ``driving'' other programs. Because amino acid side chain orientation is not relevant in fold recognition, we represent amino acid residues as abstract shapes or glyphs much like Lego (tm) blocks and we borrow techniques from comparative flow visualization using streamlines to provide clean depictions of the entire protein model. By creating a low resolution representation of protein structure, we are able to at least double the amount of information on the screen. At the same time, we create a view which is not as busy as the corresponding representation using traditional high resolution visualization methods which show detailed atomic structure. This eliminates distracting and possibly misleading visual clutter resulting from the mapping of protein alignment information onto a high resolution display of the known structure. This molecular graphics program is implemented in OpenGL to facilitate porting to other platforms.


A postscript version and a pdf version of the paper are available.


Return to AVIS home page.