UNIT 2.1 Computational Methods for Protein Sequence Comparison and Search

  1. Dong Xu

Published Online: 1 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/0471140864.ps0201s56

Current Protocols in Protein Science

Current Protocols in Protein Science

How to Cite

Xu, D. 2009. Computational Methods for Protein Sequence Comparison and Search. Current Protocols in Protein Science. 56:2.1:2.1.1–2.1.27.

Author Information

  1. Department of Computer Science and Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: APR 2009


Protein sequence comparison and search has become commonplace not only for bioinformatics researchers but also for experimentalists in many cases. Because of the exponential growth in sequence data, sequence comparison in particular has become an increasingly important tool. Relating a new gene sequence to other known sequences often reveals its function, structure, and evolution. Many sequence comparison and search tools are available through public Web servers, and biologists can use them easily with little knowledge of computers or bioinformatics. This unit provides some theoretical background and describes popular tools for dot plot, sequence search against a database, multiple sequence alignments, protein tree construction, and protein family and motif search. Step-by-step examples are provided to illustrate how to use some of the most well-known tools. Finally, some general advice is given on combining different sequence analysis tools for biological inference. Curr. Protoc. Protein Sci. 56:2.1.1-2.1.27. © 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • protein sequence comparison;
  • dot plot;
  • multiple sequence alignment;
  • protein tree;
  • protein family;
  • motif search