Implications of structural genomics target selection strategies:
Pfam5000, whole genome, and random approaches
The structural genomics project is an international effort to determine the three-dimensional shapes of all important biological macromolecules, with a primary focus on proteins. Target proteins should be selected according to a strategy which is medically and biologically relevant, of good value, and tractable. As an option to consider, we present the Pfam5000 strategy, which involves selecting the 5000 most important families from the Pfam database as sources for targets. We compare the Pfam5000 strategy to several other proposed strategies that would require similar numbers of targets. These include including complete solution of several small to moderately sized bacterial proteomes, partial coverage of the human proteome, and random selection of approximately 5000 targets from sequenced genomes. We measure the impact that successful implementation of these strategies would have upon structural interpretation of the proteins in Swiss-Prot, TrEMBL, and 131 complete proteomes (including 10 of eukaryotes) from the Proteome Analysis database at EBI. Solving the structures of proteins from the 5000 largest Pfam families would allow accurate fold assignment for approximately 68 percent of all prokaryotic proteins (covering 59 percent of residues) and 61 percent of eukaryotic proteins (40 percent of residues). More fine-grained coverage which would allow accurate modeling of these proteins would require an order of magnitude more targets. The Pfam5000 strategy may be modified in several ways, for example to focus on larger families, bacterial sequences, or eukaryotic sequences; as long as secondary consideration is given to large families within Pfam, coverage results vary only slightly. In contrast, focusing structural genomics on a single tractable genome would have only a limited impact in structural knowledge of other proteomes: a significant fraction (about 30-40 percent of the proteins, and 40-60 percent of the residues) of each proteome is classified in small families, which may have little overlap with other species of interest. Random selection of targets from one or more genomes is similar to the Pfam5000 strategy in that proteins from larger families are more likely to be chosen, but substantial effort would be spent on small families.