Secondary Structure, a Missing Component of Sequence-Based Minimotif Definitions

Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Minimotifs are short contiguous segments of proteins that have a known biological function. The hundreds of thousands of minimotifs discovered thus far are an important part of the theoretical understanding of the specificity of protein-protein interactions, posttranslational modifications, and signal transduction that occur in cells. However, a longstanding problem is that the different abstractions of the sequence definitions do not accurately capture the specificity, despite decades of effort by many labs. We present evidence that structure is an essential component of minimotif specificity, yet is not used in minimotif definitions. Our analysis of several known minimotifs as case studies, analysis of occurrences of minimotifs in structured and disordered regions of proteins, and review of the literature support a new model for minimotif definitions that includes sequence, structure, and function.


Originally published in : PLoS One. 2012; 7(12): e49957. Published online 2012 December 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049957PMCID: PMC3517595

Copyright - 2012 Sargeant et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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