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1.  BioCatalogue: a universal catalogue of web services for the life sciences 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(Web Server issue):W689-W694.
The use of Web Services to enable programmatic access to on-line bioinformatics is becoming increasingly important in the Life Sciences. However, their number, distribution and the variable quality of their documentation can make their discovery and subsequent use difficult. A Web Services registry with information on available services will help to bring together service providers and their users. The BioCatalogue ( provides a common interface for registering, browsing and annotating Web Services to the Life Science community. Services in the BioCatalogue can be described and searched in multiple ways based upon their technical types, bioinformatics categories, user tags, service providers or data inputs and outputs. They are also subject to constant monitoring, allowing the identification of service problems and changes and the filtering-out of unavailable or unreliable resources. The system is accessible via a human-readable ‘Web 2.0’-style interface and a programmatic Web Service interface. The BioCatalogue follows a community approach in which all services can be registered, browsed and incrementally documented with annotations by any member of the scientific community.
PMCID: PMC2896129  PMID: 20484378
2.  Structural and evolutionary classification of Type II restriction enzymes based on theoretical and experimental analyses 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;36(11):3552-3569.
For a very long time, Type II restriction enzymes (REases) have been a paradigm of ORFans: proteins with no detectable similarity to each other and to any other protein in the database, despite common cellular and biochemical function. Crystallographic analyses published until January 2008 provided high-resolution structures for only 28 of 1637 Type II REase sequences available in the Restriction Enzyme database (REBASE). Among these structures, all but two possess catalytic domains with the common PD-(D/E)XK nuclease fold. Two structures are unrelated to the others: R.BfiI exhibits the phospholipase D (PLD) fold, while R.PabI has a new fold termed ‘half-pipe’. Thus far, bioinformatic studies supported by site-directed mutagenesis have extended the number of tentatively assigned REase folds to five (now including also GIY-YIG and HNH folds identified earlier in homing endonucleases) and provided structural predictions for dozens of REase sequences without experimentally solved structures. Here, we present a comprehensive study of all Type II REase sequences available in REBASE together with their homologs detectable in the nonredundant and environmental samples databases at the NCBI. We present the summary and critical evaluation of structural assignments and predictions reported earlier, new classification of all REase sequences into families, domain architecture analysis and new predictions of three-dimensional folds. Among 289 experimentally characterized (not putative) Type II REases, whose apparently full-length sequences are available in REBASE, we assign 199 (69%) to contain the PD-(D/E)XK domain. The HNH domain is the second most common, with 24 (8%) members. When putative REases are taken into account, the fraction of PD-(D/E)XK and HNH folds changes to 48% and 30%, respectively. Fifty-six characterized (and 521 predicted) REases remain unassigned to any of the five REase folds identified so far, and may exhibit new architectures. These enzymes are proposed as the most interesting targets for structure determination by high-resolution experimental methods. Our analysis provides the first comprehensive map of sequence-structure relationships among Type II REases and will help to focus the efforts of structural and functional genomics of this large and biotechnologically important class of enzymes.
PMCID: PMC2441816  PMID: 18456708
3.  HsdR Subunit of the Type I Restriction-Modification Enzyme EcoR124I: Biophysical Characterisation and Structural Modelling 
Journal of Molecular Biology  2008;376(2):438-452.
Type I restriction-modification (RM) systems are large, multifunctional enzymes composed of three different subunits. HsdS and HsdM form a complex in which HsdS recognizes the target DNA sequence, and HsdM carries out methylation of adenosine residues. The HsdR subunit, when associated with the HsdS-HsdM complex, translocates DNA in an ATP-dependent process and cleaves unmethylated DNA at a distance of several thousand base-pairs from the recognition site. The molecular mechanism by which these enzymes translocate the DNA is not fully understood, in part because of the absence of crystal structures. To date, crystal structures have been determined for the individual HsdS and HsdM subunits and models have been built for the HsdM–HsdS complex with the DNA. However, no structure is available for the HsdR subunit. In this work, the gene coding for the HsdR subunit of EcoR124I was re-sequenced, which showed that there was an error in the published sequence. This changed the position of the stop codon and altered the last 17 amino acid residues of the protein sequence. An improved purification procedure was developed to enable HsdR to be purified efficiently for biophysical and structural analysis. Analytical ultracentrifugation shows that HsdR is monomeric in solution, and the frictional ratio of 1.21 indicates that the subunit is globular and fairly compact. Small angle neutron-scattering of the HsdR subunit indicates a radius of gyration of 3.4 nm and a maximum dimension of 10 nm. We constructed a model of the HsdR using protein fold-recognition and homology modelling to model individual domains, and small-angle neutron scattering data as restraints to combine them into a single molecule. The model reveals an ellipsoidal shape of the enzymatic core comprising the N-terminal and central domains, and suggests conformational heterogeneity of the C-terminal region implicated in binding of HsdR to the HsdS–HsdM complex.
PMCID: PMC2878639  PMID: 18164032
RM, restriction-modification; REase, restriction endonuclease; MTase, methyltransferase; AdoMet, S-adenosylmethionine; SANS, small angle neutron-scattering; FR, protein fold-recognition; fold recognition; homology modelling; de novo modelling; DEAD box; SANS

Results 1-3 (3)