Protein subfamily

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Protein subfamily is a level of protein classification, based on their close evolutionary relationship. It is below the larger levels of protein superfamily and protein family.[1]

Proteins typically share greater sequence and function similarities with other subfamily members than they do with members of their wider family.[1][2] For example, in the Structural Classification of Proteins database classification system, members of a subfamily share the same interaction interfaces and interaction partners.[3] These are stricter criteria than for a family, where members have similar structures, but may be more distantly related and so have different interfaces. Subfamilies are assigned by a variety of methods, including sequence similarity,[4] motifs linked to function,[5] or phylogenetic clade.[6][7] There is no exact and consistent distinction between a subfamily and a family. The same group of proteins may sometimes be described as a family or a subfamily, depending on the context.


  1. ^ a b "What are protein families?". EMBL-EBI Train online. 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  2. ^ Das, Sayoni; Orengo, Christine A. (2016). "Protein function annotation using protein domain family resources" (PDF). Methods. 93: 24–34. doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2015.09.029. PMID 26434392.
  3. ^ Rausell, Antonio; Juan, David; Pazos, Florencio; Valencia, Alfonso (2010-02-02). "Protein interactions and ligand binding: From protein subfamilies to functional specificity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (5): 1995–2000. Bibcode:2010PNAS..107.1995R. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908044107. PMC 2808218. PMID 20133844.
  4. ^ Brown, Duncan P.; Krishnamurthy, Nandini; Sjölander, Kimmen (2007-08-17). "Automated Protein Subfamily Identification and Classification". PLOS Computational Biology. 3 (8): e160. Bibcode:2007PLSCB...3..160B. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030160. ISSN 1553-7358. PMC 1950344. PMID 17708678.
  5. ^ Eisen, Jonathan A.; Sweder, Kevin S.; Hanawalt, Philip C. (1995-07-25). "Evolution of the SNF2 family of proteins: subfamilies with distinct sequences and functions". Nucleic Acids Research. 23 (14): 2715–2723. doi:10.1093/nar/23.14.2715. ISSN 0305-1048. PMC 307096. PMID 7651832.
  6. ^ Wicker, Nicolas; Perrin, Guy René; Thierry, Jean Claude; Poch, Olivier (2001-08-01). "Secator: A Program for Inferring Protein Subfamilies from Phylogenetic Trees". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 18 (8): 1435–1441. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a003929. ISSN 0737-4038. PMID 11470834.
  7. ^ Mi, Huaiyu; Poudel, Sagar; Muruganujan, Anushya; Casagrande, John T.; Thomas, Paul D. (2016-01-04). "PANTHER version 10: expanded protein families and functions, and analysis tools". Nucleic Acids Research. 44 (D1): D336–D342. doi:10.1093/nar/gkv1194. ISSN 0305-1048. PMC 4702852. PMID 26578592.

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