Proteins typically share greater sequence and function similarities with other subfamily members than they do with members of their wider family. For example, in the SCOP classification system, members of a subfamily share the same interaction interfaces and interaction partners. 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, motifs linked to function, or phylogenetic clade. 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.
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