The 2020 Nucleic Acids Research database issue features papers from NCBI staff on GenBank, ClinVar and more. These papers are also available on PubMed. To read an article, click on the PMID number listed below.
“Database resources of the National Center for Biotechnology Information”
by Eric W Sayers, Jeff Beck, J Rodney Brister, Evan E Bolton, Kathi Canese et al. (PMID: 31602479)
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) provides a large suite of online resources for biological information and data, including the GenBank® nucleic acid sequence database and the PubMed database of citations and abstracts published in life science journals. The Entrez system provides search and retrieval operations for most of these data from 38 distinct databases. This article provides a brief overview of the NCBI Entrez system of databases, followed by a summary of resources that were either introduced or significantly updated in the past year, including PubMed, PMC, Bookshelf, BLAST databases and more!
We are now showing the curated evidence used for assigning names and, if possible, gene symbols, publications, and Enzyme Commission numbers on nearly 70% (83 million) microbial RefSeq proteins. This evidence includes a hierarchical collection of curated Hidden Markov Model (HMM)-based and BLAST-based protein families, and conserved domain architectures.
The latest version of the Conserved Domain Database contains 3,272 new or updated NCBI-curated domains and now mirrors Pfam version 31 as well as models from NCBIfams, a collection of protein family hidden Markov models (HMMs) for improving bacterial genome annotation. A fine-grained classification of the major facilitator superfamily has also been added. You can find this updated content on the CDD FTP site.
If you’re a protein researcher, one thing you may want to do is to find homologs for a protein of interest on the basis of its sequence. This can provide insights into what the protein does and how it does it, and may identify proteins with known three-dimensional structures that can serve as models for the protein of interest. The Conserved Domains Database (CDD) groups proteins that have strong sequence similarity to protein domain fingerprints and allows you to search these groups with any protein sequence. Such searches are often more sensitive than standard BLAST searches since the scoring matrices used are tuned to locate important functional sites and sequence motifs that are highly conserved within the domain. You can then use the results to explore the evolutionary relationships of these proteins or identify these important sequence and structural features.
Here is a method to find protein sequences from many organisms that contain a particular conserved domain: