On the classification and evolution of protein modules.
Our efforts to classify the functional units of many proteins, the modules, are reviewed. The data from the sequencing projects for various model organisms are extremely helpful in deducing the evolution of proteins and modules. For example, a dramatic increase of modular proteins can be observed from yeast to C. elegans in accordance with new protein functions that had to be introduced in multicellular organisms. Our sequence characterization of modules relies on sensitive similarity search algorithms and the collection of multiple sequence alignments for each module. To trace the evolution of modules and to further automate the classification, we have developed a sequence and a module alerting system that checks newly arriving sequence data for the presence of already classified modules. Using these systems, we were able to identify an unexpected similarity between extracellular C1Q modules with bacterial proteins.