Estimating the number of protein folds and families from complete genome data

Yuri I. Wolf, Nick V. Grishin, Eugene V. Koonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Using the data on proteins encoded in complete genomes, combined with a rigorous theory of the sampling process, we estimate the total number of protein folds and families, as well as the number of folds and families in each genome. The total number of folds in globular, water-soluble proteins is estimated at about 1000, with structural information currently available for about one-third of that number. The sequenced genomes of unicellular organisms encode from approximately 25 %, for the minimal genomes of the Mycoplasmas, to 70-80 % for larger genomes, such as Escherichia coli and yeast, of the total number of folds. The number of protein families with significant sequence conservation was estimated to be between 4000 and 7000, with structures available for about 20 % of these. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)897-905
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 16 2000


  • Logarithmic distribution
  • Protein structure classification
  • Sampling
  • Structural genomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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