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Evolutionary software to be released free of charge

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- New software developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows scientists to more effectively analyze and compare both sequence and structure data from a growing library of proteins and nucleic acids.

"MultiSeq (pronounced Multi-seek) allows you to bring in both structure and sequences without structure, and use the complementary information contained within them to investigate changes in the system," said Zaida Luthey-Schulten, a professor of chemistry and a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the U. of I. "By placing bioinformatics in the context of evolution, we can also perform comparative dynamics studies of proteins from different domains of life."

Currently, more than 3 million sequences and 35 thousand structures of proteins and nucleic acids are available for study. By providing an environment for the evolutionary analysis of this data, the software can help scientists gain valuable insight into basic scientific questions, such as the origin of life, as well as questions of a more practical nature, such as the development of resistance to ribosome targeting antibiotics.

Developed by Luthey-Schulten and graduate students Elijah Roberts, John Eargle and Dan Wright, MultiSeq is a major extension of the Multiple Alignment tool that is provided as part of VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics), a program for visualizing and analyzing molecular dynamics simulations. Developed at the U. of I. and distributed free of charge, VMD is designed to efficiently handle large three-dimensional systems containing more than a million atoms. MultiSeq extends VMD's capabilities by incorporating the more diverse evolutionary data available in sequences into the analysis process.

For example, the computational tools in MultiSeq may help scientists understand the evolution of ribosomes, the basic machinery of translation. Translation is a key component of all life, and the
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Contact: James E. Kloeppel
kloeppel@uiuc.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
18-Sep-2006


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