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Amino Acid Explorer

PSSM Viewer Help

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   PSSM Viewer

1. Enter PSSM to view2. Enter protein to align to PSSM
CD accession or a PSSM-id: 
Example: cd02249 (a zinc finger domain)

Scoremat file: 

CD Master or none if viewing a scoremat

Accession or GI:

FASTA file:

3. Choose a viewing mode
This mode displays the full PSSM so that rows represent alignment positions and columns represent amino acids. This mode allows the positions (rows) to be sorted by how likely they are to contain a given residue. This mode displays the PSSM so that columns represent alignment positions (twenty per screen), and for each position (column) the residues are sorted by the PSSM score. Residue frequencies for each position can also be displayed (for CDs only).

   What is a PSSM?

A PSSM, or Position-Specific Scoring Matrix, is a type of scoring matrix used in protein BLAST searches in which amino acid substitution scores are given separately for each position in a protein multiple sequence alignment. Thus, a Tyr-Trp substitution at position A of an alignment may receive a very different score than the same substitution at position B. This is in contrast to position-independent matrices such as the PAM and BLOSUM matrices, in which the Tyr-Trp substitution receives the same score no matter at what position it occurs.

PSSM scores are generally shown as positive or negative integers. Positive scores indicate that the given amino acid substitution occurs more frequently in the alignment than expected by chance, while negative scores indicate that the substitution occurs less frequently than expected. Large positive scores often indicate critical functional residues, which may be active site residues or residues required for other intermolecular interactions.

PSSMs can be created using PSI-BLAST, which finds similar protein sequences to a query sequence, and then constructs a PSSM from the resulting alignment. Alternatively, PSSMs can be retrieved from the NCBI CDD database, since each CD is represented by a PSSM that encodes the observed substitutions in the seed alignments. These CD records can be found either by text searching in Entrez Conserved Domains or by using RPS-BLAST (Reverse Position-Specific BLAST), also known as CD-Search, to locate these domains on an input protein sequence.