Although multiple sequence alignments (MSAs) are essential for a wide range of applications from structure modeling to prediction of functional sites, construction of accurate MSAs for distantly related proteins remains a largely unsolved problem. The rapidly increasing database of spatial structures is a valuable source to improve alignment quality. We explore the use of 3D structural information to guide sequence alignments constructed by our MSA program PROMALS. The resulting tool, PROMALS3D, automatically identifies homologs with known 3D structures for the input sequences, derives structural constraints through structure-based alignments and combines them with sequence constraints to construct consistency-based multiple sequence alignments. The output is a consensus alignment that brings together sequence and structural information about input proteins and their homologs. PROMALS3D can also align sequences of multiple input structures, with the output representing a multiple structure-based alignment refined in combination with sequence constraints. The advantage of PROMALS3D is that it gives researchers an easy way to produce high-quality alignments consistent with both sequences and structures of proteins. PROMALS3D outperforms a number of existing methods for constructing multiple sequence or structural alignments using both reference-dependent and reference-independent evaluation methods.
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