South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Homology modelling is an important computational technique, within structural biology, to determine the 3D structure of proteins. It uses available high-resolution protein structures to produce a model of a protein of similar, but unknown, structure. We describe the essential steps in the process, and discuss the circumstances in which homology modelling is likely to lead to a useful result. Homology modelling plays a valuable role in drug design, and we illustrate this by one example, anti-SARS inhibitors. In South Africa, homology modelling has been applied to proteins that may be relevant for drug design in connection with diseases as well as in other potential industrial applications. The use to date has been limited, however, so this article aims to introduce this useful and cost-effective technique to a wider community.