Courtesy of Anders Krogh
 The Transmembrane Hidden Markov Model prediction of the topology of one photosynthetic reaction center chain. The five red bars are the predicted membrane helices and the histogram below represents the certainty with which they can be predicted.

Membrane proteins do not reveal their structures easily. Because they are particularly hard to crystallize, such proteins make X-ray crystallography expensive and time-consuming. So, many investigators turn to theoretical, mathematical methods to predict transmembrane protein topologies. This Hot Paper was among the first to report the application of the hidden Markov model (HMM) to such a task.

All the information and material exchange of the cell goes through transmembrane proteins. The stakes are potentially high in the hunt for transmembrane topologies. "People are doing data mining to find interesting proteins," says Hot Paper lead author Anders Krogh, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of Copenhagen. "And membrane...

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