The region surrounding a protein, known as the surface of interaction or molecular surface, can provide valuable insight into its function. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of both their geometry and their surface fields, study of these surfaces can be slow and difficult and important features may be hard to identify. Here, we describe our GRaphical Abstracted Protein Explorer, or GRAPE, a web server that allows users to explore abstracted representations of proteins. These abstracted surfaces effectively reduce the level of detail of the surface of a macromolecule, using a specialized algorithm that removes small bumps and pockets, while preserving large-scale structural features. Scalar fields, such as electrostatic potential and hydropathy, are smoothed to further reduce visual complexity. This entirely new way of looking at proteins complements more traditional views of the molecular surface. GRAPE includes a thin 3D viewer that allows users to quickly flip back and forth between both views. Abstracted views provide a fast way to assess both a molecule’s shape and its different surface field distributions. GRAPE is freely available a
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