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Last modified September 21, 2015

UniProtKB Keywords constitute a controlled vocabulary with a hierarchical structure. Keywords summarise the content of a UniProtKB entry and facilitate the search for proteins of interest.

Keywords are classified in 10 categories:

  • Biological process
  • Cellular component
  • Coding sequence diversity
  • Developmental stage
  • Disease
  • Domain
  • Ligand
  • Molecular function
  • Post-translational modification
  • Technical term

An entry often contains several keywords. Inside a category, the keywords are stored in alphabetical order.
Example: P80643

Keywords can be used to retrieve subsets of protein entries or to generate indexes of entries based on functional, structural, or other categories.

Keywords in UniProtKB/TrEMBL

UniProtKB/TrEMBL makes use of the same list of keywords as UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot but, because most keywords in an entry are added in the manual annotation process, UniProtKB/TrEMBL entries generally contain fewer keywords than UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries. The main sources of UniProtKB/TrEMBL keywords are:

  • The underlying nucleotide entry. The nucleotide databases (e.g. EMBL) contain keywords that are transferred to the corresponding UniProtKB/TrEMBL entry provided they are also present in the UniProtKB keyword list.
  • The program which creates UniProtKB/TrEMBL entries. This adds keywords based on information in the underlying nucleotide entry. For example, if a nucleotide entry contains the word “kinase” in the description field, the program will add the keyword “Kinase” to the corresponding UniProtKB/TrEMBL entry.
  • Automatic annotation.

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