Department of Mathematics, University of California Santa Barbara, 552 University Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, U.S.A.
Polypeptide chains form open knots in many proteins. How these knotted proteins fold and finding the evolutionary advantage provided by these knots are among some of the key questions currently being studied in the protein folding field. The detection and identification of protein knots are substantial challenges. Different methods and many variations of them have been employed, but they can give different results for the same protein. In the present article, we review the various knot identification algorithms and compare their relative strengths when applied to the study of knots in proteins. We show that the statistical approach based on the uniform closure method is advantageous in comparison with other methods used to characterize protein knots.