What's dbCAN?

dbCAN is a web server and DataBase for automated Carbohydrate-active enzyme ANnotation, funded by the BioEnergy Science Center of the DOE. Similar resources on the web include CAZy database and CAT. All data in dbCAN are generated based on the family classification from CAZy database while it has the following unique features compared with CAZy database and CAT:

  • dbCAN provides the capability of automated and comprehensive CAZyme annotation of a given genome submitted by the user;
  • dbCAN provides an explicitly defined signature domain for each and every CAZyme family along with its location in all the relevant full-length CAZyme proteins in all sequenced genomes;
  • dbCAN provides the most complete set of metagenomic CAZyme genes published so far and represents the first step towards discovering novel CAZyme catalysts in metagenomes;
  • dbCAN provides a subfamily classification of the existing CAZyme families based on sequence similarities;
  • dbCAN make all pre-computed data freely available to the public, including sequence alignments, hidden markov models (HMMs) and phylogenies of the signature domain regions in each and every CAZyme family and subfamily.

dbCAN is updated regularly when CAZy database created new families based on latest literature.


  • 05/11/2013: dbCAN HMMs 3.0 released (based on CAZyDB 03/22/2013), see read.txt for details; the BLAST database was also updated
  • 10/01/2012: dbCAN database is mirrored at the Northern Illinois University
  • 06/06/2012: dbCAN HMMs 2.0 released (based on CAZyDB 01/09/2012), see read.txt for details
  • 04/2012: Xizeng added a script to routinely check if a job was submitted successfully after in pending status for over 24 hours
  • 01/2012: Xizeng modified the job submission and management modules; now all jobs are sent to a linux cluster (100 nodes) to execute
  • 09/07/2011: Xizeng added the job submission and management modules in the annotate page; now can submit many sequences in one submission
  • 09/01/2011: fixed the bug in displaying domain architecture in the annotate page
  • 08/30/2011: added sequence logo and alignment for the three cellulosome modules
  • 08/24/2011: dbCAN 1.0 released!
  • 07/21/2011: Yanbin presented dbCAN as a talk in the BioEnergy Science Center 5th annual retreat, Chattanooga, TN
  • 01/2011: Xizeng and Jincai started to develop the web interface and database.
  • 06/21/2010: Ying presented some preliminary result from metagenome CAZyme search in a talk and Yanbin presented as a poster in the BioEnergy Science Center 4th annual retreat, Asheville, NC
  • 06/22-24/2009: Yanbin presented the idea of dbCAN with some preliminary data as a poster in the BioEnergy Science Center 3th annual retreat, Asheville, NC

Cite us

Yin Y*, Mao X*, Yang JC, Chen X, Mao F and Xu Y, dbCAN: a web resource for automated carbohydrate-active enzyme annotation, Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jul;40(Web Server issue):W445-51