Prediction of Signal Peptides in Archaea with Hidden Markov Models

Computational prediction of signal peptides (SPs) and their cleavage sites is of great importance in computational biology; however, currently there is no available method capable of predicting reliably the SPs of archaea, due to the limited amount of experimentally verified proteins with SPs.

We performed an extensive literature search in order to identify archaeal proteins having experimentally verified SP and managed to find 69 such proteins, the largest number ever reported. A detailed analysis of these sequences revealed some unique features of the SPs of archaea, such as the unique amino acid composition of the hydrophobic region with a higher than expected occurrence of isoleucine, and a cleavage site resembling more the sequences of gram-positives with almost equal amounts of alanine and valine at the position-3 before the cleavage site and a dominant alanine at position-1, followed in abundance by serine and glycine.

Using these proteins as a training set, we trained a hidden Markov model method that predicts the presence of the SPs and their cleavage sites and also discriminates such proteins from cytoplasmic and transmembrane ones.

For publication of results, please cite:
Bagos PG, Tsirigos KD, Plessas SK, Liakopoulos TD and Hamodrakas SJ.
Prediction of signal peptides in archaea.
Protein Eng Des Sel., 2009 Jan;22(1):27-35

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athina University of Athens
Faculty of Biology
Dept. of Cell Biology and Biophysics
& Bioinformatics