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See detailPrionScan: an online database of predicted prion domains in complete proteomes.
Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir UL; Angulo, Alfonso; Giner, Arturo et al

in BMC genomics (2014), 15

BACKGROUND: Prions are a particular type of amyloids related to a large variety of important processes in cells, but also responsible for serious diseases in mammals and humans. The number of ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Prions are a particular type of amyloids related to a large variety of important processes in cells, but also responsible for serious diseases in mammals and humans. The number of experimentally characterized prions is still low and corresponds to a handful of examples in microorganisms and mammals. Prion aggregation is mediated by specific protein domains with a remarkable compositional bias towards glutamine/asparagine and against charged residues and prolines. These compositional features have been used to predict new prion proteins in the genomes of different organisms. Despite these efforts, there are only a few available data sources containing prion predictions at a genomic scale. DESCRIPTION: Here we present PrionScan, a new database of predicted prion-like domains in complete proteomes. We have previously developed a predictive methodology to identify and score prionogenic stretches in protein sequences. In the present work, we exploit this approach to scan all the protein sequences in public databases and compile a repository containing relevant information of proteins bearing prion-like domains. The database is updated regularly alongside UniprotKB and in its present version contains approximately 28000 predictions in proteins from different functional categories in more than 3200 organisms from all the taxonomic subdivisions. PrionScan can be used in two different ways: database query and analysis of protein sequences submitted by the users. In the first mode, simple queries allow to retrieve a detailed description of the properties of a defined protein. Queries can also be combined to generate more complex and specific searching patterns. In the second mode, users can submit and analyze their own sequences. CONCLUSIONS: It is expected that this database would provide relevant insights on prion functions and regulation from a genome-wide perspective, allowing researches performing cross-species prion biology studies. Our database might also be useful for guiding experimentalists in the identification of new candidates for further experimental characterization. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovering putative prion sequences in complete proteomes using probabilistic representations of Q/N-rich domains.
Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir UL; Ventura, Salvador; Sancho, Javier

in BMC genomics (2013), 14

BACKGROUND: Prion proteins conform a special class among amyloids due to their ability to transmit aggregative folds. Prions are known to act as infectious agents in neurodegenerative diseases in animals ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Prion proteins conform a special class among amyloids due to their ability to transmit aggregative folds. Prions are known to act as infectious agents in neurodegenerative diseases in animals, or as key elements in transcription and translation processes in yeast. It has been suggested that prions contain specific sequential domains with distinctive amino acid composition and physicochemical properties that allow them to control the switch between soluble and beta-sheet aggregated states. Those prion-forming domains are low complexity segments enriched in glutamine/asparagine and depleted in charged residues and prolines. Different predictive methods have been developed to discover novel prions by either assessing the compositional bias of these stretches or estimating the propensity of protein sequences to form amyloid aggregates. However, the available algorithms hitherto lack a thorough statistical calibration against large sequence databases, which makes them unable to accurately predict prions without retrieving a large number of false positives. RESULTS: Here we present a computational strategy to predict putative prion-forming proteins in complete proteomes using probabilistic representations of prionogenic glutamine/asparagine rich regions. After benchmarking our predictive model against large sets of non-prionic sequences, we were able to filter out known prions with high precision and accuracy, generating prediction sets with few false positives. The algorithm was used to scan all the proteomes annotated in public databases for the presence of putative prion proteins. We analyzed the presence of putative prion proteins in all taxa, from viruses and archaea to plants and higher eukaryotes, and found that most organisms encode evolutionarily unrelated proteins with susceptibility to behave as prions. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first wide-ranging study aiming to predict prion domains in complete proteomes. Approaches of this kind could be of great importance to identify potential targets for further experimental testing and to try to reach a deeper understanding of prions' functional and regulatory mechanisms. [less ▲]

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