It is now easier to discover thousands of protein sequences in a new microbial genome than it is to biochemically characterize the specific activity of a single protein of unknown function. The molecular functions of protein sequences have typically been predicted using homology-based computational methods, which rely on the principle that homologous proteins share a similar function. However, some protein families include groups of proteins with different molecular functions. A phylogenetic approach for predicting molecular function (sometimes called "phylogenomics") is an effective means to predict protein molecular function. These methods incorporate functional evidence from all members of a family that have functional characterizations using the evolutionary history of the protein family to make robust predictions for the uncharacterized proteins. However, they are often difficult to apply on a genome-wide scale because of the time-consuming step of reconstructing the phylogenies of each protein to be annotated. Our automated approach for function annotation using phylogeny, the SIFTER (Statistical Inference of Function Through Evolutionary Relationships) methodology, uses a statistical graphical model to compute the probabilities of molecular functions for unannotated proteins. Our benchmark tests showed that SIFTER provides accurate functional predictions on various protein families, outperforming other available methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy