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Harrington, E D; Singh, A H; Doerks, T; Letunic, I; von Mering, C; Jensen, L J; Raes, J; Bork, P (2007). Quantitative assessment of protein function prediction from metagenomics shotgun sequences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 104(35):13913-13918.

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To assess the potential of protein function prediction in environmental genomics data, we analyzed shotgun sequences from four diverse and complex habitats. Using homology searches as well as customized gene neighborhood methods that incorporate intergenic and evolutionary distances, we inferred specific functions for 76% of the 1.4 million predicted ORFs in these samples (83% when nonspecific functions are considered). Surprisingly, these fractions are only slightly smaller than the corresponding ones in completely sequenced genomes (83% and 86%, respectively, by using the same methodology) and considerably higher than previously thought. For as many as 75,448 ORFs (5% of the total), only neighborhood methods can assign functions, illustrated here by a previously undescribed gene associated with the well characterized heme biosynthesis operon and a potential transcription factor that might regulate a coupling between fatty acid biosynthesis and degradation. Our results further suggest that, although functions can be inferred for most proteins on earth, many functions remain to be discovered in numerous small, rare protein families.


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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 University Research Priority Programs > Systems Biology / Functional Genomics
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Deposited On:06 Jul 2010 15:34
Last Modified:27 Nov 2013 23:29
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1073/pnas.0702636104
PubMed ID:17717083

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