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BMC Genomics. 2008 Oct 21;9:495. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-9-495.

Prosecutor: parameter-free inference of gene function for prokaryotes using DNA microarray data, genomic context and multiple gene annotation sources.

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  • 1Molecular Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. e.j.blom@rug.nl



Despite a plethora of functional genomic efforts, the function of many genes in sequenced genomes remains unknown. The increasing amount of microarray data for many species allows employing the guilt-by-association principle to predict function on a large scale: genes exhibiting similar expression patterns are more likely to participate in shared biological processes.


We developed Prosecutor, an application that enables researchers to rapidly infer gene function based on available gene expression data and functional annotations. Our parameter-free functional prediction method uses a sensitive algorithm to achieve a high association rate of linking genes with unknown function to annotated genes. Furthermore, Prosecutor utilizes additional biological information such as genomic context and known regulatory mechanisms that are specific for prokaryotes. We analyzed publicly available transcriptome data sets and used literature sources to validate putative functions suggested by Prosecutor. We supply the complete results of our analysis for 11 prokaryotic organisms on a dedicated website.


The Prosecutor software and supplementary datasets available at http://www.prosecutor.nl allow researchers working on any of the analyzed organisms to quickly identify the putative functions of their genes of interest. A de novo analysis allows new organisms to be studied.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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