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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2003 Mar;2(3):173-81. Epub 2003 Apr 7.

Genome-wide analyses of carboxyl-terminal sequences.

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Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Sequence motifs at the protein carboxyl termini in linear polypeptides are uniquely positioned and functionally capable of serving as recognition signatures for a variety of cellular and biochemical processes. At the proteome level, it is unknown whether and what carboxyl-terminal sequences might be particularly conserved, which may be directly related to specific biological functions shared among certain groups of proteins. To investigate this question, we analyzed the terminal sequences of reported yeast open reading frames, which presumably constitute the predicted, entire proteome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The results show that there are both known and novel terminal sequences. They are conserved at a frequency similar to that of functionally important, experimentally confirmed signals such as the HDEL sequence that mediates the endoplasmic reticulum retention and/or retrieval. The findings support the notion that there may be additional carboxyl-terminal signals, and the conserved motifs could be experimentally tested for currently unknown biological functions. Similar analyses were also applied to the limited proteome databases of other organisms with overall consistent findings. Therefore, indexing a proteome according to its carboxyl-terminal sequences may provide a means for functional classification and determination of proteins.

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