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Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Jul 1;31(13):3608-12.

PatSearch: A program for the detection of patterns and structural motifs in nucleotide sequences.

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  • 1Sezione di Bioinformatica e Genomica di Bari, Istituto Tecnologie Biomediche CNR, via Amendola 168/5, 70125 Bari, Italy.


Regulation of gene expression at transcriptional and post-transcriptional level involves the interaction between short DNA or RNA tracts and the corresponding trans-acting protein factors. Detection of such cis-acting elements in genome-wide screenings may significantly contribute to genome annotation and comparative analysis as well as to target functional characterization experiments. We present here PatSearch, a flexible and fast pattern matcher able to search for specific combinations of oligonucleotide consensus sequences, secondary structure elements and position-weight matrices. It can also allow for mismatches/mispairings below a user fixed threshold. We report three different applications of the program in the search of complex patterns such as those of the iron responsive element hairpin-loop structure, the p53 responsive element and a promoter module containing CAAT-, TATA- and cap-boxes. PatSearch is available on the web at

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