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Cell Mol Biol Lett. 2005;10(1):73-89.

A support vector machine approach to the identification of phosphorylation sites.

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BioInfoBank Institute, Limanowskiego 24A/16, 60-744 Poznań, Poland.


We describe a bioinformatics tool that can be used to predict the position of phosphorylation sites in proteins based only on sequence information. The method uses the support vector machine (SVM) statistical learning theory. The statistical models for phosphorylation by various types of kinases are built using a dataset of short (9-amino acid long) sequence fragments. The sequence segments are dissected around post-translationally modified sites of proteins that are on the current release of the Swiss-Prot database, and that were experimentally confirmed to be phosphorylated by any kinase. We represent them as vectors in a multidimensional abstract space of short sequence fragments. The prediction method is as follows. First, a given query protein sequence is dissected into overlapping short segments. All the fragments are then projected into the multidimensional space of sequence fragments via a collection of different representations. Those points are classified with pre-built statistical models (the SVM method with linear, polynomial and radial kernel functions) either as phosphorylated or inactive ones. The resulting list of plausible sites for phosphorylation by various types of kinases in the query protein is returned to the user. The efficiency of the method for each type of phosphorylation is estimated using leave-one-out tests and presented here. The sensitivities of the models can reach over 70%, depending on the type of kinase. The additional information from profile representations of short sequence fragments helps in gaining a higher degree of accuracy in some phosphorylation types. The further development of an automatic phosphorylation site annotation predictor based on our algorithm should yield a significant improvement when using statistical algorithms in order to quantify the results.

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