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Biopolymers. 2007 Feb 15;85(3):233-40.

Virus-PLoc: a fusion classifier for predicting the subcellular localization of viral proteins within host and virus-infected cells.

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Institute of Image Processing and Pattern Recognition, Shanghai Jiaotong University, 1954 Hua-Shan Road, Shanghai 200030, China.


Viruses can reproduce their progenies only within a host cell, and their actions depend both on its destructive tendencies toward a specific host cell and on environmental conditions. Therefore, knowledge of the subcellular localization of viral proteins in a host cell or virus-infected cell is very useful for in-depth studying of their functions and mechanisms as well as designing antiviral drugs. An analysis on the Swiss-Prot database (version 50.0, released on May 30, 2006) indicates that only 23.5% of viral protein entries are annotated for their subcellular locations in this regard. As for the gene ontology database, the corresponding percentage is 23.8%. Such a gap calls for the development of high throughput tools for timely annotating the localization of viral proteins within host and virus-infected cells. In this article, a predictor called "Virus-PLoc" has been developed that is featured by fusing many basic classifiers with each engineered according to the K-nearest neighbor rule. The overall jackknife success rate obtained by Virus-PLoc in identifying the subcellular compartments of viral proteins was 80% for a benchmark dataset in which none of proteins has more than 25% sequence identity to any other in a same location site. Virus-PLoc will be freely available as a web-server at for the public usage. Furthermore, Virus-PLoc has been used to provide large-scale predictions of all viral protein entries in Swiss-Prot database that do not have subcellular location annotations or are annotated as being uncertain. The results thus obtained have been deposited in a downloadable file prepared with Microsoft Excel and named "Tab_Virus-PLoc.xls." This file is available at the same website and will be updated twice a year to include the new entries of viral proteins and reflect the continuous development of Virus-PLoc.

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