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Traffic. 2007 Dec;8(12):1687-94. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

A bioinformatics approach to identifying tail-anchored proteins in the human genome.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202, USA.


Intracellular proteins with a carboxy-terminal transmembrane domain and the amino-terminus oriented toward the cytosol are known as 'tail-anchored' proteins. Tail-anchored proteins have been of considerable interest because several important classes of proteins, including the vesicle-targeting/fusion proteins known as SNAREs and the apoptosis-related proteins of the Bcl-2 family, among others, utilize this unique membrane-anchoring motif. Here, we use a bioinformatic technique to develop a comprehensive list of potentially tail-anchored proteins in the human genome. Our final list contains 411 entries derived from 325 unique genes. We also analyzed both known and predicted tail-anchored proteins with respect to the amino acid composition of the transmembrane segments. This analysis revealed a distinctive composition of the membrane anchor in SNARE proteins.

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