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Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 4;46(D1):D503-D508. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx1021.

NLSdb-major update for database of nuclear localization signals and nuclear export signals.

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Department of Informatics, I12-Chair of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Boltzmannstrasse 3, 85748 Garching/Munich, Germany.
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia.
Institute of Advanced Study (TUM-IAS), Lichtenbergstrasse 2a, 85748 Garching/Munich, Germany.
Institute for Food and Plant Sciences WZW-Weihenstephan, Alte Akademie 8, 85354 Freising, Germany.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


NLSdb is a database collecting nuclear export signals (NES) and nuclear localization signals (NLS) along with experimentally annotated nuclear and non-nuclear proteins. NES and NLS are short sequence motifs related to protein transport out of and into the nucleus. The updated NLSdb now contains 2253 NLS and introduces 398 NES. The potential sets of novel NES and NLS have been generated by a simple 'in silico mutagenesis' protocol. We started with motifs annotated by experiments. In step 1, we increased specificity such that no known non-nuclear protein matched the refined motif. In step 2, we increased the sensitivity trying to match several different families with a motif. We then iterated over steps 1 and 2. The final set of 2253 NLS motifs matched 35% of 8421 experimentally verified nuclear proteins (up from 21% for the previous version) and none of 18 278 non-nuclear proteins. We updated the web interface providing multiple options to search protein sequences for NES and NLS motifs, and to evaluate your own signal sequences. NLSdb can be accessed via Rostlab services at:

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