Protozoan parasites cause thousands of deaths each year in developing countries. The genome projects of these parasites opened a new era in the identification of therapeutic targets. However, the putative function could be predicted for fewer than half of the protein-coding genes. In this work, all Trypanosoma cruzi proteins containing predicted transmembrane spans were processed through an automated computational routine and further analyzed in order to assign the most probable function. The analysis consisted of dissecting the whole predicted protein in different regions. More than 5,000 sequences were processed, and the predicted biological functions were grouped into 19 categories according to the hits obtained after analysis. One focus of interest, due to the scarce information available on trypanosomatids, is the proteins involved in signal-transduction processes. In the present work, we identified 54 proteins belonging to this group, which were individually analyzed. The results show that by means of a simple pipeline it was possible to attribute probable functions to sequences annotated as coding for “hypothetical proteins.” Also, we successfully identified the majority of candidates participating in the signal-transduction pathways in T. cruzi.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 22, 2012
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