Prediction of peroxisomal targeting signal 1 containing proteins from amino acid sequence

J Mol Biol. 2003 May 2;328(3):581-92. doi: 10.1016/s0022-2836(03)00319-x.


Peroxisomal matrix proteins have to be imported into their target organelle post-translationally. The major translocation pathway depends on a C-terminal targeting signal, termed PTS1. Our previous analysis of sequence variability in the PTS1 motif revealed that, in addition to the known C-terminal tripeptide, at least nine residues directly upstream are important for signal recognition in the PTS1-Pex5 receptor complex. The refined PTS1 motif description was implemented in a prediction tool composed of taxon-specific functions (metazoa, fungi, remaining taxa), capable of recognising potential PTS1s in query sequences. The composite score function consists of classical profile terms and additional terms penalising deviations from the derived physical property pattern over sequence segments. The prediction algorithm has been validated with a self-consistency and three different cross-validation tests. Additionally, we tested the tool on a large set of non-peroxisomal negatives, on mutation data, and compared the prediction rate to the PTS1 component of the PSORT2 program. The sensitivity of our predictor in recognising documented PTS1 signal containing proteins is close to 90% for reliable prediction. The predictor distinguishes even SKL-appended non-peroxisomally targeted proteins such as a mouse dihydrofolate reductase-SKL construct. The corresponding rate of false positives is not worse than 0.8%; thus, the tool can be applied for large-scale unsupervised sequence database annotation. A scan of public protein databases uncovered a number of yet uncharacterised proteins for which the PTS1 signal might be critical for biological function. The predicted presence of a PTS1 signal implies peroxisomal localisation in the absence of N-terminal targeting sequences such as the mitochondrial import signal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animal Population Groups
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Databases, Protein
  • Fungi
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Molecular
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Peroxisomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Sorting Signals*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / chemistry
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / chemistry


  • PEX5 protein, human
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Pex5 protein, mouse
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase