Background: Several eukaryotic proteins associated to the extracellular leaflet of the plasma membrane carry a Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor, which is linked to the C-terminal residue after a proteolytic cleavage occurring at the so called omega-site. Computational methods were developed to discriminate proteins that undergo this post-translational modification starting from their aminoacidic sequences. However more accurate methods are needed for a reliable annotation of whole proteomes.
Results: Here we present PredGPI, a prediction method that, by coupling a Hidden Markov Model (HMM) and a Support Vector Machine (SVM), is able to efficiently predict both the presence of the GPI-anchor and the position of the omega-site. PredGPI is trained on a non-redundant dataset of experimentally characterized GPI-anchored proteins whose annotation was carefully checked in the literature.
Conclusion: PredGPI outperforms all the other previously described methods and is able to correctly replicate the results of previously published high-throughput experiments. PredGPI reaches a lower rate of false positive predictions with respect to other available methods and it is therefore a costless, rapid and accurate method for screening whole proteomes.