The Protein Naming Utility: a rules database for protein nomenclature

Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Jan;38(Database issue):D336-9. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp958. Epub 2009 Dec 8.


Generation of syntactically correct and unambiguous names for proteins is a challenging, yet vital task for functional annotation processes. Proteins are often named based on homology to known proteins, many of which have problematic names. To address the need to generate high-quality protein names, and capture our significant experience correcting protein names manually, we have developed the Protein Naming Utility (PNU, The PNU is a web-based database for storing and applying naming rules to identify and correct syntactically incorrect protein names, or to replace synonyms with their preferred name. The PNU allows users to generate and manage collections of naming rules, optionally building upon the growing body of rules generated at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Since communities often enforce disparate conventions for naming proteins, the PNU supports grouping rules into user-managed collections. Users can check their protein names against a selected PNU rule collection, generating both statistics and corrected names. The PNU can also be used to correct GenBank table files prior to submission to GenBank. Currently, the database features 3080 manual rules that have been entered by JCVI Bioinformatics Analysts as well as 7458 automatically imported names.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Automation
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computational Biology / trends
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Databases, Protein*
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Internet
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Software
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Proteins