Background: The functions of proteins are strongly related to their localization in cell compartments (for example the cytoplasm or membranes) but the experimental determination of the sub-cellular localization of proteomes is laborious and expensive. A fast and low-cost alternative approach is in silico prediction, based on features of the protein primary sequences. However, biologists are confronted with a very large number of computational tools that use different methods that address various localization features with diverse specificities and sensitivities. As a result, exploiting these computer resources to predict protein localization accurately involves querying all tools and comparing every prediction output; this is a painstaking task. Therefore, we developed a comprehensive database, called CoBaltDB, that gathers all prediction outputs concerning complete prokaryotic proteomes.
Description: The current version of CoBaltDB integrates the results of 43 localization predictors for 784 complete bacterial and archaeal proteomes (2.548.292 proteins in total). CoBaltDB supplies a simple user-friendly interface for retrieving and exploring relevant information about predicted features (such as signal peptide cleavage sites and transmembrane segments). Data are organized into three work-sets ("specialized tools", "meta-tools" and "additional tools"). The database can be queried using the organism name, a locus tag or a list of locus tags and may be browsed using numerous graphical and text displays.
Conclusions: With its new functionalities, CoBaltDB is a novel powerful platform that provides easy access to the results of multiple localization tools and support for predicting prokaryotic protein localizations with higher confidence than previously possible. CoBaltDB is available at http://www.umr6026.univ-rennes1.fr/english/home/research/basic/software/cobalten.