Prediction of human mRNA donor and acceptor sites from the DNA sequence

J Mol Biol. 1991 Jul 5;220(1):49-65. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(91)90380-o.


Artificial neural networks have been applied to the prediction of splice site location in human pre-mRNA. A joint prediction scheme where prediction of transition regions between introns and exons regulates a cutoff level for splice site assignment was able to predict splice site locations with confidence levels far better than previously reported in the literature. The problem of predicting donor and acceptor sites in human genes is hampered by the presence of numerous amounts of false positives: here, the distribution of these false splice sites is examined and linked to a possible scenario for the splicing mechanism in vivo. When the presented method detects 95% of the true donor and acceptor sites, it makes less than 0.1% false donor site assignments and less than 0.4% false acceptor site assignments. For the large data set used in this study, this means that on average there are one and a half false donor sites per true donor site and six false acceptor sites per true acceptor site. With the joint assignment method, more than a fifth of the true donor sites and around one fourth of the true acceptor sites could be detected without accompaniment of any false positive predictions. Highly confident splice sites could not be isolated with a widely used weight matrix method or by separate splice site networks. A complementary relation between the confidence levels of the coding/non-coding and the separate splice site networks was observed, with many weak splice sites having sharp transitions in the coding/non-coding signal and many stronger splice sites having more ill-defined transitions between coding and non-coding.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Introns
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Probability
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • RNA, Messenger
  • DNA