Background: Frameshift is one of the three classes of recoding. Frame-shifts lead to waste of energy, resources and activity of the biosynthetic machinery. In addition, some peptides synthesized after frame-shifts are probably cytotoxic which serve as plausible cause for innumerable number of diseases and disorders such as muscular dystrophies, lysosomal storage disorders, and cancer. Hidden stop codons occur naturally in coding sequences among all organisms. These codons are associated with the early termination of translation for incorrect reading frame selection and help to reduce the metabolic cost related to the frameshift events. Researchers have identified several consequences of hidden stop codons and their association with myriad disorders. However the wealth of information available is speckled and not effortlessly acquiescent to data-mining. To reduce this gap, this work describes an algorithmic web based tool to study hidden stops in frameshifted translation for all the lineages through respective genetic code systems.
Findings: This paper describes SHIFT, an algorithmic web application tool that provides a user-friendly interface for identifying and analyzing hidden stops in frameshifted translation of genomic sequences for all available genetic code systems. We have calculated the correlation between codon usage frequencies and the plausible contribution of codons towards hidden stops in an off-frame context. Markovian chains of various order have been used to model hidden stops in frameshifted peptides and their evolutionary association with naturally occurring hidden stops. In order to obtain reliable and persuasive estimates for the naturally occurring and predicted hidden stops statistical measures have been implemented.
Conclusions: This paper presented SHIFT, an algorithmic tool that allows user-friendly exploration, analysis, and visualization of hidden stop codons in frameshifted translations. It is expected that this web based tool would serve as a useful complement for analyzing hidden stop codons in all available genetic code systems. SHIFT is freely available for academic and research purpose at http://www.nuccore.org/shift/.