Protein localization analysis of essential genes in prokaryotes

Sci Rep. 2014 Aug 8;4:6001. doi: 10.1038/srep06001.


Essential genes, those critical for the survival of an organism under certain conditions, play a significant role in pharmaceutics and synthetic biology. Knowledge of protein localization is invaluable for understanding their function as well as the interaction of different proteins. However, systematical examination of essential genes from the aspect of the localizations of proteins they encode has not been explored before. Here, a comprehensive protein localization analysis of essential genes in 27 prokaryotes including 24 bacteria, 2 mycoplasmas and 1 archaeon has been performed. Both statistical analysis of localization information in these genomes and GO (Gene Ontology) terms enriched in the essential genes show that proteins encoded by essential genes are enriched in internal location sites, while exist in cell envelope with a lower proportion compared with non-essential ones. Meanwhile, there are few essential proteins in the external subcellular location sites such as flagellum and fimbrium, and proteins encoded by non-essential genes tend to have diverse localizations. These results would provide further insights into the understanding of fundamental functions needed to support a cellular life and improve gene essentiality prediction by taking the protein localization and enriched GO terms into consideration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / classification
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Computational Biology
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Genes, Essential
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Methanococcus / classification
  • Methanococcus / genetics
  • Mycoplasma / classification
  • Mycoplasma / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Software


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins