pLannotate: engineered plasmid annotation

Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Jul 2;49(W1):W516-W522. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab374.


Engineered plasmids are widely used in the biological sciences. Since many plasmids contain DNA sequences that have been reused and remixed by researchers for decades, annotation of their functional elements is often incomplete. Missing information about the presence, location, or precise identity of a plasmid feature can lead to unintended consequences or failed experiments. Many engineered plasmids contain sequences-such as recombinant DNA from all domains of life, wholly synthetic DNA sequences, and engineered gene expression elements-that are not predicted by microbial genome annotation pipelines. Existing plasmid annotation tools have limited feature libraries and do not detect incomplete fragments of features that are present in many plasmids for historical reasons and may impact their newly designed functions. We created the open source pLannotate web server so users can quickly and comprehensively annotate plasmid features. pLannotate is powered by large databases of genetic parts and proteins. It employs a filtering algorithm to display only the most relevant feature matches and also reports feature fragments. Finally, pLannotate displays a graphical map of the annotated plasmid, explains the provenance of each feature prediction, and allows results to be downloaded in a variety of formats. The webserver for pLannotate is accessible at:

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases / genetics
  • Bioengineering
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Internet
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation*
  • Plasmids / chemistry*
  • Software*


  • Amino Acyl-tRNA Synthetases