LiGIoNs: A computational method for the detection and classification of ligand-gated ion channels

Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2022 Sep 1;1864(9):183956. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2022.183956. Epub 2022 May 14.


Ligand-Gated Ion Channels (LGICs) is one of the largest groups of transmembrane proteins. Due to their major role in synaptic transmission, both in the nervous system and the somatic neuromuscular junction, LGICs present attractive therapeutic targets. During the last few years, several computational methods for the detection of LGICs have been developed. These methods are based on machine learning approaches utilizing features extracted solely from the amino acid composition. Here we report the development of LiGIoNs, a profile Hidden Markov Model (pHMM) method for the prediction and ligand-based classification of LGICs. The method consists of a library of 10 pHMMs, one per LGIC subfamily, built from the alignment of representative LGIC sequences. In addition, 14 Pfam pHMMs are used to further annotate and classify unknown protein sequences into one of the 10 LGIC subfamilies. Evaluation of the method showed that it outperforms existing methods in the detection of LGICs. On top of that, LiGIoNs is the only currently available method that classifies LGICs into subfamilies. The method is available online at

Keywords: Ligand-gated ion channels; Membrane; Prediction; Profile hidden Markov models.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Ligand-Gated Ion Channels*
  • Ligands


  • Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
  • Ligands