Topology prediction of membrane proteins

Protein Sci. 1996 Feb;5(2):363-71. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560050221.


A new method is described for prediction of protein membrane topology (intra- and extracellular sidedness) from multiply aligned amino acid sequences after determination of the membrane-spanning segments. The prediction technique relies on residue compositional differences in the protein segments exposed at each side of the membrane. Intra/extracellular ratios are calculated for the residue types Asn, Asp, Gly, Phe, Pro, Trp, Tyr, and Val, preferably found on the extracellular side, and for Ala, Arg, Cys, and Lys, mostly occurring on the intracellular side. The consensus over these 12 residue distributions is used for sidedness prediction. The method was developed with a test set of 42 protein families, for which all but one were correctly predicted with the new algorithm. This represents an improvement over predictions based on the widely used "positive-inside rule" and other techniques, where at least six mispredictions were observed for the same data set. Further, application of this and other methods to 12 protein families not in the test set still showed the better performance of the present technique, which was subsequently applied to another set of membrane protein families where the topology has yet to be determined.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Protein Conformation*
  • Proteins / classification
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Amino Acids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteins