• Computational methods for genome screening
  • Montanucci, Ludovica <1978>


  • FIS/07 Fisica applicata (a beni culturali, ambientali, biologia e medicina)


  • Motivation An actual issue of great interest, both under a theoretical and an applicative perspective, is the analysis of biological sequences for disclosing the information that they encode. The development of new technologies for genome sequencing in the last years, opened new fundamental problems since huge amounts of biological data still deserve an interpretation. Indeed, the sequencing is only the first step of the genome annotation process that consists in the assignment of biological information to each sequence. Hence given the large amount of available data, in silico methods became useful and necessary in order to extract relevant information from sequences. The availability of data from Genome Projects gave rise to new strategies for tackling the basic problems of computational biology such as the determination of the tridimensional structures of proteins, their biological function and their reciprocal interactions. Results The aim of this work has been the implementation of predictive methods that allow the extraction of information on the properties of genomes and proteins starting from the nucleotide and aminoacidic sequences, by taking advantage of the information provided by the comparison of the genome sequences from different species. In the first part of the work a comprehensive large scale genome comparison of 599 organisms is described. 2,6 million of sequences coming from 551 prokaryotic and 48 eukaryotic genomes were aligned and clustered on the basis of their sequence identity. This procedure led to the identification of classes of proteins that are peculiar to the different groups of organisms. Moreover the adopted similarity threshold produced clusters that are homogeneous on the structural point of view and that can be used for structural annotation of uncharacterized sequences. The second part of the work focuses on the characterization of thermostable proteins and on the development of tools able to predict the thermostability of a protein starting from its sequence. By means of Principal Component Analysis the codon composition of a non redundant database comprising 116 prokaryotic genomes has been analyzed and it has been showed that a cross genomic approach can allow the extraction of common determinants of thermostability at the genome level, leading to an overall accuracy in discriminating thermophilic coding sequences equal to 95%. This result outperform those obtained in previous studies. Moreover, we investigated the effect of multiple mutations on protein thermostability. This issue is of great importance in the field of protein engineering, since thermostable proteins are generally more suitable than their mesostable counterparts in technological applications. A Support Vector Machine based method has been trained to predict if a set of mutations can enhance the thermostability of a given protein sequence. The developed predictor achieves 88% accuracy.


  • 2008-06-12


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Montanucci, Ludovica (2008) Computational methods for genome screening, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Fisica , 20 Ciclo.