Background. Prophages are integrated viral forms in bacterial genomes that have been found to contribute to interstrain genetic variability. Many virulence-associated genes are reported to be prophage encoded. Present computational methods to detect prophages are either by identifying possible essential proteins such as integrases or by an extension of this technique, which involves identifying a region containing proteins similar to those occurring in prophages. These methods suffer due to the problem of low sequence similarity at the protein level, which suggests that a nucleotide based approach could be useful. Methodology. Earlier dinucleotide relative abundance (DRA), have been used to identify regions, which deviate from the neighborhood areas, in genomes. We have used the difference in the dinucleotide relative abundance (DRAD) between the bacterial and prophage DNA to aid location of DNA stretches that could be of prophage origin in bacterial genomes. Prophage sequences which deviate from bacterial regions in their dinucleotide frequencies are detected by scanning bacterial genome sequences. The method was validated using a subset of genomes with prophage data from literature reports. A web interface for prophage scan based on this method is available at http://bicmku.in:8082/prophagedb/ dra.html. Two hundred bacterial genomes which do not have annotated prophages have been scanned for prophage regions using this method. Conclusions. The relative dinucleotide distribution difference helps detect prophage regions in genome sequences, The usefulness of this method is seen in the identification of 461 highly probable loci pertaining to prophages which have not been annotated so earlier. This work emphasizes the need to extend the efforts to detect and annotate prophage elements in genome sequences. © 2007 Srividhya et al.
Srividhya, K. V., Alaguraj, V., Poornima, G., Kumar, D., Singh, G. P., Raghavenderan, L., … Krishnaswamy, S. (2007). Identification of prophages in bacterial genomes by dinucleotide relative abundance difference. PLoS ONE, 2(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001193