Minireview: Computational prediction of type III and IV secreted effectors in gram-negative bacteria

Jason E. McDermott, Abigail Corrigan, Elena Peterson, Christopher Oehmen, George Niemann, Eric D. Cambronne, Danna Sharp, Joshua N. Adkins, Ram Samudrala, Fred Heffron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


In this review, we provide an overview of the methods employed in four recent studies that described novel methods for computational prediction of secreted effectors from type III and IV secretion systems in Gramnegative bacteria. We present the results of these studies in terms of performance at accurately predicting secreted effectors and similarities found between secretion signals that may reflect biologically relevant features for recognition. We discuss the Web-based tools for secreted effector prediction described in these studies and announce the availability of our tool, the SIEVE server ( Finally, we assess the accuracies of the three type III effector prediction methods on a small set of proteins not known prior to the development of these tools that we recently discovered and validated using both experimental and computational approaches. Our comparison shows that all methods use similar approaches and, in general, arrive at similar conclusions. We discuss the possibility of an order-dependent motif in the secretion signal, which was a point of disagreement in the studies. Our results show that there may be classes of effectors in which the signal has a loosely defined motif and others in which secretion is dependent only on compositional biases. Computational prediction of secreted effectors from protein sequences represents an important step toward better understanding the interaction between pathogens and hosts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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