ASAP: a machine learning framework for local protein properties

Nadav Brandes, Dan Ofer, Michal Linial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Determining residue-level protein properties, such as sites of post-translational modifications (PTMs), is vital to understanding protein function. Experimental methods are costly and time-consuming, while traditional rule-based computational methods fail to annotate sites lacking substantial similarity. Machine Learning (ML) methods are becoming fundamental in annotating unknown proteins and their heterogeneous properties. We present ASAP (Amino-acid Sequence Annotation Prediction), a universal ML framework for predicting residue-level properties. ASAP extracts numerous features from raw sequences, and supports easy integration of external features such as secondary structure, solvent accessibility, intrinsically disorder or PSSM profiles. Features are then used to train ML classifiers. ASAP can create new classifiers within minutes for a variety of tasks, including PTM prediction (e.g. cleavage sites by convertase, phosphoserine modification). We present a detailed case study for ASAP: CleavePred, an ASAP-based model to predict protein precursor cleavage sites, with state-of-the-art results. Protein cleavage is a PTM shared by a wide variety of proteins sharing minimal sequence similarity. Current rule-based methods suffer from high false positive rates, making them suboptimal. The high performance of CleavePred makes it suitable for analyzing new proteomes at a genomic scale. The tool is attractive to protein design, mass spectrometry search engines and the discovery of new bioactive peptides from precursors. ASAP functions as a baseline approach for residue-level protein sequence prediction. CleavePred is freely accessible as a web-based application. Both ASAP and CleavePred are open-source with a flexible Python API.Database URL: ASAP's and CleavePred source code, webtool and tutorials are available at:;

Original languageAmerican English
JournalDatabase : the journal of biological databases and curation
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.


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