PROMPT: A protein mapping and comparison tool

Thorsten Schmidt, Dmitrij Frishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Comparison of large protein datasets has become a standard task in bioinformatics. Typically researchers wish to know whether one group of proteins is significantly enriched in certain annotation attributes or sequence properties compared to another group, and whether this enrichment is statistically significant. In order to conduct such comparisons it is often required to integrate molecular sequence data and experimental information from disparate incompatible sources. While many specialized programs exist for comparisons of this kind in individual problem domains, such as expression data analysis, no generic software solution capable of addressing a wide spectrum of routine tasks in comparative proteomics is currently available. Results: PROMPT is a comprehensive bioinformatics software environment which enables the user to compare arbitrary protein sequence sets, revealing statistically significant differences in their annotation features. It allows automatic retrieval and integration of data from a multitude of molecular biological databases as well as from a custom XML format. Similarity-based mapping of sequence IDs makes it possible to link experimental information obtained from different sources despite discrepancies in gene identifiers and minor sequence variation. PROMPT provides a full set of statistical procedures to address the following four use cases: i) comparison of the frequencies of categorical annotations between two sets, ii) enrichment of nominal features in one set with respect to another one, iii) comparison of numeric distributions, and iv) correlation of numeric variables. Analysis results can be visualized in the form of plots and spreadsheets and exported in various formats, including Microsoft Excel. Conclusion: PROMPT is a versatile, platform-independent, easily expandable, stand-alone application designed to be a practical workhorse in analysing and mining protein sequences and associated annotation. The availability of the Java Application Programming Interface and scripting capabilities on one hand, and the intuitive Graphical User Interface with context-sensitive help system on the other, make it equally accessible to professional bioinformaticians and biologically oriented users. PROMPT is freely available for academic users from

Original languageEnglish
Article number331
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


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