UniRule: A unified rule resource for automatic annotation in the UniProt knowledgebase

Alistair MacDougall, Vladimir Volynkin, Rabie Saidi, Diego Poggioli, Hermann Zellner, Emma Hatton-Ellis, Vishal Joshi, Claire O'Donovan, Sandra Orchard, Andrea H. Auchincloss, Delphine Baratin, Jerven Bolleman, Elisabeth Coudert, Edouard de Castro, Chantal Hulo, Patrick Masson, Ivo Pedruzzi, Catherine Rivoire, Cecilia Arighi, Qinghua WangChuming Chen, Hongzhan Huang, John Garavelli, C. R. Vinayaka, Lai Su Yeh, Darren A. Natale, Kati Laiho, Maria Jesus Martin, Alexandre Renaux, Klemens Pichler, Uni Prot Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Motivation: The number of protein records in the UniProt Knowledgebase (UniProtKB: https://www.uniprot.org) continues to grow rapidly as a result of genome sequencing and the prediction of protein-coding genes. Providing functional annotation for these proteins presents a significant and continuing challenge. Results: In response to this challenge, UniProt has developed a method of annotation, known as UniRule, based on expertly curated rules, which integrates related systems (RuleBase, HAMAP, PIRSR, PIRNR) developed by the members of the UniProt consortium. UniRule uses protein family signatures from InterPro, combined with taxonomic and other constraints, to select sets of reviewed proteins which have common functional properties supported by experimental evidence. This annotation is propagated to unreviewed records in UniProtKB that meet the same selection criteria, most of which do not have (and are never likely to have) experimentally verified functional annotation. Release 2020_01 of UniProtKB contains 6496 UniRule rules which provide annotation for 53 million proteins, accounting for 30% of the 178 million records in UniProtKB. UniRule provides scalable enrichment of annotation in UniProtKB. Availability and implementation: UniRule rules are integrated into UniProtKB and can be viewed at https://www.uniprot.org/unirule/. UniRule rules and the code required to run the rules, are publicly available for researchers who wish to annotate their own sequences. The implementation used to run the rules is known as UniFIRE and is available at https://gitlab.ebi.ac.uk/uniprot-public/unifire.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4643-4648
Number of pages6
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.


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