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Open Access Open Badges Methodology article

IdentiCS – Identification of coding sequence and in silico reconstruction of the metabolic network directly from unannotated low-coverage bacterial genome sequence

Jibin Sun and An-Ping Zeng*

Author Affiliations

Department of Genome Analysis, GBF-German Research Center for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, Braunschweig, 38124, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2004, 5:112  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-5-112

Published: 16 August 2004



A necessary step for a genome level analysis of the cellular metabolism is the in silico reconstruction of the metabolic network from genome sequences. The available methods are mainly based on the annotation of genome sequences including two successive steps, the prediction of coding sequences (CDS) and their function assignment. The annotation process takes time. The available methods often encounter difficulties when dealing with unfinished error-containing genomic sequence.


In this work a fast method is proposed to use unannotated genome sequence for predicting CDSs and for an in silico reconstruction of metabolic networks. Instead of using predicted genes or CDSs to query public databases, entries from public DNA or protein databases are used as queries to search a local database of the unannotated genome sequence to predict CDSs. Functions are assigned to the predicted CDSs simultaneously. The well-annotated genome of Salmonella typhimurium LT2 is used as an example to demonstrate the applicability of the method. 97.7% of the CDSs in the original annotation are correctly identified. The use of SWISS-PROT-TrEMBL databases resulted in an identification of 98.9% of CDSs that have EC-numbers in the published annotation. Furthermore, two versions of sequences of the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae with different genome coverage (3.9 and 7.9 fold, respectively) are examined. The results suggest that a 3.9-fold coverage of the bacterial genome could be sufficiently used for the in silico reconstruction of the metabolic network. Compared to other gene finding methods such as CRITICA our method is more suitable for exploiting sequences of low genome coverage. Based on the new method, a program called IdentiCS (

fication of
equences from Unfinished Genome Sequences) is delivered that combines the identification of CDSs with the reconstruction, comparison and visualization of metabolic networks (free to download at webcite).


The reversed querying process and the program IdentiCS allow a fast and adequate prediction protein coding sequences and reconstruction of the potential metabolic network from low coverage genome sequences of bacteria. The new method can accelerate the use of genomic data for studying cellular metabolism.

low-coverage; unfinished; genome sequence; annotation; coding sequence; in silico reconstruction; visualization; comparison; metabolic network; Salmonella typhimurium; Klebsiella pneumoniae