Open Access Research article

Recognition of interferon-inducible sites, promoters, and enhancers

Elena A Ananko1*, Yury V Kondrakhin123, Tatiana I Merkulova1 and Nikolay A Kolchanov1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Cytology and Genetics SB RAS, Lavrentiev av., 10, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia

2 Institute of Systems Biology, Novosibirsk, Russia

3 Design Technological Institute of Digital Techniques SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-56

Published: 19 February 2007



Computational analysis of gene regulatory regions is important for prediction of functions of many uncharacterized genes. With this in mind, search of the target genes for interferon (IFN) induction appears of interest. IFNs are multi-functional cytokines. Their effects are immunomodulatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and antitumor. The interaction of the IFNs with their cell surface receptors produces an activation of several transcription factors. Four regulatory factors, ISGF3, STAT1, IRF1, and NF-κB, are essential for the function of the IFN system. The aim of this work is the development of computational approaches for the recognition of DNA binding sites for these factors and computer programs for the prediction of the IFN-inducible regions.


We developed computational approaches to the recognition of the binding sites for ISGF3, STAT1, IRF1, and NF-κB. Analysis of the distribution of these binding sites demonstrated that the regions -500 upstream of the transcription start site in IFN-inducible genes are enriched in putative binding sites for these transcription factors. Based on selected combinations of the sites whose frequencies were significantly higher than in the other functional gene groups, we developed methods for the prediction of the IFN-inducible promoters and enhancers. We analyzed 1004 sequences of the IFN-inducible genes compiled using microarray data analyses and also about 10,000 human gene sequences from the EPD and RefSeq databases; 74 of 1,664 human genes annotated in EPD were significantly IFN-inducible.


Analyses of several control datasets demonstrated that the developed methods have a high accuracy of prediction of the IFN-inducible genes. Application of these methods to several datasets suggested that the number of the IFN-inducible genes is approximately 1500–2000 in the human genome.