Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

A speedup technique for (l, d)-motif finding algorithms

Sanguthevar Rajasekaran* and Hieu Dinh

Author Affiliations

Department of CSE, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:54  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-54

Published: 8 March 2011

Abstract

Background

The discovery of patterns in DNA, RNA, and protein sequences has led to the solution of many vital biological problems. For instance, the identification of patterns in nucleic acid sequences has resulted in the determination of open reading frames, identification of promoter elements of genes, identification of intron/exon splicing sites, identification of SH RNAs, location of RNA degradation signals, identification of alternative splicing sites, etc. In protein sequences, patterns have proven to be extremely helpful in domain identification, location of protease cleavage sites, identification of signal peptides, protein interactions, determination of protein degradation elements, identification of protein trafficking elements, etc. Motifs are important patterns that are helpful in finding transcriptional regulatory elements, transcription factor binding sites, functional genomics, drug design, etc. As a result, numerous papers have been written to solve the motif search problem.

Results

Three versions of the motif search problem have been proposed in the literature: Simple Motif Search (SMS), (l, d)-motif search (or Planted Motif Search (PMS)), and Edit-distance-based Motif Search (EMS). In this paper we focus on PMS. Two kinds of algorithms can be found in the literature for solving the PMS problem: exact and approximate. An exact algorithm identifies the motifs always and an approximate algorithm may fail to identify some or all of the motifs. The exact version of PMS problem has been shown to be NP-hard. Exact algorithms proposed in the literature for PMS take time that is exponential in some of the underlying parameters. In this paper we propose a generic technique that can be used to speedup PMS algorithms.

Conclusions

We present a speedup technique that can be used on any PMS algorithm. We have tested our speedup technique on a number of algorithms. These experimental results show that our speedup technique is indeed very effective. The implementation of algorithms is freely available on the web at http://www.engr.uconn.edu/rajasek/PMS4.zip webcite