With the explosion of protein sequences generated in the postgenomic era, it is highly desirable to develop high-throughput tools for rapidly and reliably identifying various attributes of uncharacterized proteins based on their sequence information alone. The knowledge thus obtained can help us timely utilize these newly found protein sequences for both basic research and drug discovery. Many bioinformatics tools have been developed by means of machine learning methods. This review is focused on the applications of a new kind of science (cellular automata) in protein bioinformatics. A cellular automaton (CA) is an open, flexible and discrete dynamic model that holds enormous potentials in modeling complex systems, in spite of the simplicity of the model itself. Researchers, scientists and practitioners from different fields have utilized cellular automata for visualizing protein sequences, investigating their evolution processes, and predicting their various attributes. Owing to its impressive power, intuitiveness and relative simplicity, the CA approach has great potential for use as a tool for bioinformatics.
Keywords: Protein bioinformatics, cellular automata, sequences visualization, protein attributes prediction, pseudo amino acid composition, system biology, DNA sequence model, data mining
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