Inference of gene function based on gene fusion events: The rosetta-stone method

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

18 Citations (Scopus)


The method described in this chapter can be used to infer putative functional links between two proteins. The basic idea is based on the principle of "guilt by association." It is assumed that two proteins, which are found to be transcribed by a single transcript in one (or several) genomes are likely to be functionally linked, for example by acting in a same metabolic pathway or by forming a multiprotein complex. This method is of particular interest for studying genes that exhibit no, or only remote, homologies with already well-characterized proteins. Combined with other non-homology based methods, gene fusion events may yield valuable information for hypothesis building on protein function, and may guide experimental characterization of the target protein, for example by suggesting potential ligands or binding partners. This chapter uses the FusionDB database ( FusionDB/) as source of information. FusionDB provides a characterization of a large number of gene fusion events at hand of multiple sequence alignments. Orthologous genes are included to yield a comprehensive view of the structure of a gene fusion event. Phylogenetic tree reconstruction is provided to evaluate the history of a gene fusion event, and three-dimensional protein structure information is used, where available, to further characterize the nature of the gene fusion. For genes that are not comprised in FusionDB, some instructions are given as how to generate a similar type of information, based solely on publicly available web tools that are listed here.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparative Genomics
EditorsBergman H. Nicholas
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745



  • Functional networks
  • Gene fusion
  • Metabolic pathways
  • Nonhomology-based function prediction
  • Protein complexes
  • Protein-protein interaction
  • Rosetta stone method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Suhre, K. (2007). Inference of gene function based on gene fusion events: The rosetta-stone method. In B. H. Nicholas (Ed.), Comparative Genomics (pp. 31-41). (Methods in Molecular Biology; Vol. 396).