The ecological niche occupied by a fungal species, its pathogenicity and its usefulness as a microbial cell factory to a large degree depends on its secretome. Protein secretion usually requires the presence of a N- terminal signal peptide (SP) and by scanning for this feature using available highly accurate SP-prediction tools, the fraction of potentially secreted proteins can be directly predicted.
However, prediction of a SP does not guarantee that the protein is actually secreted and current in silico prediction methods suffer from gene-model errors introduced during genome annotation.We were able to improve the in silico inventory of A. niger secretory proteins by combining different gene-model predictions from neighbouring Aspergilli and thereby avoiding prediction conflicts associated with inaccurate gene-models. The expected accuracy of signal peptide prediction for proteins that lack homologous sequences in the proteomes of related species is 85%. An experimental validation of the predicted proteome confirmed in silico predictions.