Membrane transporters are a large group of proteins that span cell membranes and contribute to critical cell processes, including delivery of essential nutrients, ejection of waste products, and assisting the cell in sensing environmental conditions. Obtaining an accurate and specific annotation of the transporter proteins encoded by a micro-organism can provide details of its likely nutritional preferences and environmental niche(s), and identify novel transporters that could be utilized in small molecule production in industrial biotechnology. The Transporter Automated Annotation Pipeline (TransAAP) (http://www.membranetransport.org/transportDB2/TransAAP_login.html) is a fully automated web service for the prediction and annotation of membrane transport proteins in an organism from its genome sequence, by using comparisons with both curated databases such as the TCDB (Transporter Classification Database) and TDB, as well as selected Pfams and TIGRFAMs of transporter families and other methodologies. TransAAP was used to annotate transporter genes in the prokaryotic genomes in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) RefSeq; these are presented in the transporter database TransportDB (http://www.membranetransport.org) website, which has a suite of data visualization and analysis tools. Creation and maintenance of a bioinformatic database specific for transporters in all genomic datasets is essential for microbiology research groups and the general research/biotechnology community to obtain a detailed picture of membrane transporter systems in various environments, as well as comprehensive information on specific membrane transport proteins.

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