Analyses of domains and domain fusions in human proto-oncogenes
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Abstract Background Understanding the constituent domains of oncogenes, their origins and their fusions may shed new light about the initiation and the development of cancers. Results We have developed a computational pipeline for identification of functional domains of human genes, prediction of the origins of these domains and their major fusion events during evolution through integration of existing and new tools of our own. An application of the pipeline to 124 well-characterized human oncogenes has led to the identification of a collection of domains and domain pairs that occur substantially more frequently in oncogenes than in human genes on average. Most of these enriched domains and domain pairs are related to tyrosine kinase activities. In addition, our analyses indicate that a substantial portion of the domain-fusion events of oncogenes took place in metazoans during evolution. Conclusion We expect that the computational pipeline for domain identification, domain origin and domain fusion prediction will prove to be useful for studying other groups of genes.