Transcription Factor Information System (TFIS): A Tool for Detection of Transcription Factor Binding Sites

Priyanka Narad, Abhishek Kumar, Amlan Chakraborty, Pranav Patni, Abhishek Sengupta, Gulshan Wadhwa, K. C. Upadhyaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcription factors are trans-acting proteins that interact with specific nucleotide sequences known as transcription factor binding site (TFBS), and these interactions are implicated in regulation of the gene expression. Regulation of transcriptional activation of a gene often involves multiple interactions of transcription factors with various sequence elements. Identification of these sequence elements is the first step in understanding the underlying molecular mechanism(s) that regulate the gene expression. For in silico identification of these sequence elements, we have developed an online computational tool named transcription factor information system (TFIS) for detecting TFBS for the first time using a collection of JAVA programs and is mainly based on TFBS detection using position weight matrix (PWM). The database used for obtaining position frequency matrices (PFM) is JASPAR and HOCOMOCO, which is an open-access database of transcription factor binding profiles. Pseudo-counts are used while converting PFM to PWM, and TFBS detection is carried out on the basis of percent score taken as threshold value. TFIS is equipped with advanced features such as direct sequence retrieving from NCBI database using gene identification number and accession number, detecting binding site for common TF in a batch of gene sequences, and TFBS detection after generating PWM from known raw binding sequences in addition to general detection methods. TFIS can detect the presence of potential TFBSs in both the directions at the same time. This feature increases its efficiency. And the results for this dual detection are presented in different colors specific to the orientation of the binding site. Results obtained by the TFIS are more detailed and specific to the detected TFs as integration of more informative links from various related web servers are added in the result pages like Gene Ontology, PAZAR database and Transcription Factor Encyclopedia in addition to NCBI and UniProt. Common TFs like SP1, AP1 and NF-KB of the Amyloid beta precursor gene is easily detected using TFIS along with multiple binding sites. In another scenario of embryonic developmental process, TFs of the FOX family (FOXL1 and FOXC1) were also identified. TFIS is platform-independent which is publicly available along with its support and documentation at and TFIS is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 3 (GPL-3.0).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-391
Number of pages14
JournalInterdisciplinary Sciences: Computational Life Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • PFM
  • PWM
  • TFBS
  • TFIS


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