Why the interest in signal peptides?
The importance of signal peptides was shown in 1999 when Günter Blobel received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery that "proteins have intrinsic signals that govern their transport and localization in the cell" [Blobel, 2000]. He pointed out the importance of defined peptide motifs for targeting proteins to their site of function.
Performing a query to PubMed15.1reveals that thousands of papers have been published, regarding signal peptides, secretion and subcellular localization, including knowledge of using signal peptides as vehicles for chimeric proteins for biomedical and pharmaceutical industry. Many papers describe statistical or machine learning methods for prediction of signal peptides and prediction of subcellular localization in general. After the first published method for signal peptide prediction [von Heijne, 1986], more and more methods have surfaced, although not all methods have been made available publicly.