Predicting function: from genes to genomes and back.
Predicting function from sequence using computational tools is a highly complicated procedure that is generally done for each gene individually. This review focuses on the added value that is provided by completely sequenced genomes in function prediction. Various levels of sequence annotation and function prediction are discussed, ranging from genomic sequence to that of complex cellular processes. Protein function is currently best described in the context of molecular interactions. In the near future it will be possible to predict protein function in the context of higher order processes such as the regulation of gene expression, metabolic pathways and signalling cascades. The analysis of such higher levels of function description uses, besides the information from completely sequenced genomes, also the additional information from proteomics and expression data. The final goal will be to elucidate the mapping between genotype and phenotype.