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Deciphering the functional impact of genetic variation is required to understand phenotypic diversity and the molecular mechanisms of inherited disease and cancer. While millions of genetic variants are now mapped in genome sequencing projects, distinguishing functional variants remains a major challenge. Protein-coding variation can be interpreted using post-translational modification (PTM) sites that are core components of cellular signaling networks controlling molecular processes and pathways. ActiveDriverDB is an interactive proteo-genomics database that uses more than 260,000 experimentally detected PTM sites to predict the functional impact of genetic variation in disease, cancer and the human population. Using machine learning tools, we prioritize proteins and pathways with enriched PTM-specific amino acid substitutions that potentially rewire signaling networks via induced or disrupted short linear motifs of kinase binding. We then map these effects to site-specific protein interaction networks and drug targets. In the 2021 update, we increased the PTM datasets by nearly 50%, included glycosylation, sumoylation and succinylation as new types of PTMs, and updated the workflows to interpret inherited disease mutations. We added a recent phosphoproteomics dataset reflecting the cellular response to SARS-CoV-2 to predict the impact of human genetic variation on COVID-19 infection and disease course. Overall, we estimate that 16-21% of known amino acid substitutions affect PTM sites among pathogenic disease mutations, somatic mutations in cancer genomes and germline variants in the human population. These data underline the potential of interpreting genetic variation through the lens of PTMs and signaling networks. The open-source database is freely available at

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology


Frontiers Media SA

Publication Date