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Output format

Description of the scores
Examples of standard output
Examples of short output


The graphical output from SignalP (neural network) comprises three different scores, C, S and Y. Two additional scores are reported in the SignalP output, namely the S-mean and the D-score, but these are only reported as numerical values.

For each organism class in SignalP; Eukaryote, Gram-negative and Gram-positive, two different neural networks are used, one for predicting the actual signal peptide and one for predicting the position of the signal peptidase I (SPase I) cleavage site. The S-score for the signal peptide prediction is reported for every single amino acid position in the submitted sequence, with high scores indicating that the corresponding amino acid is part of a signal peptide, and low scores indicating that the amino acid is part of a mature protein.

The C-score is the ``cleavage site'' score. For each position in the submitted sequence, a C-score is reported, which should only be significantly high at the cleavage site. Confusion is often seen with the position numbering of the cleavage site. When a cleavage site position is referred to by a single number, the number indicates the first residue in the mature protein, meaning that a reported cleavage site between amino acid 26-27 corresponds to that the mature protein starts at (and include) position 27.

Y-max is a derivative of the C-score combined with the S-score resulting in a better cleavage site prediction than the raw C-score alone. This is due to the fact that multiple high-peaking C-scores can be found in one sequence, where only one is the true cleavage site. The cleavage site is assigned from the Y-score where the slope of the S-score is steep and a significant C-score is found.

The S-mean is the average of the S-score, ranging from the N-terminal amino acid to the amino acid assigned with the highest Y-max score, thus the S-mean score is calculated for the length of the predicted signal peptide. The S-mean score was in SignalP version 2.0 used as the criteria for discrimination of secretory and non-secretory proteins.

The D-score is introduced in SignalP version 3.0. In version 4.0 this score is implemented as a weighted average of the S-mean and the Y-max scores. The score shows superior discrimination performance of secretory and non-secretory proteins to that of the S-mean score which was used in SignalP version 1 and 2.

For non-secretory proteins all the scores represented in the SignalP output should ideally be very low.


By default the server produces the following output for each input sequence:

Example 1: secretory protein - default output

The example below shows the output for thioredoxin domain containing protein 4 precursor (endoplasmic reticulum protein ERp44), taken from the
Swiss-Prot entry ERP44_HUMAN. The signal peptide prediction is consistent with the database annotation.


SignalP result:

# Measure Position Value # max. C 30 0.427 # max. Y 30 0.586 # max. S 9 0.950 # mean S 1-29 0.821 # D 1-29 0.713 # ERP44_HUMAN SP= 'Yes' Cleavage site between pos. 29 and 30: VTT-EI D= 0.713 D-cutoff= 0.450 Networks= SignalP-noTM # data # gnuplot script Signal peptides: 1 # processed fasta entries # gff file of processed entries

Example 2: short output format

# SignalP-4.0 euk predictions
# name                     Cmax  pos  Ymax  pos  Smax  pos  Smean   D     ?  Dmaxcut    Networks-used
ERP44_HUMAN                0.427  30  0.586  30  0.950   9  0.821   0.713 Y  0.450      SignalP-noTM


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