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Last pushed: 12 days ago
Short Description
Docker container for TOPCONS2 (see
Full Description


This is the standalone version of web-server
This software package is supposed to be run on Ubuntu x64 system.
It might also work on other Linux boxes but have not been tested.

If you are interested in running TOPCONS2 on other systems, please contact
Arne Elofsson (


TOPCONS2 is an updated version of the widely used TOPCONS for predicting
membrane protein topologies using consensus prediction. It is faster yet
more accurate than the old TOPCONS according to our solid benchmarking.
Moreover, it predicts not only the trans-membrane helices, but also the
location of signal peptide

The software is open source and licensed under the GPL license.


Tsirigos, K.D., Peters, C., Shu, N., Kall, L., Elofsson, A., 2015. The TOPCONS
web server for consensus prediction of membrane protein topology and signal
peptides. Nucleic Acids Res. 43, W401-W407

Installation and usage:

  1. Check out the software from the github by

     git clone
  2. Download the database for TOPCONS2 from
    and unzip it by

  3. Change to the folder 'topcons2_webserver' and create a soft link to the
    downloaded database

     ln -s /path/to/the/downloaded/database database

    You may need to update the BLAST database for uniref90 by the script with the following command:

    ./ database
  1. Install dependencies if not installed

    • Cmake (for installation of modhmm, e.g. sudo apt-get install cmake)
    • perl-Moose (e.g. sudo apt-get install perl-Moose)
    • bioperl-1.6.924 (e.g. cpan > install CJFIELDS/BioPerl-1.6.924.tar.gz )
    • biopython (e.g. sudo pip install biopython )
    • IPC (e.g. cpan > install IPC::Run)
    • kalign (e.g. sudo apt-get install kalign)
    • hmmer3.0 (note that hmmscan should be compatible with the pfam database
              otherwise, you may encounter format incompatible problem
    • Gnuplot (e.g. sudo apt-get install gnuplot)
    • Java (make sure that the command java is in the PATH,
              e.g. sudo apt-get install default-jre)
    • convert from ImageMagick (e.g. sudo apt-get install imagemagick)
    • xsltproc (e.g. sudo apt-get install xsltproc)
    • gengetopt (e.g. sudo apt-get install gengetopt)
    • awk, sort, head

      Note that the commands hmmscan, kalign, gnuplot, convert, sort, awk and
      head should be in the PATH

  2. Install modhmm

    change to the folder topcons2_webserver/predictors/source/modhmm

     bash /path/to/topcons2_webserver/predictors
  3. Test the topcons2 workflow

    change to the folder topcons2_webserver/test
    and run the following commands

     ../workflow/ one_seq.fasta rst1 ../tools/blast-2.2.26/ ../database/blast/uniref90.fasta
     ../workflow/ multiple_seqs.fasta rst2 ../tools/blast-2.2.26/ ../database/blast/uniref90.fasta

    The example results can be found in the folder rst_one_seq and
    rst_multiple_seqs for the example fasta file one_seq.fasta and
    multiple_seqs.fasta respectively.

  • Description of the output results
    If the input contains one sequence and the out_path is "one_seq"
    The tree view of all output files will be

    ├── seq_0 # if there are more than one sequence in the input
    │ │ # file, the subfolders will be named as seq_1, seq_2 ...
    │ ├── DG1.txt
    │ ├── Homology
    │ │ ├── query.fa.total_aligns
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── OCTOPUS
    │ │ ├── NN_PRF_FILES
    │ │ │ └── query.prf # Detailed network prediction for OCTOPUS
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── PolyPhobius
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── SCAMPI_MSA
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── SPOCTOPUS
    │ │ ├── NN_PRF_FILES
    │ │ │ └── query.nnprf
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── Topcons
    │ │ ├──
    │ │ ├── reliability.txt
    │ │ ├── topcons.gnu
    │ │ ├── topcons.large.png
    │ │ ├── topcons.png
    │ │ ├── # the predicted topology for TOPCONS
    │ │ ├── total_image.gnu
    │ │ ├── total_image.large.png
    │ │ └── total_image.png
    │ ├── dg.txt
    │ ├── nicetop.html
    │ ├── philius
    │ │ └──
    │ ├── query.result.txt
    │ ├── seq.fa
    │ └── time.txt


Run TOPCONS2 with Docker

  1. Download the database for TOPCONS2 from
    and unzip it by


    and saved as /data/topcons2_database

    Update the BLAST database for uniref90 by the script with the following command:

     ./ /data/topcons2_database/blast
  2. Pull the Docker image by

     docker pull nanjiang/topcons2

    or you can also build the Docker image locally by

     docker build -t topcons2 .

    within the cloned folder, i.e. TOPCONS2/

  3. Run Docker container by

     docker run -v /data/topcons2_database:/data/topcons2_database -it nanjiang/topcons2
  4. Test run

     cd /app/topcons2/test
     ../ one_seq.fasta -outpath rst1

    The result will be available at rst1/one_seq/seq_0

    If you want to run TOPCONS2 Docker from outside of the container, suppose
    you want to output the result to the folder /scratch, then start the
    container by

     docker run -e USER_ID=$(id -u $USER) -v /data/topcons2_database:/data/topcons2_database -v /scratch:/scratch -it  --name topcons2 -d nanjiang/topcons2

    copy your query sequence, e.g. one_seq.fasta to /scratch and then run
    the following command in the shell terminal

     docker exec --user user topcons2 script /dev/null -c "/app/topcons2/ /scratch/one_seq.fasta -outpath  /scratch/rst1"

    The prediction result will be output to /scratch/rst1 given successful

    Note also that the output files are owned by your current user, i.e. $USER

Run TOPCONS2 with Singularity

You can also run TOPCONS2 with Singularity

  1. Database preparation: do the same as step 1 for when running with Docker.

  2. Pull the Docker image by

     singularity pull docker://nanjiang/topcons2
  3. Suppose you have saved the database at /data/topcons2_database and you
    have a user writable folder /scratch, then you can run TOPCONS2 with the
    following command

     singularity exec  -B /data:/data -B /scratch:/scratch topcons2.img /app/topcons2/ /app/topcons2/test/one_seq.fasta -outpath /scratch/rst1

    The prediction result will be output to /scratch/rst1 given successful run.

Run only the sub-predictors OCTOPUS and SPOCTOPUS

If you only need to run OCTOPUS and SPOCTOPUS within the TOPCONS2 package, you
need to install the whole package using the procedure described above for
TOPCONS2. Then, use the script

change to the folder 'topcons2_webserver/test' and run the following commands

    ../workflow/ multiple_seqs.fasta rst1 ../tools/blast-2.2.26/ ../database/blast/uniref90.fasta

The result of predicted topologies in Fasta format can be found in
rst1/multiple_seqs.OCTOPUS.topfa and rst1/multiple_seqs.SPOCTOPUS.topfa

If you do not need the individual output files nor the ANN output, you can
run the commands with the "-remove-individual-files" flag, that is

    ../workflow/ multiple_seqs.fasta rst1 ../tools/blast-2.2.26/ ../database/blast/uniref90.fasta -remove-individual-files
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