Cancer remains one of the major causes of death worldwide. Angiogenesis is crucial for the pathogenesis of various human diseases, especially solid tumors. The discovery of anti-angiogenic peptides is a promising therapeutic route for cancer treatment. Thus, reliably identifying anti-angiogenic peptides is extremely important for understanding their biophysical and biochemical properties that serve as the basis for the discovery of new anti-cancer drugs. This study aims to develop an efficient and interpretable computational model called TargetAntiAngio for predicting and characterizing anti-angiogenic peptides. TargetAntiAngio was developed using the random forest classifier in conjunction with various classes of peptide features. It was observed via an independent validation test that TargetAntiAngio can identify anti-angiogenic peptides with an average accuracy of 77.50% on an objective benchmark dataset. Comparisons demonstrated that TargetAntiAngio is superior to other existing methods. In addition, results revealed the following important characteristics of anti-angiogenic peptides: (i) disulfide bond forming Cys residues play an important role for inhibiting blood vessel proliferation; (ii) Cys located at the C-terminal domain can decrease endothelial formatting activity and suppress tumor growth; and (iii) Cyclic disulfide-rich peptides contribute to the inhibition of angiogenesis and cell migration, selectivity and stability. Finally, for the convenience of experimental scientists, the TargetAntiAngio web server was established and made freely available online.
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