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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

An improved sequence based prediction protocol for DNA-binding proteins using SVM and comprehensive feature analysis

Chuanxin Zou, Jiayu Gong and Honglin Li*

Author Affiliations

Shanghai Key Laboratory of New Drug Design, State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, School of Pharmacy, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, 200237, China

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BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14:90  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-90

Published: 9 March 2013

Abstract

Background

DNA-binding proteins (DNA-BPs) play a pivotal role in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic proteomes. There have been several computational methods proposed in the literature to deal with the DNA-BPs, many informative features and properties were used and proved to have significant impact on this problem. However the ultimate goal of Bioinformatics is to be able to predict the DNA-BPs directly from primary sequence.

Results

In this work, the focus is how to transform these informative features into uniform numeric representation appropriately and improve the prediction accuracy of our SVM-based classifier for DNA-BPs. A systematic representation of some selected features known to perform well is investigated here. Firstly, four kinds of protein properties are obtained and used to describe the protein sequence. Secondly, three different feature transformation methods (OCTD, AC and SAA) are adopted to obtain numeric feature vectors from three main levels: Global, Nonlocal and Local of protein sequence and their performances are exhaustively investigated. At last, the mRMR-IFS feature selection method and ensemble learning approach are utilized to determine the best prediction model. Besides, the optimal features selected by mRMR-IFS are illustrated based on the observed results which may provide useful insights for revealing the mechanisms of protein-DNA interactions. For five-fold cross-validation over the DNAdset and DNAaset, we obtained an overall accuracy of 0.940 and 0.811, MCC of 0.881 and 0.614 respectively.

Conclusions

The good results suggest that it can efficiently develop an entirely sequence-based protocol that transforms and integrates informative features from different scales used by SVM to predict DNA-BPs accurately. Moreover, a novel systematic framework for sequence descriptor-based protein function prediction is proposed here.