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Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2017 Jul;2017:3890-3893. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2017.8037706.

MotifMark: Finding regulatory motifs in DNA sequences.


The interaction between proteins and DNA is a key driving force in a significant number of biological processes such as transcriptional regulation, repair, recombination, splicing, and DNA modification. The identification of DNA-binding sites and the specificity of target proteins in binding to these regions are two important steps in understanding the mechanisms of these biological activities. A number of high-throughput technologies have recently emerged that try to quantify the affinity between proteins and DNA motifs. Despite their success, these technologies have their own limitations and fall short in precise characterization of motifs, and as a result, require further downstream analysis to extract useful and interpretable information from a haystack of noisy and inaccurate data. Here we propose MotifMark, a new algorithm based on graph theory and machine learning, that can find binding sites on candidate probes and rank their specificity in regard to the underlying transcription factor. We developed a pipeline to analyze experimental data derived from compact universal protein binding microarrays and benchmarked it against two of the most accurate motif search methods. Our results indicate that MotifMark can be a viable alternative technique for prediction of motif from protein binding microarrays and possibly other related high-throughput techniques.

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