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IEEE/ACM Trans Comput Biol Bioinform. 2019 Feb 5. doi: 10.1109/TCBB.2019.2897679. [Epub ahead of print]

A deep learning framework for identifying essential proteins by integrating multiple types of biological information.


Computational methods including centrality and machine learning-based methods have been proposed to identify essential proteins for understanding the minimum requirements of the survival and evolution of a cell. In centrality methods, researchers are required to design a score function which is based on prior knowledge, yet is usually not sufficient to capture the complexity of biological information. In machine learning-based methods, some selected biological features cannot represent the complete properties of biological information as they lack a computational framework to automatically select features. To tackle these problems, we propose a deep learning framework to automatically learn biological features without prior knowledge. We use node2vec technique to automatically learn a richer representation of protein-protein interaction (PPI) network topologies than a score function. Bidirectional long short term memory cells are applied to capture non-local relationships in gene expression data. For subcellular localization information, we exploit a high dimensional indicator vector to characterize their feature. To evaluate the performance of our method, we tested it on PPI network of S. cerevisiae. Our experimental results demonstrate that the performance of our method is better than traditional centrality methods and is superior to existing machine learning-based methods. To explore which of the three types of biological information is the most vital element, we conduct an ablation study by removing each component in turn. Our results show that the PPI network embedding contributes most to the improvement. In addition, gene expression profiles and subcellular localization information are also helpful to improve the performance in identification of essential proteins.


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