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Proteomics. 2019 Jun;19(12):e1900019. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201900019. Epub 2019 May 27.

DeepFunc: A Deep Learning Framework for Accurate Prediction of Protein Functions from Protein Sequences and Interactions.

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School of Computer Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, 410083, P. R. China.
Department of Computer Science, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, 23529, USA.
Department of Computer Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 23284, USA.


Annotation of protein functions plays an important role in understanding life at the molecular level. High-throughput sequencing produces massive numbers of raw proteins sequences and only about 1% of them have been manually annotated with functions. Experimental annotations of functions are expensive, time-consuming and do not keep up with the rapid growth of the sequence numbers. This motivates the development of computational approaches that predict protein functions. A novel deep learning framework, DeepFunc, is proposed which accurately predicts protein functions from protein sequence- and network-derived information. More precisely, DeepFunc uses a long and sparse binary vector to encode information concerning domains, families, and motifs collected from the InterPro tool that is associated with the input protein sequence. This vector is processed with two neural layers to obtain a low-dimensional vector which is combined with topological information extracted from protein-protein interactions (PPIs) and functional linkages. The combined information is processed by a deep neural network that predicts protein functions. DeepFunc is empirically and comparatively tested on a benchmark testing dataset and the Critical Assessment of protein Function Annotation algorithms (CAFA) 3 dataset. The experimental results demonstrate that DeepFunc outperforms current methods on the testing dataset and that it secures the highest Fmax  = 0.54 and AUC = 0.94 on the CAFA3 dataset.


deep learning; functional linkages; protein domains; protein functions; protein sequences; protein-protein interactions


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