4 years ago

Sequence-based information-theoretic features for gene essentiality prediction

Sequence-based information-theoretic features for gene essentiality prediction
Werner Henkel, Dawit Nigatu, Malik Yousef, Patrick Sobetzko
Identification of essential genes is not only useful for our understanding of the minimal gene set required for cellular life but also aids the identification of novel drug targets in pathogens. In this work, we present a simple and effective gene essentiality prediction method using information-theoretic features that are derived exclusively from the gene sequences. We developed a Random Forest classifier and performed an extensive model performance evaluation among and within 15 selected bacteria. In intra-organism predictions, where training and testing sets are taken from the same organism, AUC (Area Under the Curve) scores ranging from 0.73 to 0.90, 0.84 on average, were obtained. Cross-organism predictions using 5-fold cross-validation, pairwise, leave-one-species-out, leave-one-taxon-out, and cross-taxon yielded average AUC scores of 0.88, 0.75, 0.80, 0.82, and 0.78, respectively. To further show the applicability of our method in other domains of life, we predicted the essential genes of the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and obtained a similar accuracy (AUC 0.84). The proposed method enables a simple and reliable identification of essential genes without searching in databases for orthologs and demanding further experimental data such as network topology and gene-expression.
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