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Virulent-GO: Prediction of Virulent Proteins in Bacterial Pathogens Utilizing Gene Ontology Terms

Authors: Chia-Ta Tsai, Wen-Lin Huang, Shinn-Jang Ho, Li-Sun Shu, Shinn-Ying Ho


Prediction of bacterial virulent protein sequences can give assistance to identification and characterization of novel virulence-associated factors and discover drug/vaccine targets against proteins indispensable to pathogenicity. Gene Ontology (GO) annotation which describes functions of genes and gene products as a controlled vocabulary of terms has been shown effectively for a variety of tasks such as gene expression study, GO annotation prediction, protein subcellular localization, etc. In this study, we propose a sequence-based method Virulent-GO by mining informative GO terms as features for predicting bacterial virulent proteins. Each protein in the datasets used by the existing method VirulentPred is annotated by using BLAST to obtain its homologies with known accession numbers for retrieving GO terms. After investigating various popular classifiers using the same five-fold cross-validation scheme, Virulent-GO using the single kind of GO term features with an accuracy of 82.5% is slightly better than VirulentPred with 81.8% using five kinds of sequence-based features. For the evaluation of independent test, Virulent-GO also yields better results (82.0%) than VirulentPred (80.7%). When evaluating single kind of feature with SVM, the GO term feature performs much well, compared with each of the five kinds of features.

Keywords: prediction, Bacterial virulence factors, GO terms, protein sequence

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