Machine learning methods for using network based information in microRNA target prediction

Sualp, Merter
Computational microRNA (miRNA) target identification in animal genomes is a challenging problem due to the imperfect pairing of the miRNA with the target site. Techniques based on sequence alone are prone to produce many false positive interactions. Therefore, integrative techniques have been developed to utilize additional genomic, structural features, and evolu- tionary conservation information for reducing the high false positive rate. We propose that the context of a putative miRNA target in a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network can be used as an additional filter in a computational miRNA target prediction algorithm. We compute several graph theoretic measures on human PPI network as indicators of network context. We assess the performance of individual and combined contextual measures in increasing the precision of a popular miRNA target prediction tool, TargetScan, using low throughput and high throughput datasets of experimentally verified human miRNA targets. We used clas- sification algorithms for that assessment. Since there exists only miRNA targets as training samples, this problem becomes a One Class Classification (OCC) problem. We devised a novel OCC method, DiVo, based on simple distance metrics and voting. Comparative analysis with the state of the art methods show that, DiVo attains better classification performance. Our eventual results indicate that topological properties of target gene products in PPI networks are valuable sources of information for filtering out false positive miRNA target genes. We show that, for targets of a number of miRNAs, network context correlates better with being a target compared to a sequence based score provided by the prediction tool.
Citation Formats
M. Sualp, “Machine learning methods for using network based information in microRNA target prediction,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2013.