Protein contact prediction using metagenome sequence data and residual neural networks

Qi Wu, Zhenling Peng, Ivan Anishchenko, Qian Cong, David Baker, Jianyi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Motivation: Almost all protein residue contact prediction methods rely on the availability of deep multiple sequence alignments (MSAs). However, many proteins from the poorly populated families do not have sufficient number of homologs in the conventional UniProt database. Here we aim to solve this issue by exploring the rich sequence data from the metagenome sequencing projects. Results: Based on the improved MSA constructed from the metagenome sequence data, we developed MapPred, a new deep learning-based contact prediction method. MapPred consists of two component methods, DeepMSA and DeepMeta, both trained with the residual neural networks. DeepMSA was inspired by the recent method DeepCov, which was trained on 441 matrices of covariance features. By considering the symmetry of contact map, we reduced the number of matrices to 231, which makes the training more efficient in DeepMSA. Experiments show that DeepMSA outperforms DeepCov by 10-13% in precision. DeepMeta works by combining predicted contacts and other sequence profile features. Experiments on three benchmark datasets suggest that the contribution from the metagenome sequence data is significant with P-values less than 4.04E-17. MapPred is shown to be complementary and comparable the state-of-the-art methods. The success of MapPred is attributed to three factors: the deeper MSA from the metagenome sequence data, improved feature design in DeepMSA and optimized training by the residual neural networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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