Deep learning for HGT insertion sites recognition

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number893
Journal / PublicationBMC Genomics
Issue numberSupplement 11
Online published29 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


TitleInternational Conference on Intelligent Biology and Medicine (ICIBM 2020)
Period9 - 11 August 2020



Background: Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) refers to the sharing of genetic materials between distant species that are not in a parent-offspring relationship. The HGT insertion sites are important to understand the HGT mechanisms. Recent studies in main agents of HGT, such as transposon and plasmid, demonstrate that insertion sites usually hold specific sequence features. This motivates us to find a method to infer HGT insertion sites according to sequence features. 

Results: In this paper, we propose a deep residual network, DeepHGT, to recognize HGT insertion sites. To train DeepHGT, we extracted about 1.55 million sequence segments as training instances from 262 metagenomic samples, where the ratio between positive instances and negative instances is about 1:1. These segments are randomly partitioned into three subsets: 80% of them as the training set, 10% as the validation set, and the remaining 10% as the test set. The training loss of DeepHGT is 0.4163 and the validation loss is 0.423. On the test set, DeepHGT has achieved the area under curve (AUC) value of 0.8782. Furthermore, in order to further evaluate the generalization of DeepHGT, we constructed an independent test set containing 689,312 sequence segments from another 147 gut metagenomic samples. DeepHGT has achieved the AUC value of 0.8428, which approaches the previous test AUC value. As a comparison, the gradient boosting classifier model implemented in PyFeat achieve an AUC value of 0.694 and 0.686 on the above two test sets, respectively. Furthermore, DeepHGT could learn discriminant sequence features; for example, DeepHGT has learned a sequence pattern of palindromic subsequences as a significantly (P-value=0.0182) local feature. Hence, DeepHGT is a reliable model to recognize the HGT insertion site. 

Conclusion: DeepHGT is the first deep learning model that can accurately recognize HGT insertion sites on genomes according to the sequence pattern.

Research Area(s)

  • Deep residual model, DNA sequence feature, HGT insertion site

Citation Format(s)

Deep learning for HGT insertion sites recognition. / Li, Chen; Chen, Jiaxing; Li, Shuai Cheng.
In: BMC Genomics, Vol. 21, No. Supplement 11, 893, 2020.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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