A unified multitask architecture for predicting local protein properties

Tool Multitask-ProteinTagging: A unified multitask architecture for predicting local protein properties




A variety of functionally important protein properties, such as secondary structure, transmembrane topology and solvent accessibility, can be encoded as a labeling of amino acids. Indeed, the prediction of such properties from the primary amino acid sequence is one of the core projects of computational biology. Accordingly, a panoply of approaches have been developed for predicting such properties; however, most such approaches focus on solving a single task at a time. Motivated by recent, successful work in natural language processing, we propose to use multitask learning to train a single, joint model that exploits the dependencies among these various labeling tasks. We describe a deep neural network architecture that, given a protein sequence, outputs a host of predicted local properties, including secondary structure, solvent accessibility, transmembrane topology, signal peptides and DNA-binding residues. The network is trained jointly on all these tasks in a supervised fashion, augmented with a novel form of semi-supervised learning in which the model is trained to distinguish between local patterns from natural and synthetic protein sequences. The task-independent architecture of the network obviates the need for task-specific feature engineering. We demonstrate that, for all of the tasks that we considered, our approach leads to statistically significant improvements in performance, relative to a single task neural network approach, and that the resulting model achieves state-of-the-art performance.



    author = {Qi, , Yanjun AND Oja, , Merja AND Weston, , Jason AND Noble, , William Stafford},
    journal = {PLoS ONE},
    publisher = {Public Library of Science},
    title = {A Unified Multitask Architecture for Predicting Local Protein Properties},
    year = {2012},
    month = {03},
    volume = {7},
    url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0032235},
    pages = {e32235},
    number = {3},
    doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0032235}

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