Statistical geometry based prediction of nonsynonymous SNP functional effects using random forest and neuro-fuzzy classifiers

Maxim Barenboim, Majid Masso, Iosif I Vaisman, D Curtis Jamison
Proteins 2008, 71 (4): 1930-9
There is substantial interest in methods designed to predict the effect of nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) on protein function, given their potential relationship to heritable diseases. Current state-of-the-art supervised machine learning algorithms, such as random forest (RF), train models that classify single amino acid mutations in proteins as either neutral or deleterious to function. However, it is frequently the case that the functional effect of a polymorphism on a protein resides between these two extremes. The utilization of classifiers that incorporate fuzzy logic provides a natural extension in order to account for the spectrum of possible functional consequences. We generated a dataset of single amino acid substitutions in human proteins having known three-dimensional structures. Each variant was uniquely represented as a feature vector that included computational geometry and knowledge-based statistical potential predictors obtained though application of Delaunay tessellation of protein structures. Additional attributes consisted of physicochemical properties of the native and replacement amino acids as well as topological location of the mutated residue position in the solved structure. Classification performance of the RF algorithm was evaluated on a training set consisting of the disease-associated and neutral nsSNPs taken from our dataset, and attributes were ranked according to their relative importance. Similarly, we evaluated the performance of adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). The utility of statistical geometry predictors was compared with that of traditional structural and evolutionary attributes employed by other researchers, revealing an equally effective yet complementary methodology. Among all attributes in our feature set, the statistical geometry predictors were found to be the most highly ranked. On the basis of the AUC (area under the ROC curve) measure of performance, the ANFIS and RF models were equally effective when only statistical geometry features were utilized. Tenfold cross-validation studies evaluating AUC, balanced error rate (BER), and Matthew's correlation coefficient (MCC) showed that our RF model was at least comparable with the well-established methods of SIFT and PolyPhen. The trained RF and ANFIS models were each subsequently used to predict the disease potential of human nsSNPs in our dataset that are currently unclassified (

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