Inclusion of neighboring base interdependencies substantially improves genome-wide prokaryotic transcription factor binding site prediction.

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Prediction of transcription factor binding sites is an important challenge in genome analysis. The advent of next generation genome sequencing technologies makes the development of effective computational approaches particularly imperative. We have developed a novel training-based methodology intended for prokaryotic transcription factor binding site prediction. Our methodology extends existing models by taking into account base interdependencies between neighbouring positions using conditional probabilities and includes genomic background weighting. This has been tested against other existing and novel methodologies including position-specific weight matrices, first-order Hidden Markov Models and joint probability models. We have also tested the use of gapped and ungapped alignments and the inclusion or exclusion of background weighting. We show that our best method enhances binding site prediction for all of the 22 Escherichia coli transcription factors with at least 20 known binding sites, with many showing substantial improvements. We highlight the advantage of using block alignments of binding sites over gapped alignments to capture neighbouring position interdependencies. We also show that combining these methods with ChIP-on-chip data has the potential to further improve binding site prediction. Finally we have developed the ungapped likelihood under positional background platform: a user friendly website that gives access to the prediction method devised in this work.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e135
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010