Large-scale prediction of long disordered regions in proteins using random forests

Pengfei Han, Xiuzhen Zhang, Raymond S. Norton, Zhi-Ping Feng

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Many proteins contain disordered regions that lack fixed three-dimensional (3D) structure under physiological conditions but have important biological functions. Prediction of disordered regions in protein sequences is important for understanding protein function and in high-throughput determination of protein structures. Machine learning techniques, including neural networks and support vector machines have been widely used in such predictions. Predictors designed for long disordered regions are usually less successful in predicting short disordered regions. Combining prediction of short and long disordered regions will dramatically increase the complexity of the prediction algorithm and make the predictor unsuitable for large-scale applications. Efficient batch prediction of long disordered regions alone is of greater interest in large-scale proteome studies. Results: A new algorithm, IUPforest-L, for predicting long disordered regions using the random forest learning model is proposed in this paper. IUPforest-L is based on the Moreau-Broto auto-correlation function of amino acid indices (AAIs) and other physicochemical features of the primary sequences. In 10-fold cross validation tests, IUPforest-L can achieve an area of 89.5% under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Compared with existing disorder predictors, IUPforest-L has high prediction accuracy and is efficient for predicting long disordered regions in large-scale proteomes. Conclusion: The random forest model based on the auto-correlation functions of the AAIs within a protein fragment and other physicochemical features could effectively detect long disordered regions in proteins. A new predictor, IUPforest-L, was developed to batch predict long disordered regions in proteins, and the server can be accessed from

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes

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