Azad, A., Shahid, S., Noman N., and Lee, H. (2011) Prediction of Plant Promoters Based on hexamers and Random Triplet Pair Analysis. Algorithms for Molecular Biology, 6:19 (IF: 2.80)

Prediction of Plant Promoters Based on hexamers and Random Triplet Pair Analysis

  • Author : A K M Azad, Saima Shahid, Nasimul Noman, Hyunju Lee
  • Published Date : 2011
  • Category : 
  • Place of publication : Algorithms for Molecular Biology



With an increasing number of plant genome sequences, it has become important to develop a robust computational method for detecting plant promoters. Although a wide variety of programs are currently available, prediction accuracy of these still requires further improvement. The limitations of these methods can be addressed by selecting appropriate features for distinguishing promoters and non-promoters.


In this study, we proposed two feature selection approaches based on hexamer sequences: the Frequency Distribution Analyzed Feature Selection Algorithm (FDAFSA) and the Random Triplet Pair Feature Selecting Genetic Algorithm (RTPFSGA). In FDAFSA, adjacent triplet-pairs (hexamer sequences) were selected based on the difference in the frequency of hexamers between promoters and non-promoters. In RTPFSGA, random triplet-pairs (RTPs) were selected by exploiting a genetic algorithm that distinguishes frequencies of non-adjacent triplet pairs between promoters and non-promoters. Then, a support vector machine (SVM), a nonlinear machine-learning algorithm, was used to classify promoters and non-promoters by combining these two feature selection approaches. We referred to this novel algorithm as PromoBot.


Promoter sequences were collected from the PlantProm database. Non-promoter sequences were collected from plant mRNA, rRNA, and tRNA of PlantGDB and plant miRNA of miRBase. Then, in order to validate the proposed algorithm, we applied a 5-fold cross validation test. Training data sets were used to select features based on FDAFSA and RTPFSGA, and these features were used to train the SVM. We achieved 89% sensitivity and 86% specificity.


We compared our PromoBot algorithm to five other algorithms. It was found that the sensitivity and specificity of PromoBot performed well (or even better) with the algorithms tested. These results show that the two proposed feature selection methods based on hexamer frequencies and random triplet-pair could be successfully incorporated into a supervised machine learning method in promoter classification problem. As such, we expect that PromoBot can be used to help identify new plant promoters. Source codes and analysis results of this work could be provided upon request.

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