Title

HEMDAG: a family of modular and scalable hierarchical ensemble methods to improve Gene Ontology term prediction.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2021

Publication Title

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)

Keywords

JGM

JAX Source

Bioinformatics 2021 Dec; 37(23):4526-4533

Volume

37

Issue

23

First Page

4526

Last Page

4533

ISSN

1367-4811

PMID

34240108

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btab485

Abstract

MOTIVATION: Automated protein function prediction is a complex multi-class, multi-label, structured classification problem in which protein functions are organized in a controlled vocabulary, according to the Gene Ontology (GO). "Hierarchy-unaware" classifiers, also known as "flat" methods, predict GO terms without exploiting the inherent structure of the ontology, potentially violating the True-Path-Rule (TPR) that governs the GO, while "hierarchy-aware" approaches, even if they obey the TPR, do not always show clear improvements with respect to flat methods, or do not scale well when applied to the full GO.

RESULTS: To overcome these limitations, we propose Hierarchical Ensemble Methods for Directed Acyclic Graphs (HEMDAG), a family of highly modular hierarchical ensembles of classifiers, able to build upon any flat method and to provide "TPR-safe" predictions, by leveraging a combination of isotonic regression and TPR learning strategies. Extensive experiments on synthetic and real data across several organisms firstly show that HEMDAG can be used as a general tool to improve the predictions of flat classifiers, and secondly that HEMDAG is competitive versus state-of-the-art hierarchy-aware learning methods proposed in the last CAFA international challenges.

AVAILABILITY: Fully-tested R code freely available at https://anaconda.org/bioconda/r-hemdag. Tutorial and documentation at https://hemdag.readthedocs.io.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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