Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Protein engineering, design & selection : PEDS

A computational mutagenesis technique was used to characterize the structural effects associated with over 46 000 single and multiple amino acid variants of Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (GFP), whose functional effects (fluorescence levels) were recently measured by experimental researchers. For each GFP mutant, the approach generated a single score reflecting the overall change in sequence-structure compatibility relative to native GFP, as well as a vector of environmental perturbation (EP) scores characterizing the impact at all GFP residue positions. A significant GFP structure-function relationship (P < 0.0001) was elucidated by comparing the sequence-structure compatibility scores with the functional data. Next, the computed vectors for GFP mutants were used to train predictive models of fluorescence by implementing random forest (RF) classification and tree regression machine learning algorithms. Classification performance reached 0.93 for sensitivity, 0.91 for precision and 0.90 for balanced accuracy, and regression models led to Pearson's correlation as high as r = 0.83 between experimental and predicted GFP mutant fluorescence. An RF model trained on a subset of over 1000 experimental single residue GFP mutants with measured fluorescence was used for predicting the 3300 remaining unstudied single residue mutants, with results complementing known GFP biochemical and biophysical properties. In addition, models trained on the subset of experimental GFP mutants harboring multiple residue replacements successfully predicted fluorescence of the single residue GFP mutants. The models developed for this study were accurate and efficient, and their predictions outperformed those of several related state-of-the-art methods.

Masso Majid


GFP, machine learning, prediction, structure–function relationships