Extracting Coevolutionary Features from Protein Sequences for Predicting Protein-Protein Interactions

Lun Hu, Chun Chung Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Knowing the ways proteins interact with each other are crucial to our understanding of the functional mechanisms of proteins. It is for this reason that different approaches have been developed in attempts to predict protein-protein interactions (PPIs) computationally. Among them, the sequence-based approaches are preferred to the others as they do not require any information about protein properties to perform their tasks. Instead, most sequence-based approaches make use of feature extraction methods to extract features directly from protein sequences so that for each protein sequence, we can construct a feature vector. The feature vectors of every pair of proteins are then concatenated to form two classes of interacting and non-interacting proteins. The prediction of whether or not two proteins interact with each other is then formulated as a classification problem. How accurate PPI predictions can be made therefore depends on how good the features are that can be extracted from the protein sequences to allow interacting or non-interacting to be best distinguished. To do so, instead of extracting such features from individual protein sequences independently of the other protein in the same pair, we propose to jointly consider features from both sequences in a protein pair during the feature extraction process through using a novel coevolutionary feature extraction approach called CoFex. Coevolutionary features extracted by CoFex refer to the covariations found at coevolving positions. Based on the presence and absence of these coevolutionary features in the sequences of two proteins, feature vectors can be composed for pairs of proteins rather than individual proteins. The experiment results show that CoFex is a promising feature extraction approach and can improve the performance of PPI prediction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7390043
Pages (from-to)155-166
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Coevolutionary information
  • covariations
  • protein-protein interaction prediction
  • sequence information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Applied Mathematics


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