Combining Sequence and Epigenomic Data to Predict Transcription Factor Binding Sites Using Deep Learning

  • Fang Jing
  • Shao-Wu ZhangEmail author
  • Zhen Cao
  • Shihua ZhangEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10847)


Knowing the transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) is essential for modeling the underlying binding mechanisms and follow-up cellular functions. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have outperformed methods in predicting TFBSs from the primary DNA sequence. In addition to DNA sequences, histone modifications and chromatin accessibility are also important factors influencing their activity. They have been explored to predict TFBSs recently. However, current methods rarely take into account histone modifications and chromatin accessibility using CNN in an integrative framework. To this end, we developed a general CNN model to integrate these data for predicting TFBSs. We systematically benchmarked a series of architecture variants by changing network structure in terms of width and depth, and explored the effects of sample length at flanking regions. We evaluated the performance of the three types of data and their combinations using 256 ChIP-seq experiments and also compared it with competing machine learning methods. We find that contributions from these three types of data are complementary to each other. Moreover, the integrative CNN framework is superior to traditional machine learning methods with significant improvements.


Bioinformatics Machine learning Transcription factors binding sites Convolutional neural networks DNA accessibility Histone modification 



Fang Jing would like to thank the support of the National Center for Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Sciences, Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, CAS, during his visit. The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [No. 61473232 and 91430111 to SWZ; No. 61621003 and 11661141019 to SZ]; the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) [No. XDB13040600], the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, [No. KFZD-SW-219] and CAS Frontier Science Research Key Project for Top Young Scientist [No. QYZDB-SSW-SYS008].


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Information Fusion Technology of Ministry of Education, College of AutomationNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.NCMIS, CEMS, RCSDS, Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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