COMSAT: Residue contact prediction of transmembrane proteins based on support vector machines and mixed integer linear programming.


In this article, we present COMSAT, a hybrid framework for residue contact prediction of transmembrane (TM) proteins, integrating a support vector machine (SVM) method and a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) method. COMSAT consists of two modules: COMSAT_SVM which is trained mainly on position-specific scoring matrix features, and COMSAT_MILP which is an ab initio method based on optimization models. Contacts predicted by the SVM model are ranked by SVM confidence scores, and a threshold is trained to improve the reliability of the predicted contacts. For TM proteins with no contacts above the threshold, COMSAT_MILP is used. The proposed hybrid contact prediction scheme was tested on two independent TM protein sets based on the contact definition of 14 Å between Cα-Cα atoms. First, using a rigorous leave-one-protein-out cross validation on the training set of 90 TM proteins, an accuracy of 66.8%, a coverage of 12.3%, a specificity of 99.3% and a Matthews' correlation coefficient (MCC) of 0.184 were obtained for residue pairs that are at least six amino acids apart. Second, when tested on a test set of 87 TM proteins, the proposed method showed a prediction accuracy of 64.5%, a coverage of 5.3%, a specificity of 99.4% and a MCC of 0.106. COMSAT shows satisfactory results when compared with 12 other state-of-the-art predictors, and is more robust in terms of prediction accuracy as the length and complexity of TM protein increase. COMSAT is freely accessible at


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