The generation of genomic binding or accessibility data from massively parallel sequencing technologies such as ChIP-seq and DNase-seq continues to accelerate. Yet state-of-theart computational approaches for the identification of DNA binding motifs often yield motifs of weak predictive power. Here we present a novel computational algorithm called Motif- Spec, designed to find predictive motifs, in contrast to over-represented sequence elements. The key distinguishing feature of this algorithm is that it uses a dynamic search space and a learned threshold to find discriminative motifs in combination with the modeling of motifs using a full PWM (position weight matrix) rather than k-mer words or regular expressions. We demonstrate that our approach finds motifs corresponding to known binding specificities in several mammalian ChIP-seq datasets, and that our PWMs classify the ChIP-seq signals with accuracy comparable to, or marginally better than motifs from the best existing algorithms. In other datasets, our algorithm identifies novel motifs where other methods fail. Finally, we apply this algorithm to detect motifs from expression datasets in C. elegans using a dynamic expression similarity metric rather than fixed expression clusters, and find novel predictive motifs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)