Application of latent semantic indexing to evaluate the similarity of sets of sequences without multiple alignments character-by-character

B.R.G.M. Couto, A.P. Ladeira, M.A. Santos
Published October 05, 2007
Genet. Mol. Res. 6 (4): 983-999 (2007)

About the authors
B.R.G.M. Couto, A.P. Ladeira, M.A. Santos

Corresponding author
B.R.G.M. Couto


Most molecular analyses, including phylogenetic inference, are based on sequence alignments. We present an algorithm that estimates relatedness between biomolecules without the requirement of sequence alignment by using a protein frequency matrix that is reduced by singular value decomposition (SVD), in a latent seman tic index information retrieval system. Two databases were used: one with 832 proteins from 13 mitochondrial gene families and another composed of 1000 sequences from nine types of proteins retrieved from GenBank. Firstly, 208 sequences from the first database and 200 from the second were randomly selected and compared using edit distance between each pair of sequences and respective cosines and Euclidean distances from SVD. Correlation between cosine and edit distance was -0.32 (P < 0.01) and between Euclidean distance and edit distance was +0.70 (P < 0.01). In order to check the ability of SVD in classifying sequences according to their categories, we used a sample of 202 sequences from the 13 gene families as queries (test set), and the other proteins (630) were used to generate the frequency matrix (training set). The classification algorithm applies a voting scheme based on the five most similar sequences with each query. With a 3-peptide frequency matrix, all 202 queries were correctly classified (accuracy = 100%). This algorithm is very attractive, because sequence alignments are neither generated nor required. In order to achieve results similar to those obtained with edit distance analysis, we recommend that Euclidean distance be used as a similarity measure for protein sequences in latent semantic indexing methods.

Key words: Bioinformatics, Molecular comparisons, Sequence alignments, Latent semantic indexing 

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