Nevin Manimala Statistics

Infer global, predict local: Quantity-relevance trade-off in protein fitness predictions from sequence data

PLoS Comput Biol. 2023 Oct 26;19(10):e1011521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1011521. Online ahead of print.


Predicting the effects of mutations on protein function is an important issue in evolutionary biology and biomedical applications. Computational approaches, ranging from graphical models to deep-learning architectures, can capture the statistical properties of sequence data and predict the outcome of high-throughput mutagenesis experiments probing the fitness landscape around some wild-type protein. However, how the complexity of the models and the characteristics of the data combine to determine the predictive performance remains unclear. Here, based on a theoretical analysis of the prediction error, we propose descriptors of the sequence data, characterizing their quantity and relevance relative to the model. Our theoretical framework identifies a trade-off between these two quantities, and determines the optimal subset of data for the prediction task, showing that simple models can outperform complex ones when inferred from adequately-selected sequences. We also show how repeated subsampling of the sequence data is informative about how much epistasis in the fitness landscape is not captured by the computational model. Our approach is illustrated on several protein families, as well as on in silico solvable protein models.

PMID:37883593 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1011521

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala