Using machine learning tools for protein database biocuration assistance

Caroline König, Ilmira Shaim, Alfredo Vellido, Enrique Romero, René Alquézar, Jesús Giraldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 The Author(s). Biocuration in the omics sciences has become paramount, as research in these fields rapidly evolves towards increasingly data-dependent models. As a result, the management of web-accessible publicly-available databases becomes a central task in biological knowledge dissemination. One relevant challenge for biocurators is the unambiguous identification of biological entities. In this study, we illustrate the adequacy of machine learning methods as biocuration assistance tools using a publicly available protein database as an example. This database contains information on G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which are part of eukaryotic cell membranes and relevant in cell communication as well as major drug targets in pharmacology. These receptors are characterized according to subtype labels. Previous analysis of this database provided evidence that some of the receptor sequences could be affected by a case of label noise, as they appeared to be too consistently misclassified by machine learning methods. Here, we extend our analysis to recent and quite substantially modified new versions of the database and reveal their now extremely accurate labeling using several machine learning models and different transformations of the unaligned sequences. These findings support the adequacy of our proposed method to identify problematic labeling cases as a tool for database biocuration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10148
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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