Pinpointing transcription factor binding sites from ChIP-seq data with SeqSite.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with the next-generation DNA sequencing technologies (ChIP-seq) becomes a key approach for detecting genome-wide sets of genomic sites bound by proteins, such as transcription factors (TFs). Several methods and open-source tools have been developed to analyze ChIP-seq data. However, most of them are designed for detecting TF binding regions instead of accurately locating transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs). It is still challenging to pinpoint TFBSs directly from ChIP-seq data, especially in regions with closely spaced binding events. RESULTS: With the aim to pinpoint TFBSs at a high resolution, we propose a novel method named SeqSite, implementing a two-step strategy: detecting tag-enriched regions first and pinpointing binding sites in the detected regions. The second step is done by modeling the tag density profile, locating TFBSs on each strand with a least-squares model fitting strategy, and merging the detections from the two strands. Experiments on simulation data show that SeqSite can locate most of the binding sites more than 40-bp from each other. Applications on three human TF ChIP-seq datasets demonstrate the advantage of SeqSite for its higher resolution in pinpointing binding sites compared with existing methods. CONCLUSIONS: We have developed a computational tool named SeqSite, which can pinpoint both closely spaced and isolated binding sites, and consequently improves the resolution of TFBS detection from ChIP-seq data.
Project description:Chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) has greatly improved the reliability with which transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) can be identified from genome-wide profiling studies. Many computational tools are developed to detect binding events or peaks, however the robust detection of weak binding events remains a challenge for current peak calling tools. We have developed a novel Bayesian approach (ChIP-BIT) to reliably detect TFBSs and their target genes by jointly modeling binding signal intensities and binding locations of TFBSs. Specifically, a Gaussian mixture model is used to capture both binding and background signals in sample data. As a unique feature of ChIP-BIT, background signals are modeled by a local Gaussian distribution that is accurately estimated from the input data. Extensive simulation studies showed a significantly improved performance of ChIP-BIT in target gene prediction, particularly for detecting weak binding signals at gene promoter regions. We applied ChIP-BIT to find target genes from NOTCH3 and PBX1 ChIP-seq data acquired from MCF-7 breast cancer cells. TF knockdown experiments have initially validated about 30% of co-regulated target genes identified by ChIP-BIT as being differentially expressed in MCF-7 cells. Functional analysis on these genes further revealed the existence of crosstalk between Notch and Wnt signaling pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Binding of transcription factors to transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) is key to the mediation of transcriptional regulation. Information on experimentally validated functional TFBSs is limited and consequently there is a need for accurate prediction of TFBSs for gene annotation and in applications such as evaluating the effects of single nucleotide variations in causing disease. TFBSs are generally recognized by scanning a position weight matrix (PWM) against DNA using one of a number of available computer programs. Thus we set out to evaluate the best tools that can be used locally (and are therefore suitable for large-scale analyses) for creating PWMs from high-throughput ChIP-Seq data and for scanning them against DNA. RESULTS:We evaluated a set of de novo motif discovery tools that could be downloaded and installed locally using ENCODE-ChIP-Seq data and showed that rGADEM was the best-performing tool. TFBS prediction tools used to scan PWMs against DNA fall into two classes - those that predict individual TFBSs and those that identify clusters. Our evaluation showed that FIMO and MCAST performed best respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Selection of the best-performing tools for generating PWMs from ChIP-Seq data and for scanning PWMs against DNA has the potential to improve prediction of precise transcription factor binding sites within regions identified by ChIP-Seq experiments for gene finding, understanding regulation and in evaluating the effects of single nucleotide variations in causing disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: ChIP-Seq is widely used to detect genomic segments bound by transcription factors (TF), either directly at DNA binding sites (BSs) or indirectly via other proteins. Currently, there are many software tools implementing different approaches to identify TFBSs within ChIP-Seq peaks. However, their use for the interpretation of ChIP-Seq data is usually complicated by the absence of direct experimental verification, making it difficult both to set a threshold to avoid recognition of too many false-positive BSs, and to compare the actual performance of different models. RESULTS: Using ChIP-Seq data for FoxA2 binding loci in mouse adult liver and human HepG2 cells we compared FoxA binding-site predictions for four computational models of two fundamental classes: pattern matching based on existing training set of experimentally confirmed TFBSs (oPWM and SiteGA) and de novo motif discovery (ChIPMunk and diChIPMunk). To properly select prediction thresholds for the models, we experimentally evaluated affinity of 64 predicted FoxA BSs using EMSA that allows safely distinguishing sequences able to bind TF. As a result we identified thousands of reliable FoxA BSs within ChIP-Seq loci from mouse liver and human HepG2 cells. It was found that the performance of conventional position weight matrix (PWM) models was inferior with the highest false positive rate. On the contrary, the best recognition efficiency was achieved by the combination of SiteGA & diChIPMunk/ChIPMunk models, properly identifying FoxA BSs in up to 90% of loci for both mouse and human ChIP-Seq datasets. CONCLUSIONS: The experimental study of TF binding to oligonucleotides corresponding to predicted sites increases the reliability of computational methods for TFBS-recognition in ChIP-Seq data analysis. Regarding ChIP-Seq data interpretation, basic PWMs have inferior TFBS recognition quality compared to the more sophisticated SiteGA and de novo motif discovery methods. A combination of models from different principles allowed identification of proper TFBSs.
Project description:Establishing the architecture of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) relies on chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-Seq) methods that provide genome-wide transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs). ChIP-Seq furnishes millions of short reads that, after alignment, describe the genome-wide binding sites of a particular TF. However, in all organisms investigated an average of 40% of reads fail to align to the corresponding genome, with some datasets having as much as 80% of reads failing to align. We describe here the provenance of previously unaligned reads in ChIP-Seq experiments from animals and plants. We show that a substantial portion corresponds to sequences of bacterial and metazoan origin, irrespective of the ChIP-Seq chromatin source. Unforeseen was the finding that 30%-40% of unaligned reads were actually alignable. To validate these observations, we investigated the characteristics of the previously unaligned reads corresponding to TAL1, a human TF involved in lineage specification of hemopoietic cells. We show that, while unmapped ChIP-Seq read datasets contain foreign DNA sequences, additional TFBSs can be identified from the previously unaligned ChIP-Seq reads. Our results indicate that the re-evaluation of previously unaligned reads from ChIP-Seq experiments will significantly contribute to TF target identification and determination of emerging properties of GRNs.
Project description:Most of the position weight matrix (PWM) based bioinformatics methods developed to predict transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) assume each nucleotide in the sequence motif contributes independently to the interaction between protein and DNA sequence, usually producing high false positive predictions. The increasing availability of TF enrichment profiles from recent ChIP-Seq methodology facilitates the investigation of dependent structure and accurate prediction of TFBSs. We develop a novel Tree-based PWM (TPWM) approach to accurately model the interaction between TF and its binding site. The whole tree-structured PWM could be considered as a mixture of different conditional-PWMs. We propose a discriminative approach, called TPD (TPWM based Discriminative Approach), to construct the TPWM from the ChIP-Seq data with a pre-existing PWM. To achieve the maximum discriminative power between the positive and negative datasets, the cutoff value is determined based on the Matthew Correlation Coefficient (MCC). The resulting TPWMs are evaluated with respect to accuracy on extensive synthetic datasets. We then apply our TPWM discriminative approach on several real ChIP-Seq datasets to refine the current TFBS models stored in the TRANSFAC database. Experiments on both the simulated and real ChIP-Seq data show that the proposed method starting from existing PWM has consistently better performance than existing tools in detecting the TFBSs. The improved accuracy is the result of modelling the complete dependent structure of the motifs and better prediction of true positive rate. The findings could lead to better understanding of the mechanisms of TF-DNA interactions.
Project description:The current version of the Gene Transcription Regulation Database (GTRD; http://gtrd.biouml.org) contains information about: (i) transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) and transcription coactivators identified by ChIP-seq experiments for Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Rattus norvegicus, Danio rerio, Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Arabidopsis thaliana; (ii) regions of open chromatin and TFBSs (DNase footprints) identified by DNase-seq; (iii) unmappable regions where TFBSs cannot be identified due to repeats; (iv) potential TFBSs for both human and mouse using position weight matrices from the HOCOMOCO database. Raw ChIP-seq and DNase-seq data were obtained from ENCODE and SRA, and uniformly processed. ChIP-seq peaks were called using four different methods: MACS, SISSRs, GEM and PICS. Moreover, peaks for the same factor and peak calling method, albeit using different experiment conditions (cell line, treatment, etc.), were merged into clusters. To reduce noise, such clusters for different peak calling methods were merged into meta-clusters; these were considered to be non-redundant TFBS sets. Moreover, extended quality control was applied to all ChIP-seq data. Web interface to access GTRD was developed using the BioUML platform. It provides browsing and displaying information, advanced search possibilities and an integrated genome browser.
Project description:Mapping genome-wide binding sites of all transcription factors (TFs) in all biological contexts is a critical step toward understanding gene regulation. The state-of-the-art technologies for mapping transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) couple chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) or tiling array hybridization (ChIP-chip). These technologies have limitations: they are low-throughput with respect to surveying many TFs. Recent advances in genome-wide chromatin profiling, including development of technologies such as DNase-seq, FAIRE-seq and ChIP-seq for histone modifications, make it possible to predict in vivo TFBSs by analyzing chromatin features at computationally determined DNA motif sites. This promising new approach may allow researchers to monitor the genome-wide binding sites of many TFs simultaneously. In this article, we discuss various experimental design and data analysis issues that arise when applying this approach. Through a systematic analysis of the data from the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project, we compare the predictive power of individual and combinations of chromatin marks using supervised and unsupervised learning methods, and evaluate the value of integrating information from public ChIP and gene expression data. We also highlight the challenges and opportunities for developing novel analytical methods, such as resolving the one-motif-multiple-TF ambiguity and distinguishing functional and non-functional TF binding targets from the predicted binding sites.The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12561-012-9066-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Project description:Accurate prediction of transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) is a prerequisite for identifying cis-regulatory modules that underlie transcriptional regulatory circuits encoded in the genome. Here, we present a computational framework for detecting TFBSs, when multiple position weight matrices (PWMs) for a transcription factor are available. Grouping multiple PWMs of a transcription factor (TF) based on their sequence similarity improves the specificity of TFBS prediction, which was evaluated using multiple genome-wide ChIP-Seq data sets from 26 TFs. The Z-scores of the area under a receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) values of 368 TFs were calculated and used to statistically identify co-occurring regulatory motifs in the TF bound ChIP loci. Motifs that are co-occurring along with the empirical bindings of E2F, JUN or MYC have been evaluated, in the basal or stimulated condition. Results prove our method can be useful to systematically identify the co-occurring motifs of the TF for the given conditions.
Project description:Finding where transcription factors (TFs) bind to the DNA is of key importance to decipher gene regulation at a transcriptional level. Classically, computational prediction of TF binding sites (TFBSs) is based on basic position weight matrices (PWMs) which quantitatively score binding motifs based on the observed nucleotide patterns in a set of TFBSs for the corresponding TF. Such models make the strong assumption that each nucleotide participates independently in the corresponding DNA-protein interaction and do not account for flexible length motifs. We introduce transcription factor flexible models (TFFMs) to represent TF binding properties. Based on hidden Markov models, TFFMs are flexible, and can model both position interdependence within TFBSs and variable length motifs within a single dedicated framework. The availability of thousands of experimentally validated DNA-TF interaction sequences from ChIP-seq allows for the generation of models that perform as well as PWMs for stereotypical TFs and can improve performance for TFs with flexible binding characteristics. We present a new graphical representation of the motifs that convey properties of position interdependence. TFFMs have been assessed on ChIP-seq data sets coming from the ENCODE project, revealing that they can perform better than both PWMs and the dinucleotide weight matrix extension in discriminating ChIP-seq from background sequences. Under the assumption that ChIP-seq signal values are correlated with the affinity of the TF-DNA binding, we find that TFFM scores correlate with ChIP-seq peak signals. Moreover, using available TF-DNA affinity measurements for the Max TF, we demonstrate that TFFMs constructed from ChIP-seq data correlate with published experimentally measured DNA-binding affinities. Finally, TFFMs allow for the straightforward computation of an integrated TF occupancy score across a sequence. These results demonstrate the capacity of TFFMs to accurately model DNA-protein interactions, while providing a single unified framework suitable for the next generation of TFBS prediction.
Project description:ChIP-seq is a powerful technology for detecting genomic regions where a protein of interest interacts with DNA. ChIP-seq data for mapping transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) have a characteristic pattern: around each binding site, sequence reads aligned to the forward and reverse strands of the reference genome form two separate peaks shifted away from each other, and the true binding site is located in between these two peaks. While it has been shown previously that the accuracy and resolution of binding site detection can be improved by modeling the pattern, efficient methods are unavailable to fully utilize that information in TFBS detection procedure. We present PolyaPeak, a new method to improve TFBS detection by incorporating the peak shape information. PolyaPeak describes peak shapes using a flexible Pólya model. The shapes are automatically learnt from the data using Minorization-Maximization (MM) algorithm, then integrated with the read count information via a hierarchical model to distinguish true binding sites from background noises. Extensive real data analyses show that PolyaPeak is capable of robustly improving TFBS detection compared with existing methods. An R package is freely available.