Background: Intrinsically disordered proteins play important roles in various cellular activities and their prevalence was implicated in a number of human diseases. The knowledge of the content of the intrinsic disorder in proteins is useful for a variety of studies including estimation of the abundance of disorder in protein families, classes, and complete proteomes, and for the analysis of disorder-related protein functions. The above investigations currently utilize the disorder content derived from the per-residue disorder predictions. We show that these predictions may over-or under-predict the overall amount of disorder, which motivates development of novel tools for direct and accurate sequence-based prediction of the disorder content.Results: We hypothesize that sequence-level aggregation of input information may provide more accurate content prediction when compared with the content extracted from the local window-based residue-level disorder predictors. We propose a novel predictor, DisCon, that takes advantage of a small set of 29 custom-designed descriptors that aggregate and hybridize information concerning sequence, evolutionary profiles, and predicted secondary structure, solvent accessibility, flexibility, and annotation of globular domains. Using these descriptors and a ridge regression model, DisCon predicts the content with low, 0.05, mean squared error and high, 0.68, Pearson correlation. This is a statistically significant improvement over the content computed from outputs of ten modern disorder predictors on a test dataset with proteins that share low sequence identity with the training sequences. The proposed predictive model is analyzed to discuss factors related to the prediction of the disorder content.Conclusions: DisCon is a high-quality alternative for high-throughput annotation of the disorder content. We also empirically demonstrate that the DisCon's predictions can be used to improve binary annotations of the disordered residues from the real-value disorder propensities generated by current residue-level disorder predictors. The web server that implements the DisCon is available at http://biomine.ece.ualberta.ca/DisCon/.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Applied Mathematics