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Title: Learning, visualizing and exploring 16S rRNA structure using an attention-based deep neural network
Recurrent neural networks with memory and attention mechanisms are widely used in natural language processing because they can capture short and long term sequential information for diverse tasks. We propose an integrated deep learning model for microbial DNA sequence data, which exploits convolutional neural networks, recurrent neural networks, and attention mechanisms to predict taxonomic classifications and sample-associated attributes, such as the relationship between the microbiome and host phenotype, on the read/sequence level. In this paper, we develop this novel deep learning approach and evaluate its application to amplicon sequences. We apply our approach to short DNA reads and full sequences of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) marker genes, which identify the heterogeneity of a microbial community sample. We demonstrate that our implementation of a novel attention-based deep network architecture, Read2Pheno , achieves read-level phenotypic prediction. Training Read2Pheno models will encode sequences (reads) into dense, meaningful representations: learned embedded vectors output from the intermediate layer of the network model, which can provide biological insight when visualized. The attention layer of Read2Pheno models can also automatically identify nucleotide regions in reads/sequences which are particularly informative for classification. As such, this novel approach can avoid pre/post-processing and manual interpretation required with conventional approaches to more » microbiome sequence classification. We further show, as proof-of-concept, that aggregating read-level information can robustly predict microbial community properties, host phenotype, and taxonomic classification, with performance at least comparable to conventional approaches. An implementation of the attention-based deep learning network is available at (a python package) and (a command line tool). « less
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Borenstein, Elhanan
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PLOS Computational Biology
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National Science Foundation
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