Date of Award

Summer 8-9-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science

Department

Computer Science

Major Professor

Md Tamjidul Hoque

Second Advisor

Christopher Summa

Third Advisor

Shengru Tu

Fourth Advisor

Wendy Schluchter

Fifth Advisor

Huimin Chen

Abstract

Proteins are the fundamental macromolecules within a cell that carry out most of the biological functions. The computational study of protein structure and its functions, using machine learning and data analytics, is elemental in advancing the life-science research due to the fast-growing biological data and the extensive complexities involved in their analyses towards discovering meaningful insights. Mapping of protein’s primary sequence is not only limited to its structure, we extend that to its disordered component known as Intrinsically Disordered Proteins or Regions in proteins (IDPs/IDRs), and hence the involved dynamics, which help us explain complex interaction within a cell that is otherwise obscured. The objective of this dissertation is to develop machine learning based effective tools to predict disordered protein, its properties and dynamics, and interaction paradigm by systematically mining and analyzing large-scale biological data.

In this dissertation, we propose a robust framework to predict disordered proteins given only sequence information, using an optimized SVM with RBF kernel. Through appropriate reasoning, we highlight the structure-like behavior of IDPs in disease-associated complexes. Further, we develop a fast and effective predictor of Accessible Surface Area (ASA) of protein residues, a useful structural property that defines protein’s exposure to partners, using regularized regression with 3rd-degree polynomial kernel function and genetic algorithm. As a key outcome of this research, we then introduce a novel method to extract position specific energy (PSEE) of protein residues by modeling the pairwise thermodynamic interactions and hydrophobic effect. PSEE is found to be an effective feature in identifying the enthalpy-gain of the folded state of a protein and otherwise the neutral state of the unstructured proteins. Moreover, we study the peptide-protein transient interactions that involve the induced folding of short peptides through disorder-to-order conformational changes to bind to an appropriate partner. A suite of predictors is developed to identify the residue-patterns of Peptide-Recognition Domains from protein sequence that can recognize and bind to the peptide-motifs and phospho-peptides with post-translational-modifications (PTMs) of amino acid, responsible for critical human diseases, using the stacked generalization ensemble technique. The involved biologically relevant case-studies demonstrate possibilities of discovering new knowledge using the developed tools.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.