Machine Learning Papers: Immunology
Attention mechanism-based deep learning pan-specific model for interpretable MHC-I peptide binding prediction - Jin et al 2019
Accurate prediction of peptide binding affinity to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins has the potential to design better therapeutic vaccines. Previous work has shown that pan-specific prediction algorithms can achieve better prediction performance than other approaches. However, most of the top algorithms are neural networks based black box models. Here, we propose DeepAttentionPan, an improved pan-specific model, based on convolutional neural networks and attention mechanisms for more flexible, stable and interpretable MHC-I binding prediction. With the attention mechanism, our ensemble model consisting of 20 trained networks achieves high and more stabilized prediction performance. Extensive tests on IEDB’s weekly benchmark dataset show that our method achieves state-of-the-art prediction performance on 21 test allele datasets. Analysis of the peptide positional attention weights learned by our model demonstrates its capability to capture critical binding positions of the peptides, which leads to mechanistic understanding of MHC-peptide binding with high alignment with experimentally verified results. Furthermore, we show that with transfer learning, our pan model can be fine-tuned for alleles with few samples to achieve additional performance improvement. DeepAttentionPan is freely available as an open source software at https://github.com/jjin49/DeepAttentionPan.