Testing statistical significance scores of sequence comparison methods with structure similarity
SourceBMC Bioinformatics, 7, (2006), article 444
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectBioinformatics; UMCN 5.3: Cellular energy metabolism
BACKGROUND: In the past years the Smith-Waterman sequence comparison algorithm has gained popularity due to improved implementations and rapidly increasing computing power. However, the quality and sensitivity of a database search is not only determined by the algorithm but also by the statistical significance testing for an alignment. The e-value is the most commonly used statistical validation method for sequence database searching. The CluSTr database and the Protein World database have been created using an alternative statistical significance test: a Z-score based on Monte-Carlo statistics. Several papers have described the superiority of the Z-score as compared to the e-value, using simulated data. We were interested if this could be validated when applied to existing, evolutionary related protein sequences. RESULTS: All experiments are performed on the ASTRAL SCOP database. The Smith-Waterman sequence comparison algorithm with both e-value and Z-score statistics is evaluated, using ROC, CVE and AP measures. The BLAST and FASTA algorithms are used as reference. We find that two out of three Smith-Waterman implementations with e-value are better at predicting structural similarities between proteins than the Smith-Waterman implementation with Z-score. SSEARCH especially has very high scores. CONCLUSION: The compute intensive Z-score does not have a clear advantage over the e-value. The Smith-Waterman implementations give generally better results than their heuristic counterparts. We recommend using the SSEARCH algorithm combined with e-values for pairwise sequence comparisons.
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