Optimally choosing PWM motif databases and sequence scanning approaches based on ChIP-seq data

Michal Dabrowski, Norbert Dojer, Izabella Krystkowiak, Bozena Kaminska, Bartek Wilczynski
2015 BMC Bioinformatics  
For many years now, binding preferences of Transcription Factors have been described by so called motifs, usually mathematically defined by position weight matrices or similar models, for the purpose of predicting potential binding sites. However, despite the availability of thousands of motif models in public and commercial databases, a researcher who wants to use them is left with many competing methods of identifying potential binding sites in a genome of interest and there is little
more » ... d information regarding the optimality of different choices. Thanks to the availability of large number of different motif models as well as a number of experimental datasets describing actual binding of TFs in hundreds of TF-ChIP-seq pairs, we set out to perform a comprehensive analysis of this matter. Results: We focus on the task of identifying potential transcription factor binding sites in the human genome. Firstly, we provide a comprehensive comparison of the coverage and quality of models available in different databases, showing that the public databases have comparable TFs coverage and better motif performance than commercial databases. Secondly, we compare different motif scanners showing that, regardless of the database used, the tools developed by the scientific community outperform the commercial tools. Thirdly, we calculate for each motif a detection threshold optimizing the accuracy of prediction. Finally, we provide an in-depth comparison of different methods of choosing thresholds for all motifs a priori. Surprisingly, we show that selecting a common false-positive rate gives results that are the least biased by the information content of the motif and therefore most uniformly accurate. Conclusion: We provide a guide for researchers working with transcription factor motifs. It is supplemented with detailed results of the analysis and the benchmark datasets at
doi:10.1186/s12859-015-0573-5 pmid:25927199 pmcid:PMC4436866 fatcat:n2hy6c5smrf3ldmzvjmam6zqbu