Mapping the proteome with data-driven methods: A cycle of measurement, modeling, hypothesis generation, and engineering
Abstract: The living cell exhibits emergence of complex behavior and its modeling requires a systemic, integrative approach if we are to thoroughly understand and harness it. The work in this thesis has had the more narrow aim of quantitatively characterizing and mapping the proteome using data-driven methods, as proteins perform most functional and structural roles within the cell. Covered are the different parts of the cycle from improving quantification methods, to deriving protein features relying on their primary structure, predicting the protein content solely from sequence data, and, finally, to developing theoretical protein engineering tools, leading back to experiment. High-throughput mass spectrometry platforms provide detailed snapshots of a cell's protein content, which can be mined towards understanding how the phenotype arises from genotype and the interplay between the various properties of the constituent proteins. However, these large and dense data present an increased analysis challenge and current methods capture only a small fraction of signal. The first part of my work has involved tackling these issues with the implementation of a GPU-accelerated and distributed signal decomposition pipeline, making factorization of large proteomics scans feasible and efficient. The pipeline yields individual analyte signals spanning the majority of acquired signal, enabling high precision quantification and further analytical tasks. Having such detailed snapshots of the proteome enables a multitude of undertakings. One application has been to use a deep neural network model to learn the amino acid sequence determinants of temperature adaptation, in the form of reusable deep model features. More generally, systemic quantities may be predicted from the information encoded in sequence by evolutionary pressure. Two studies taking inspiration from natural language processing have sought to learn the grammars behind the languages of expression, in one case predicting mRNA levels from DNA sequence, and in the other protein abundance from amino acid sequence. These two models helped build a quantitative understanding of the central dogma and, furthermore, in combination yielded an improved predictor of protein amount. Finally, a mathematical framework relying on the embedded space of a deep model has been constructed to assist guided mutation of proteins towards optimizing their abundance.
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