Identifying SNAREs by Incorporating Deep Learning Architecture and Amino Acid Embedding Representation

Nguyen Quoc Khanh Le, Tuan Tu Huynh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor activating protein receptors) are a group of proteins that are crucial for membrane fusion and exocytosis of neurotransmitters from the cell. They play an important role in a broad range of cell processes, including cell growth, cytokinesis, and synaptic transmission, to promote cell membrane integration in eukaryotes. Many studies determined that SNARE proteins have been associated with a lot of human diseases, especially in cancer. Therefore, identifying their functions is a challenging problem for scientists to better understand the cancer disease as well as design the drug targets for treatment. We described each protein sequence based on the amino acid embeddings using fastText, which is a natural language processing model performing well in its field. Because each protein sequence is similar to a sentence with different words, applying language model into protein sequence is challenging and promising. After generating, the amino acid embedding features were fed into a deep learning algorithm for prediction. Our model which combines fastText model and deep convolutional neural networks could identify SNARE proteins with an independent test accuracy of 92.8%, sensitivity of 88.5%, specificity of 97%, and Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) of 0.86. Our performance results were superior to the state-of-the-art predictor (SNARE-CNN). We suggest this study as a reliable method for biologists for SNARE identification and it serves a basis for applying fastText word embedding model into bioinformatics, especially in protein sequencing prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1501
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2019


  • convolutional neural networks
  • deep learning
  • skip-gram
  • SNARE proteins
  • word embedding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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