As one of the most common post-translational modifications, ubiquitination regulates the quantity and function of a variety of proteins. Experimental and clinical investigations have also suggested the crucial roles of ubiquitination in several human diseases. The complicated sequence context of human ubiquitination sites revealed by proteomic studies highlights the need of developing effective computational strategies to predict human ubiquitination sites. Here we report the establishment of a novel human-specific ubiquitination site predictor through the integration of multiple complementary classifiers. Firstly, a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classier was constructed based on the composition of k-spaced amino acid pairs (CKSAAP) encoding, which has been utilized in our previous yeast ubiquitination site predictor. To further exploit the pattern and properties of the ubiquitination sites and their flanking residues, three additional SVM classifiers were constructed using the binary amino acid encoding, the AAindex physicochemical property encoding and the protein aggregation propensity encoding, respectively. Through an integration that relied on logistic regression, the resulting predictor termed hCKSAAP_UbSite achieved an area under ROC curve (AUC) of 0.770 in 5-fold cross-validation test on a class-balanced training dataset. When tested on a class-balanced independent testing dataset that contains 3419 ubiquitination sites, hCKSAAP_UbSite has also achieved a robust performance with an AUC of 0.757. Specifically, it has consistently performed better than the predictor using the CKSAAP encoding alone and two other publicly available predictors which are not human-specific. Given its promising performance in our large-scale datasets, hCKSAAP_UbSite has been made publicly available at our server (http://protein.cau.edu.cn/cksaap_ubsite/).
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