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EL-RMLocNet: An explainable LSTM network for RNA-associated multi-compartment localization prediction

Muhammad Nabeel Asim; Muhammad Ali Ibrahim; Muhammad Imran Malik; Christoph Zehe; Olivier Cloarec; Johan Trygg; Andreas Dengel; Sheraz Ahmed
In: Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Vol. 20, Pages 3986-4002, Elsevier, 2022.


Subcellular localization of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) molecules provide significant insights into the functionality of RNAs and helps to explore their association with various diseases. Predominantly developed single-compartment localization predictors (SCLPs) lack to demystify RNA association with diverse biochemical and pathological processes mainly happen through RNA co-localization in multiple compartments. Limited multi-compartment localization predictors (MCLPs) manage to produce decent performance only for target RNA class of particular sub-type. Further, existing computational approaches have limited practical significance and potential to optimize therapeutics due to the poor degree of model explainability. The paper in hand presents an explainable Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) network “EL-RMLocNet”, predictive performance and interpretability of which are optimized using a novel GeneticSeq2Vec statistical representation learning scheme and attention mechanism for accurate multi-compartment localization prediction of different RNAs solely using raw RNA sequences. GeneticSeq2Vec generates optimized statistical vectors of raw RNA sequences by capturing short and long range relations of nucleotide k-mers. Using sequence vectors generated by GeneticSeq2Vec scheme, Long Short Term Memory layers extract most informative features, weighting of which on the basis of discriminative potential for accurate multi-compartment localization prediction is performed using attention layer. Through reverse engineering, weights of statistical feature space are mapped to nucleotide k-mers patterns to make multi-compartment localization prediction decision making transparent and explainable for different RNA classes and species. Empirical evaluation indicates that EL-RMLocNet outperforms state-of-the-art predictor for subcellular localization prediction of 4 different RNA classes by an average accuracy figure of 8% for Homo Sapiens species and 6% for Mus Musculus species. EL-RMLocNet is freely available as a web server at (