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Title: Machine Learning Reveals Missing Edges and Putative Interaction Mechanisms in Microbial Ecosystem Networks

ABSTRACT Microbes affect each other’s growth in multiple, often elusive, ways. The ensuing interdependencies form complex networks, believed to reflect taxonomic composition as well as community-level functional properties and dynamics. The elucidation of these networks is often pursued by measuring pairwise interactions in coculture experiments. However, the combinatorial complexity precludes an exhaustive experimental analysis of pairwise interactions, even for moderately sized microbial communities. Here, we used a machine learning random forest approach to address this challenge. In particular, we show how partial knowledge of a microbial interaction network, combined with trait-level representations of individual microbial species, can provide accurate inference of missing edges in the network and putative mechanisms underlying the interactions. We applied our algorithm to three case studies: an experimentally mapped network of interactions between auxotrophic Escherichia coli strains, a community of soil microbes, and a large in silico network of metabolic interdependencies between 100 human gut-associated bacteria. For this last case, 5% of the network was sufficient to predict the remaining 95% with 80% accuracy, and the mechanistic hypotheses produced by the algorithm accurately reflected known metabolic exchanges. Our approach, broadly applicable to any microbial or other ecological network, may drive the discovery of new interactions andmore » new molecular mechanisms, both for therapeutic interventions involving natural communities and for the rational design of synthetic consortia. IMPORTANCE Different organisms in a microbial community may drastically affect each other’s growth phenotypes, significantly affecting the community dynamics, with important implications for human and environmental health. Novel culturing methods and the decreasing costs of sequencing will gradually enable high-throughput measurements of pairwise interactions in systematic coculturing studies. However, a thorough characterization of all interactions that occur within a microbial community is greatly limited both by the combinatorial complexity of possible assortments and by the limited biological insight that interaction measurements typically provide without laborious specific follow-ups. Here, we show how a simple and flexible formal representation of microbial pairs can be used for the classification of interactions via machine learning. The approach we propose predicts with high accuracy the outcome of yet-to-be performed experiments and generates testable hypotheses about the mechanisms of specific interactions.« less
Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0012627
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
mSystems
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: mSystems Journal Volume: 3 Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2379-5077
Publisher:
American Society for Microbiology
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
OSTI Identifier:
1479591

DiMucci, Demetrius, Kon, Mark, Segrè, Daniel, and Typas, ed., Nassos. Machine Learning Reveals Missing Edges and Putative Interaction Mechanisms in Microbial Ecosystem Networks. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1128/mSystems.00181-18.
DiMucci, Demetrius, Kon, Mark, Segrè, Daniel, & Typas, ed., Nassos. Machine Learning Reveals Missing Edges and Putative Interaction Mechanisms in Microbial Ecosystem Networks. United States. doi:10.1128/mSystems.00181-18.
DiMucci, Demetrius, Kon, Mark, Segrè, Daniel, and Typas, ed., Nassos. 2018. "Machine Learning Reveals Missing Edges and Putative Interaction Mechanisms in Microbial Ecosystem Networks". United States. doi:10.1128/mSystems.00181-18.
@article{osti_1479591,
title = {Machine Learning Reveals Missing Edges and Putative Interaction Mechanisms in Microbial Ecosystem Networks},
author = {DiMucci, Demetrius and Kon, Mark and Segrè, Daniel and Typas, ed., Nassos},
abstractNote = {ABSTRACT Microbes affect each other’s growth in multiple, often elusive, ways. The ensuing interdependencies form complex networks, believed to reflect taxonomic composition as well as community-level functional properties and dynamics. The elucidation of these networks is often pursued by measuring pairwise interactions in coculture experiments. However, the combinatorial complexity precludes an exhaustive experimental analysis of pairwise interactions, even for moderately sized microbial communities. Here, we used a machine learning random forest approach to address this challenge. In particular, we show how partial knowledge of a microbial interaction network, combined with trait-level representations of individual microbial species, can provide accurate inference of missing edges in the network and putative mechanisms underlying the interactions. We applied our algorithm to three case studies: an experimentally mapped network of interactions between auxotrophic Escherichia coli strains, a community of soil microbes, and a large in silico network of metabolic interdependencies between 100 human gut-associated bacteria. For this last case, 5% of the network was sufficient to predict the remaining 95% with 80% accuracy, and the mechanistic hypotheses produced by the algorithm accurately reflected known metabolic exchanges. Our approach, broadly applicable to any microbial or other ecological network, may drive the discovery of new interactions and new molecular mechanisms, both for therapeutic interventions involving natural communities and for the rational design of synthetic consortia. IMPORTANCE Different organisms in a microbial community may drastically affect each other’s growth phenotypes, significantly affecting the community dynamics, with important implications for human and environmental health. Novel culturing methods and the decreasing costs of sequencing will gradually enable high-throughput measurements of pairwise interactions in systematic coculturing studies. However, a thorough characterization of all interactions that occur within a microbial community is greatly limited both by the combinatorial complexity of possible assortments and by the limited biological insight that interaction measurements typically provide without laborious specific follow-ups. Here, we show how a simple and flexible formal representation of microbial pairs can be used for the classification of interactions via machine learning. The approach we propose predicts with high accuracy the outcome of yet-to-be performed experiments and generates testable hypotheses about the mechanisms of specific interactions.},
doi = {10.1128/mSystems.00181-18},
journal = {mSystems},
number = 5,
volume = 3,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

Works referenced in this record:

Random Forests
journal, January 2001