In the human genome, distal enhancers are involved in regulating target genes through proximal promoters by forming enhancer-promoter interactions. Although recently developed high-throughput experimental approaches have allowed us to recognize potential enhancer-promoter interactions genome-wide, it is still largely unclear to what extent the sequence-level information encoded in our genome help guide such interactions. Here we report a new computational method (named "SPEID") using deep learning models to predict enhancer-promoter interactions based on sequence-based features only, when the locations of putative enhancers and promoters in a particular cell type are given. Our results across six different cell types demonstrate that SPEID is effective in predicting enhancer-promoter interactions as compared to state-of-the-art methods that only use information from a single cell type. As a proof-of-principle, we also applied SPEID to identify somatic non-coding mutations in melanoma samples that may have reduced enhancer-promoter interactions in tumor genomes. This work demonstrates that deep learning models can help reveal that sequence-based features alone are sufficient to reliably predict enhancer-promoter interactions genome-wide.
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