Inferring microbial interaction networks from metagenomic data using SgLV-EKF algorithm.
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BACKGROUND: Inferring the microbial interaction networks (MINs) and modeling their dynamics are critical in understanding the mechanisms of the bacterial ecosystem and designing antibiotic and/or probiotic therapies. Recently, several approaches were proposed to infer MINs using the generalized Lotka-Volterra (gLV) model. Main drawbacks of these models include the fact that these models only consider the measurement noise without taking into consideration the uncertainties in the underlying dynamics. Furthermore, inferring the MIN is characterized by the limited number of observations and nonlinearity in the regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, novel estimation techniques are needed to address these challenges. RESULTS: This work proposes SgLV-EKF: a stochastic gLV model that adopts the extended Kalman filter (EKF) algorithm to model the MIN dynamics. In particular, SgLV-EKF employs a stochastic modeling of the MIN by adding a noise term to the dynamical model to compensate for modeling uncertainties. This stochastic modeling is more realistic than the conventional gLV model which assumes that the MIN dynamics are perfectly governed by the gLV equations. After specifying the stochastic model structure, we propose the EKF to estimate the MIN. SgLV-EKF was compared with two similarity-based algorithms, one algorithm from the integral-based family and two regression-based algorithms, in terms of the achieved performance on two synthetic data-sets and two real data-sets. The first data-set models the randomness in measurement data, whereas, the second data-set incorporates uncertainties in the underlying dynamics. The real data-sets are provided by a recent study pertaining to an antibiotic-mediated Clostridium difficile infection. The experimental results demonstrate that SgLV-EKF outperforms the alternative methods in terms of robustness to measurement noise, modeling errors, and tracking the dynamics of the MIN. CONCLUSIONS: Performance analysis demonstrates that the proposed SgLV-EKF algorithm represents a powerful and reliable tool to infer MINs and track their dynamics.