3CAC: Improving the classification of phages and plasmids in metagenomic assemblies using assembly graphs

Lianrong Pu, Ron Shamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivation: Bacteriophages and plasmids usually coexist with their host bacteria in microbial communities and play important roles in microbial evolution. Accurately identifying sequence contigs as phages, plasmids and bacterial chromosomes in mixed metagenomic assemblies is critical for further unraveling their functions. Many classification tools have been developed for identifying either phages or plasmids in metagenomic assemblies. However, only two classifiers, PPR-Meta and viralVerify, were proposed to simultaneously identify phages and plasmids in mixed metagenomic assemblies. Due to the very high fraction of chromosome contigs in the assemblies, both tools achieve high precision in the classification of chromosomes but perform poorly in classifying phages and plasmids. Short contigs in these assemblies are often wrongly classified or classified as uncertain. Results: Here we present 3CAC, a new three-class classifier that improves the precision of phage and plasmid classification. 3CAC starts with an initial three-class classification generated by existing classifiers and improves the classification of short contigs and contigs with low confidence classification by using proximity in the assembly graph. Evaluation on simulated metagenomes and on real human gut microbiome samples showed that 3CAC outperformed PPR-Meta and viralVerify in both precision and recall, and increased F1-score by 10-60 percentage points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)II56-II61
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022


Dive into the research topics of '3CAC: Improving the classification of phages and plasmids in metagenomic assemblies using assembly graphs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this