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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7323508, 8 pages
Research Article

Comparative Analysis and Classification of Cassette Exons and Constitutive Exons

1School of Mechano-Electronic Engineering, Xidian University, Xi’an 710071, China
2Center for Polymer Studies and Department of Physics, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3School of Economics and Management, Xidian University, Xi’an 710071, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Meng Cai; ude.ub@iacm

Received 18 August 2017; Accepted 13 November 2017; Published 4 December 2017

Academic Editor: Yudong Cai

Copyright © 2017 Ying Cui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alternative splicing (AS) is a major engine that drives proteome diversity in mammalian genomes and is a widespread cause of human hereditary diseases. More than 95% of genes in the human genome are alternatively spliced, and the most common type of AS is the cassette exon. Recent discoveries have demonstrated that the cassette exon plays an important role in genetic diseases. To discover the formation mechanism of cassette exon events, we statistically analyze cassette exons and find that cassette exon events are strongly influenced by individual exons that are smaller in size and that have a lower GC content, more codon terminations, and weaker splice sites. We propose an improved random-forest-based hybrid method of distinguishing cassette exons from constitutive exons. Our method achieves a high accuracy in classifying cassette exons and constitutive exons and is verified to outperform previous approaches. It is anticipated that this study will facilitate a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms in cassette exons.