Many methods have been developed to test the enrichment of genes related to certain phenotypes or cell states in gene sets. These approaches usually combine gene expression data with functionally related gene sets as defined in databases such as GeneOntology (GO), KEGG, or BioCarta. The results based on gene set analysis are generally more biologically interpretable, accurate and robust than the results based on individual gene analysis. However, while most available methods for gene set enrichment analysis test the enrichment of the entire gene set, it is more likely that only a subset of the genes in the gene set may be related to the phenotypes of interest.
In this paper, we develop a novel method, termed Sub-GSE, which measures the enrichment of a predefined gene set, or pathway, by testing its subsets. The application of Sub-GSE to two simulated and two real datasets shows Sub-GSE to be more sensitive than previous methods, such as GSEA, GSA, and SigPath, in detecting gene sets assiated with a phenotype of interest. This is particularly true for cases in which only a fraction of the genes in the gene set are associated with the phenotypes. Furthermore, the application of Sub-GSE to two real data sets demonstrates that it can detect more biologically meaningful gene sets than GSEA.
We developed a new method to measure the gene set enrichment. Applications to two simulated datasets and two real datasets show that this method is sensitive to the associations between gene sets and phenotype. The program Sub-GSE can be downloaded from .
Gene set enrichment (GSE) analysis is a popular framework for condensing information from gene expression profiles into a pathway or signature summary. The strengths of this approach over single gene analysis include noise and dimension reduction, as well as greater biological interpretability. As molecular profiling experiments move beyond simple case-control studies, robust and flexible GSE methodologies are needed that can model pathway activity within highly heterogeneous data sets.
To address this challenge, we introduce Gene Set Variation Analysis (GSVA), a GSE method that estimates variation of pathway activity over a sample population in an unsupervised manner. We demonstrate the robustness of GSVA in a comparison with current state of the art sample-wise enrichment methods. Further, we provide examples of its utility in differential pathway activity and survival analysis. Lastly, we show how GSVA works analogously with data from both microarray and RNA-seq experiments.
GSVA provides increased power to detect subtle pathway activity changes over a sample population in comparison to corresponding methods. While GSE methods are generally regarded as end points of a bioinformatic analysis, GSVA constitutes a starting point to build pathway-centric models of biology. Moreover, GSVA contributes to the current need of GSE methods for RNA-seq data. GSVA is an open source software package for R which forms part of the Bioconductor project and can be downloaded at http://www.bioconductor.org.
Autism spectrum disorder is a severe early onset neurodevelopmental disorder with high heritability but significant heterogeneity. Traditional genome-wide approaches to test for an association of common variants with autism susceptibility risk have met with limited success. However, novel methods to identify moderate risk alleles in attainable sample sizes are now gaining momentum.
In this study, we utilized publically available genome-wide association study data from the Autism Genome Project and annotated the results (P <0.001) for expression quantitative trait loci present in the parietal lobe (GSE35977), cerebellum (GSE35974) and lymphoblastoid cell lines (GSE7761). We then performed a test of enrichment by comparing these results to simulated data conditioned on minor allele frequency to generate an empirical P-value indicating statistically significant enrichment of expression quantitative trait loci in top results from the autism genome-wide association study.
Our findings show a global enrichment of brain expression quantitative trait loci, but not lymphoblastoid cell line expression quantitative trait loci, among top single nucleotide polymorphisms from an autism genome-wide association study. Additionally, the data implicates individual genes SLC25A12, PANX1 and PANX2 as well as pathways previously implicated in autism.
These findings provide supportive rationale for the use of annotation-based approaches to genome-wide association studies.
Autism; annotation; cerebellum; enrichment; expression quantitative trait (eQTL); GWAS; LCL; pannexin; parietal; SLC25A12
Gene-set analysis evaluates the expression of biological pathways, or a priori defined gene sets, rather than that of individual genes, in association with a binary phenotype, and is of great biologic interest in many DNA microarray studies. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) has been applied widely as a tool for gene-set analyses. We describe here some critical problems with GSEA and propose an alternative method by extending the individual-gene analysis method, Significance Analysis of Microarray (SAM), to gene-set analyses (SAM-GS).
Using a mouse microarray dataset with simulated gene sets, we illustrate that GSEA gives statistical significance to gene sets that have no gene associated with the phenotype (null gene sets), and has very low power to detect gene sets in which half the genes are moderately or strongly associated with the phenotype (truly-associated gene sets). SAM-GS, on the other hand, performs very well. The two methods are also compared in the analyses of three real microarray datasets and relevant pathways, the diverging results of which clearly show advantages of SAM-GS over GSEA, both statistically and biologically. In a microarray study for identifying biological pathways whose gene expressions are associated with p53 mutation in cancer cell lines, we found biologically relevant performance differences between the two methods. Specifically, there are 31 additional pathways identified as significant by SAM-GS over GSEA, that are associated with the presence vs. absence of p53. Of the 31 gene sets, 11 actually involve p53 directly as a member. A further 6 gene sets directly involve the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptosis pathways, 3 involve the cell-cycle machinery, and 3 involve cytokines and/or JAK/STAT signaling. Each of these 12 gene sets, then, is in a direct, well-established relationship with aspects of p53 signaling. Of the remaining 8 gene sets, 6 have plausible, if less well established, links with p53.
We conclude that GSEA has important limitations as a gene-set analysis approach for microarray experiments for identifying biological pathways associated with a binary phenotype. As an alternative statistically-sound method, we propose SAM-GS. A free Excel Add-In for performing SAM-GS is available for public use.
Signaling of platelet derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) is critically involved in the development of gliomas. However, the clinical relevance of PDGFRA expression in glioma subtypes and the mechanisms of PDGFRA expression in gliomas have been controversial. Under the supervision of morphological diagnosis, analysis of the GSE16011 and the Repository of Molecular Brain Neoplasia Data (Rembrandt) set revealed enriched PDGFRA expression in low-grade gliomas. However, gliomas with the top 25% of PDGFRA expression levels contained nearly all morphological subtypes, which was associated with frequent IDH1 mutation, 1p LOH, 19q LOH, less EGFR amplification, younger age at disease onset and better survival compared to those gliomas with lower levels of PDGFRA expression. SNP analysis in Rembrandt data set and FISH analysis in eleven low passage glioma cell lines showed infrequent amplification of PDGFRA. Using in vitro culture of these low passage glioma cells, we tested the hypothesis of gliogenic factor dependent expression of PDGFRA in glioma cells. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) was able to maintain PDGFRA expression in glioma cells. FGF2 also induced PDGFRA expression in glioma cells with low or non-detectable PDGFRA expression. FGF2-dependent maintenance of PDGFRA expression was concordant with the maintenance of a subset of gliogenic genes and higher rates of cell proliferation. Further, concordant expression patterns of FGF2 and PDGFRA were detected in glioma samples by immunohistochemical staining. Our findings suggest a role of FGF2 in regulating PDGFRA expression in the subset of gliomas with younger age at disease onset and longer patient survival regardless of their morphological diagnosis.
Gene set enrichment testing has helped bridge the gap from an individual gene to a systems biology interpretation of microarray data. Although gene sets are defined a priori based on biological knowledge, current methods for gene set enrichment testing treat all genes equal. It is well-known that some genes, such as those responsible for housekeeping functions, appear in many pathways, whereas other genes are more specialized and play a unique role in a single pathway. Drawing inspiration from the field of information retrieval, we have developed and present here an approach to incorporate gene appearance frequency (in KEGG pathways) into two current methods, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) and logistic regression-based LRpath framework, to generate more reproducible and biologically meaningful results.
Two breast cancer microarray datasets were analyzed to identify gene sets differentially expressed between histological grade 1 and 3 breast cancer. The correlation of Normalized Enrichment Scores (NES) between gene sets, generated by the original GSEA and GSEA with the appearance frequency of genes incorporated (GSEA-AF), was compared. GSEA-AF resulted in higher correlation between experiments and more overlapping top gene sets. Several cancer related gene sets achieved higher NES in GSEA-AF as well. The same datasets were also analyzed by LRpath and LRpath with the appearance frequency of genes incorporated (LRpath-AF). Two well-studied lung cancer datasets were also analyzed in the same manner to demonstrate the validity of the method, and similar results were obtained.
We introduce an alternative way to integrate KEGG PATHWAY information into gene set enrichment testing. The performance of GSEA and LRpath can be enhanced with the integration of appearance frequency of genes. We conclude that, generally, gene set analysis methods with the integration of information from KEGG PATHWAY performs better both statistically and biologically.
Motivation: There is great interest in pathway-based methods for genomics data analysis in the research community. Although machine learning methods, such as random forests, have been developed to correlate survival outcomes with a set of genes, no study has assessed the abilities of these methods in incorporating pathway information for analyzing microarray data. In general, genes that are identified without incorporating biological knowledge are more difficult to interpret. Correlating pathway-based gene expression with survival outcomes may lead to biologically more meaningful prognosis biomarkers. Thus, a comprehensive study on how these methods perform in a pathway-based setting is warranted.
Results: In this article, we describe a pathway-based method using random forests to correlate gene expression data with survival outcomes and introduce a novel bivariate node-splitting random survival forests. The proposed method allows researchers to identify important pathways for predicting patient prognosis and time to disease progression, and discover important genes within those pathways. We compared different implementations of random forests with different split criteria and found that bivariate node-splitting random survival forests with log-rank test is among the best. We also performed simulation studies that showed random forests outperforms several other machine learning algorithms and has comparable results with a newly developed component-wise Cox boosting model. Thus, pathway-based survival analysis using machine learning tools represents a promising approach in dissecting pathways and for generating new biological hypothesis from microarray studies.
Availability: R package Pwayrfsurvival is available from URL: http://www.duke.edu/∼hp44/pwayrfsurvival.htm
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
The aim of this study was to identify key genes and novel potential therapeutic targets related to gastric cancer (GC) by comparing cancer tissue samples and healthy control samples using DNA microarray analysis.
Microarray data set GSE19804 was downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus. Preprocessing and differential analysis were conducted with of R statistical software packages, and a number of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained. Cluster analysis was also done with gene expression values. Functional enrichment analysis was performed for all the DEGs with DAVID tools. The significantly up- and downregulated genes were selected out and their interactors were retrieved with STRING and HitPredict, followed by construction of networks. For all the genes in the two networks, GeneCodis was chosen for gene function annotation.
A total of 638 DEGs were identified, and we found that SPP1 and FABP4 were the markedly up- and downregulated genes, respectively. Cell cycle and regulation of proliferation were the most significantly overrepresented functional terms in up- and downregulated genes. In addition, extracellular matrix–receptor interaction was found to be significant in the SPP1-included interaction network.
A range of DEGs were obtained for GC. These genes not only provided insights into the pathogenesis of GC but also could develop into biomarkers for diagnosis or treatment.
Differentially expressed gene; Functional enrichment analysis; Gastric cancer; Interaction network; Pathway analysis
We present GSE, the Genomic Spatial Event database, a system to store, retrieve, and analyze all types of high-throughput microarray data. GSE handles expression datasets, ChIP-chip data, genomic annotations, functional annotations, the results of our previously published Joint Binding Deconvolution algorithm for ChIP-chip, and precomputed scans for binding events. GSE can manage data associated with multiple species; it can also simultaneously handle data associated with multiple ‘builds’ of the genome from a single species. The GSE system is built upon a middle software layer for representing streams of biological data; we outline this layer, called GSEBricks, and show how it is used to build an interactive visualization application for ChIP-chip data. The visualizer software is written in Java and communicates with the GSE database system over the network. We also present a system to formulate and record binding hypotheses- simple descriptions of the relationships that may hold between different ChIP-chip experiments. We provide a reference software implementation for the GSE system.
Gene set analysis is a powerful method of deducing biological meaning for an a priori defined set of genes. Numerous tools have been developed to test statistical enrichment or depletion in specific pathways or gene ontology (GO) terms. Major difficulties towards biological interpretation are integrating diverse types of annotation categories and exploring the relationships between annotation terms of similar information.
GARNET (Gene Annotation Relationship NEtwork Tools) is an integrative platform for gene set analysis with many novel features. It includes tools for retrieval of genes from annotation database, statistical analysis & visualization of annotation relationships, and managing gene sets. In an effort to allow access to a full spectrum of amassed biological knowledge, we have integrated a variety of annotation data that include the GO, domain, disease, drug, chromosomal location, and custom-defined annotations. Diverse types of molecular networks (pathways, transcription and microRNA regulations, protein-protein interaction) are also included. The pair-wise relationship between annotation gene sets was calculated using kappa statistics. GARNET consists of three modules - gene set manager, gene set analysis and gene set retrieval, which are tightly integrated to provide virtually automatic analysis for gene sets. A dedicated viewer for annotation network has been developed to facilitate exploration of the related annotations.
GARNET (gene annotation relationship network tools) is an integrative platform for diverse types of gene set analysis, where complex relationships among gene annotations can be easily explored with an intuitive network visualization tool (http://garnet.isysbio.org/ or http://ercsb.ewha.ac.kr/garnet/).
Despite important advances in microarray-based molecular classification of tumors, its application in clinical settings remains formidable. This is in part due to the limitation of current analysis programs in discovering robust biomarkers and developing classifiers with a practical set of genes. Genetic programming (GP) is a type of machine learning technique that uses evolutionary algorithm to simulate natural selection as well as population dynamics, hence leading to simple and comprehensible classifiers. Here we applied GP to cancer expression profiling data to select feature genes and build molecular classifiers by mathematical integration of these genes. Analysis of thousands of GP classifiers generated for a prostate cancer data set revealed repetitive use of a set of highly discriminative feature genes, many of which are known to be disease associated. GP classifiers often comprise five or less genes and successfully predict cancer types and subtypes. More importantly, GP classifiers generated in one study are able to predict samples from an independent study, which may have used different microarray platforms. In addition, GP yielded classification accuracy better than or similar to conventional classification methods. Furthermore, the mathematical expression of GP classifiers provides insights into relationships between classifier genes. Taken together, our results demonstrate that GP may be valuable for generating effective classifiers containing a practical set of genes for diagnostic/prognostic cancer classification.
Molecular diagnostics; biomarkers; prostate cancer; evolutionary algorithm; microarray profiling
Understanding the integration of hormone signaling and how it impacts oncogenesis is critical for improved cancer treatments. Here we elucidate GNAI2 message alterations in ovarian cancer (OvCa). GNAI2 is a heterotrimeric G protein which couples cell surface hormone receptors to intracellular enzymes, and is best characterized for its direct role in regulating cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) function by decreasing intracellular cAMP through inhibiting adenylyl cyclase.
We probed the Origene human OvCa array for the presence of polymorphisms and gene expression alterations of GNAI2 using directing sequencing and qPCR. These data were supported by database mining of the [NCBI NIH GSE:6008, GSE:14764, GSE:29450, GDS:4066, GDS:3297, GSE:32474, and GSE:2003] datasets.
No significant polymorphisms were found, including an absence of the gip2 oncogene. However, 85.9% of (506 of 589) OvCa patients had decreased GNAI2 message. Further characterization demonstrated that the GNAI2 message was on average decreased 54% and maximally decreased by 2.8 fold in clear cell carcinoma. GNAI2 message decreased in early stage cancer while message was increased compared to normal in advanced cancers. The changes in GNAI2 also correlated to deregulation of CREB, Fos, Myc, cyclins, Arf, the transition from estrogen dependence to independence, and metastatic potential.
These data strongly implicate GNAI2 as a critical regulator of oncogenesis and an upstream driver of cancer progression in OvCa.
G-protein; Estrogen; cAMP; mRNA; GPCR; GNAI2; CREB; PCR; Ovarian cancer
Mining novel breast cancer genes is an important task in breast cancer research. Many approaches prioritize candidate genes based on their similarity to known cancer genes, usually by integrating multiple data sources. However, different types of data often contain varying degrees of noise. For effective data integration, it’s important to design methods that work robustly with respect to noise.
Gene Ontology (GO) annotations were often utilized in cancer gene mining works. However, the vast majority of GO annotations were computationally derived, thus not completely accurate. A set of genes annotated with breast cancer enriched GO terms was adopted here as a set of source data with realistic noise. A novel noise tolerant approach was proposed to rank candidate breast cancer genes using noisy source data within the framework of a comprehensive human Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) network. Performance of the proposed method was quantitatively evaluated by comparing it with the more established random walk approach. Results showed that the proposed method exhibited better performance in ranking known breast cancer genes and higher robustness against data noise than the random walk approach. When noise started to increase, the proposed method was able to maintained relatively stable performance, while the random walk approach showed drastic performance decline; when noise increased to a large extent, the proposed method was still able to achieve better performance than random walk did.
A novel noise tolerant method was proposed to mine breast cancer genes. Compared to the well established random walk approach, it showed better performance in correctly ranking cancer genes and worked robustly with respect to noise within source data. To the best of our knowledge, it’s the first such effort to quantitatively analyze noise tolerance between different breast cancer gene mining methods. The sorted gene list can be valuable for breast cancer research. The proposed quantitative noise analysis method may also prove useful for other data integration efforts. It is hoped that the current work can lead to more discussions about influence of data noise on different computational methods for mining disease genes.
Network; Breast cancer; Data noise; Noise tolerance
Gene set testing problem has become the focus of microarray data analysis. A gene set is a group of genes that are defined by a priori biological knowledge. Several statistical methods have been proposed to determine whether functional gene sets express differentially (enrichment and/or deletion) in variations of phenotypes. However, little attention has been given to analyzing the dependence structure among gene sets. In this study, we have proposed a novel statistical method of gene set association analysis to identify significantly associated gene sets using the coefficient of intrinsic dependence. The simulation studies show that the proposed method outperforms the conventional methods to detect general forms of association in terms of control of type I error and power. The correlation of intrinsic dependence has been applied to a breast cancer microarray dataset to quantify the un-supervised relationship between two sets of genes in the tumor and non-tumor samples. It was observed that the existence of gene-set association differed across various clinical cohorts. In addition, a supervised learning was employed to illustrate how gene sets, in signaling transduction pathways or subnetworks regulated by a set of transcription factors, can be discovered using microarray data. In conclusion, the coefficient of intrinsic dependence provides a powerful tool for detecting general types of association. Hence, it can be useful to associate gene sets using microarray expression data. Through connecting relevant gene sets, our approach has the potential to reveal underlying associations by drawing a statistically relevant network in a given population, and it can also be used to complement the conventional gene set analysis.
COFECO is a web-based tool for a composite annotation of protein complexes, KEGG pathways and Gene Ontology (GO) terms within a class of genes and their orthologs under study. Widely used functional enrichment tools using GO and KEGG pathways create large list of annotations that make it difficult to derive consolidated information and often include over-generalized terms. The interrelationship of annotation terms can be more clearly delineated by integrating the information of physically interacting proteins with biological pathways and GO terms. COFECO has the following advanced characteristics: (i) The composite annotation sets of correlated functions and cellular processes for a given gene set can be identified in a more comprehensive and specified way by the employment of protein complex data together with GO and KEGG pathways as annotation resources. (ii) Orthology based integrative annotations among different species complement the defective annotations in an individual genome and provide the information of evolutionary conserved correlations. (iii) A term filtering feature enables users to collect the specified annotations enriched with selected function terms. (iv) A cross-comparison of annotation results between two different datasets is possible. In addition, COFECO provides a web-based GO hierarchical viewer and KEGG pathway viewer where the enrichment results can be summarized and further explored. COFECO is freely accessible at http://piech.kaist.ac.kr/cofeco.
Microarray experiments examine the change in transcript levels of tens of thousands of genes simultaneously. To derive meaningful data, biologists investigate the response of genes within specific pathways. Pathways are comprised of genes that interact to carry out a particular biological function. Existing methods for analyzing pathways focus on detecting changes in the mean or over-representation of the number of differentially expressed genes relative to the total of genes within the pathway. The issue of how to incorporate the influence of correlation among the genes is not generally addressed.
In this paper, we propose a non-parametric rank test for analyzing pathways that takes into account the correlation among the genes and compared two existing methods, Global and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA), using two publicly available data sets. A simulation study was conducted to demonstrate the advantage of the rank test method.
The data indicate the advantages of the rank test. The method can distinguish significant changes in pathways due to either correlations or changes in the mean or both. From the simulation study the rank test out performed Global and GSEA. The greatest gain in performance was for the sample size case which makes the application of the rank test ideal for microarray experiments.
Recently, we demonstrated the feasibility of a chemical synthetic lethality screen in cultured human cells. We now demonstrate the principles for a genetic synthetic lethality screen. The technology employs both an immortalized human cell line deficient in the gene of interest, which is complemented by an episomal survival plasmid expressing the wild-type cDNA for the gene of interest, and the use of a novel GFP-based double-label fluorescence system. Dominant negative genetic suppressor elements (GSEs) are selected from an episomal library expressing short truncated sense and antisense cDNAs for a gene likely to be synthetic lethal with the gene of interest. Expression of these GSEs prevents spontaneous loss of the GFP-marked episomal survival plasmid, thus allowing FACS enrichment for cells retaining the survival plasmid (and the GSEs). The dominant negative nature of the GSEs was validated by the decreased resident enzymatic activity present in cells harboring the GSEs. Also, cells mutated in the gene of interest exhibit reduced survival upon GSE expression. The identification of synthetic lethal genes described here can shed light on functional genetic interactions between genes involved in normal cell metabolism and in disease.
Relating chemical features to bioactivities is critical in molecular design and is used extensively in the lead discovery and optimization process. A variety of techniques from statistics, data mining and machine learning have been applied to this process. In this study, we utilize a collection of methods, called associative classification mining (ACM), which are popular in the data mining community, but so far have not been applied widely in cheminformatics. More specifically, classification based on predictive association rules (CPAR), classification based on multiple association rules (CMAR) and classification based on association rules (CBA) are employed on three datasets using various descriptor sets. Experimental evaluations on anti-tuberculosis (antiTB), mutagenicity and hERG (the human Ether-a-go-go-Related Gene) blocker datasets show that these three methods are computationally scalable and appropriate for high speed mining. Additionally, they provide comparable accuracy and efficiency to the commonly used Bayesian and support vector machines (SVM) methods, and produce highly interpretable models.
Associative classification mining; Fingerprint; Pipeline Pilot; Bayesian; SVM
Ovarian cancer is a cancerous growth arising from the ovary.
This study was aimed to explore the molecular mechanism of the development and progression of the ovarian cancer.
We first identified the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between the ovarian cancer samples and the healthy controls by analyzing the GSE14407 affymetrix microarray data, and then the functional enrichments of the DEGs were investigated. Furthermore, we constructed the protein-protein interaction network of the DEGs using the STRING online tools to find the genes which might play important roles in the progression of ovarian cancer. In addition, we performed the enrichment analysis to the PPI network.
Our study screened 659 DEGs, including 77 up- and 582 down-regulated genes. These DEGs were enriched in pathways such as Cell cycle, p53 signaling pathway, Pathways in cancer and Drug metabolism. CCNE1, CCNB2 and CYP3A5 were the significant genes identified from these pathways. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed and network Module A was found closely associated with ovarian cancer. Hub nodes such as VEGFA, CALM1, BIRC5 and POLD1 were found in the PPI network. Module A was related to biological processes such as mitotic cell cycle, cell cycle, nuclear division, and pathways namely Cell cycle, Oocyte meiosis and p53 signaling pathway.
It indicated that ovarian cancer was closely associated to the dysregulation of p53 signaling pathway, drug metabolism, tyrosine metabolism and cell cycle. Besides, we also predicted genes such as CCNE1, CCNB2, CYP3A5 and VEGFA might be target genes for diagnosing the ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer; Protein-protein interaction network; Network module; Molecular mechanism
Understanding the transcriptional regulatory networks that map out the coordinated responses of transcription factors and target genes would represent a significant advance in the analysis of osteosarcoma, a common primary bone malignancy. The objective of our study was to interpret the mechanisms of osteosarcoma through the regulation network construction.
Material and methods
Using GSE14359 datasets downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus data, we first screened the differentially expressed genes in osteosarcoma. We explored the regulation relationship between transcription factors and target genes using Cytoscape. The underlying molecular mechanisms of these crucial target genes were investigated by Gene Ontology function and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analysis.
A total of 1836 differentially expressed were identified and 98 regulatory relationships were constructed between 32 transcription factors and their 60 differentially expressed target genes. Furthermore, BCL2-like 1 (BCL2L1), tumor protein p53 (TP53), v-rel reticuloendotheliosis viral oncogene homolog A (avian) (RELA), interleukin 6 (IL6), retinoic acid receptor, alpha (RARA), nuclear factor I/C (CCAAT-binding transcription factor) (NFIC), and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein, beta (CEBPB) formed a small pivotal network, in which IL-6 could be regulated by TP53, NFIC, RARA, and CEBPB, but BCL2L1 may be only regulated by TP53 and RELA. These genes had been demonstrated to be involved in osteosarcoma progression via various biological processes and pathways, including regulation of cell apoptosis, proliferation, antigen processing and presentation pathway, and phosphatidylinositol signaling system.
In general, we have obtained a regulatory network and several pathways that may play important roles in osteosarcoma, identified several pivotal genes in osteosarcoma, and predicted several potential key genes for osteosarcoma.
osteosarcoma; transcriptome network; pathway enrichment
We explore the utility of p-value weighting for enhancing the power to detect differential metabolites in a two-sample setting. Related gene expression information is used to assign an a priori importance level to each metabolite being tested. We map the gene expression to a metabolite through pathways and then gene expression information is summarized per-pathway using gene set enrichment tests. Through simulation we explore four styles of enrichment tests and four weight functions to convert the gene information into a meaningful p-value weight. We implement the p-value weighting on a prostate cancer metabolomics dataset. Gene expression on matched samples is used to construct the weights. Under certain regulatory conditions, the use of weighted p-values does not in-flate the type I error above what we see for the un-weighted tests except in high correlation situations. The power to detect differential metabolites is notably increased in situations with disjoint pathways and shows moderate improvement, relative to the proportion of enriched pathways, when pathway membership overlaps.
Gene set analysis (GSA) methods test the association of sets of genes with a phenotype in gene expression microarray studies. Many GSA methods have been proposed, especially methods for use with a binary phenotype. Equally, if not more importantly however, is the ability to test the enrichment of a gene signature or pathway against the continuous phenotypes which are routinely and commonly observed in, for example, clinicopathological measurements. It is not always easy or meaningful to dichotomize continuous phenotypes into two classes, and attempting to do this may lead to the inaccurate classification of samples, which would affect the downstream enrichment analysis. In the present study, we have build on recent efforts to incorporate correlation structure within gene sets and pathways into the GSA test statistic. To address the issue of continuous phenotypes directly without the need for artificial discrete classification and thus increase the power of the test while ensuring computational efficiency and rigor, new GSA methods that can incorporate a covariance matrix estimator for a continuous phenotype may present an effective approach.
We have designed a new method by extending the GSA approach called Linear Combination Test (LCT) from a binary to a continuous phenotype. Simulation studies and a real microarray dataset were used to compare the proposed LCT for a continuous phenotype, a modification of LCT (referred to as LCT2), and two publicly available GSA methods for continuous phenotypes.
We found that the LCT methods performed better than the other two GSA methods; however, this finding should be understood in the context of our specific simulation studies and the real microarray dataset that were used to compare the methods. Free R-codes to perform LCT for binary and continuous phenotypes are available at http://www.ualberta.ca/~yyasui/homepage.html. The R-code to perform LCT for a continuous phenotype is available as Additional file 1.
The search for enriched features has become widely used to characterize a set of genes or proteins. A key aspect of this technique is its ability to identify correlations amongst heterogeneous data such as Gene Ontology annotations, gene expression data and genome location of genes. Despite the rapid growth of available data, very little has been proposed in terms of formalization and optimization. Additionally, current methods mainly ignore the structure of the data which causes results redundancy. For example, when searching for enrichment in GO terms, genes can be annotated with multiple GO terms and should be propagated to the more general terms in the Gene Ontology. Consequently, the gene sets often overlap partially or totally, and this causes the reported enriched GO terms to be both numerous and redundant, hence, overwhelming the researcher with non-pertinent information. This situation is not unique, it arises whenever some hierarchical clustering is performed (e.g. based on the gene expression profiles), the extreme case being when genes that are neighbors on the chromosomes are considered.
We present a generic framework to efficiently identify the most pertinent over-represented features in a set of genes. We propose a formal representation of gene sets based on the theory of partially ordered sets (posets), and give a formal definition of target set pertinence. Algorithms and compact representations of target sets are provided for the generation and the evaluation of the pertinent target sets. The relevance of our method is illustrated through the search for enriched GO annotations in the proteins involved in a multiprotein complex. The results obtained demonstrate the gain in terms of pertinence (up to 64% redundancy removed), space requirements (up to 73% less storage) and efficiency (up to 98% less comparisons).
The generic framework presented in this article provides a formal approach to adequately represent available data and efficiently search for pertinent over-represented features in a set of genes or proteins. The formalism and the pertinence definition can be directly used by most of the methods and tools currently available for feature enrichment analysis.
Analysis of high-throughput data increasingly relies on pathway annotation and functional information derived from Gene Ontology. This approach has limitations, in particular for the analysis of network dynamics over time or under different experimental conditions, in which modules within a network rather than complete pathways might respond and change. We report an analysis framework based on protein complexes, which are at the core of network reorganization. We generated a protein complex resource for human, Drosophila, and yeast from the literature and databases of protein-protein interaction networks, with each species having thousands of complexes. We developed COMPLEAT (http://www.flyrnai.org/compleat), a tool for data mining and visualization for complex-based analysis of high-throughput data sets, as well as analysis and integration of heterogeneous proteomics and gene expression data sets. With COMPLEAT, we identified dynamically regulated protein complexes among genome-wide RNA interference data sets that used the abundance of phosphorylated extracellular signal–regulated kinase in cells stimulated with either insulin or epidermal growth factor as the output. The analysis predicted that the Brahma complex participated in the insulin response.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading malignant cancers with a rapid increase in incidence and mortality. The recurrences of CRC after curative resection are sometimes unavoidable and often take place within the first year after surgery. MicroRNAs may serve as biomarkers to predict early recurrence of CRC, but identifying them from over 1,400 known human microRNAs is challenging and costly. An alternative approach is to analyze existing expression data of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) because generally speaking the expression levels of microRNAs and their target mRNAs are inversely correlated. In this study, we extracted six mRNA expression data of CRC in four studies (GSE12032, GSE17538, GSE4526 and GSE17181) from the gene expression omnibus (GEO). We inferred microRNA expression profiles and performed computational analysis to identify microRNAs associated with CRC recurrence using the IMRE method based on the MicroCosm database that includes 568,071 microRNA-target connections between 711 microRNAs and 20,884 gene targets. Two microRNAs, miR-29a and miR-29c, were disclosed and further meta-analysis of the six mRNA expression datasets showed that these two microRNAs were highly significant based on the Fisher p-value combination (p = 9.14×10−9 for miR-29a and p = 1.14×10−6 for miR-29c). Furthermore, these two microRNAs were experimentally tested in 78 human CRC samples to validate their effect on early recurrence. Our empirical results showed that the two microRNAs were significantly down-regulated (p = 0.007 for miR-29a and p = 0.007 for miR-29c) in the early-recurrence patients. This study shows the feasibility of using mRNA profiles to indicate microRNAs. We also shows miR-29a/c could be potential biomarkers for CRC early recurrence.