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1.  Highlighting nonlinear patterns in population genetics datasets 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8140.
Detecting structure in population genetics and case-control studies is important, as it exposes phenomena such as ecoclines, admixture and stratification. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a linear dimension-reduction technique commonly used for this purpose, but it struggles to reveal complex, nonlinear data patterns. In this paper we introduce non-centred Minimum Curvilinear Embedding (ncMCE), a nonlinear method to overcome this problem. Our analyses show that ncMCE can separate individuals into ethnic groups in cases in which PCA fails to reveal any clear structure. This increased discrimination power arises from ncMCE's ability to better capture the phylogenetic signal in the samples, whereas PCA better reflects their geographic relation. We also demonstrate how ncMCE can discover interesting patterns, even when the data has been poorly pre-processed. The juxtaposition of PCA and ncMCE visualisations provides a new standard of analysis with utility for discovering and validating significant linear/nonlinear complementary patterns in genetic data.
PMCID: PMC4311249  PMID: 25633916
2.  Transcriptome analysis elucidates key developmental components of bryozoan lophophore development 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6534.
The most recent phylogenomic study suggested that Bryozoa (Ectoprocta), Brachiopoda, and Phoronida are monophyletic, implying that the lophophore of bryozoans, phoronids and brachiopods is a synapomorphy. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of the lophophore development of the Lophophorata clade can therefore provide us a new insight into the formation of the diverse morphological traits in metazoans. In the present study, we profiled the transcriptome of the Bryozoan (Ectoproct) Bugula neritina during the swimming larval stage (SW) and the early (4 h) and late (24 h) metamorphic stages using the Illumina HiSeq2000 platform. Various genes that function in development, the immune response and neurogenesis showed differential expression levels during metamorphosis. In situ hybridization of 23 genes that participate in the Wnt, BMP, Notch, and Hedgehog signaling pathways revealed their regulatory roles in the development of the lophophore and the ancestrula digestive tract. Our findings support the hypothesis that developmental precursors of the lophophore and the ancestrula digestive tract are pre-patterned by the differential expression of key developmental genes according to their fate. This study provides a foundation to better understand the developmental divergence and/or convergence among developmental precursors of the lophophore of bryozoans, branchiopods and phoronids.
PMCID: PMC4192642  PMID: 25300304
3.  Dynamic Epigenetic Control of Highly Conserved Noncoding Elements 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109326.
Many noncoding genomic loci have remained constant over long evolutionary periods, suggesting that they are exposed to strong selective pressures. The molecular functions of these elements have been partially elucidated, but the fundamental reason for their extreme conservation is still unknown.
To gain new insights into the extreme selection of highly conserved noncoding elements (HCNEs), we used a systematic analysis of multi-omic data to study the epigenetic regulation of such elements during the development of Drosophila melanogaster. At the sequence level, HCNEs are GC-rich and have a characteristic oligomeric composition. They have higher levels of stable nucleosome occupancy than their flanking regions, and lower levels of mononucleosomes and H3.3, suggesting that these regions reside in compact chromatin. Furthermore, these regions showed remarkable modulations in histone modification and the expression levels of adjacent genes during development. Although HCNEs are primarily initiated late in replication, about 10% were related to early replication origins. Finally, HCNEs showed strong enrichment within lamina-associated domains.
HCNEs have distinct and protective sequence properties, undergo dynamic epigenetic regulation, and appear to be associated with the structural components of the chromatin, replication origins, and nuclear matrix. These observations indicate that such elements are likely to have essential cellular functions, and offer insights into their epigenetic properties.
PMCID: PMC4188601  PMID: 25289637
4.  Actinomycetes from Red Sea Sponges: Sources for Chemical and Phylogenetic Diversity 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(5):2771-2789.
The diversity of actinomycetes associated with marine sponges collected off Fsar Reef (Saudi Arabia) was investigated in the present study. Forty-seven actinomycetes were cultivated and phylogenetically identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing and were assigned to 10 different actinomycete genera. Eight putatively novel species belonging to genera Kocuria, Mycobacterium, Nocardia, and Rhodococcus were identified based on sequence similarity values below 98.2% to other 16S rRNA gene sequences available in the NCBI database. PCR-based screening for biosynthetic genes including type I and type II polyketide synthases (PKS-I, PKS-II) as well as nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) showed that 20 actinomycete isolates encoded each at least one type of biosynthetic gene. The organic extracts of nine isolates displayed bioactivity against at least one of the test pathogens, which were Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, fungi, human parasites, as well as in a West Nile Virus protease enzymatic assay. These results emphasize that marine sponges are a prolific resource for novel bioactive actinomycetes with potential for drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC4052315  PMID: 24824024
PKS I; PKS II; NRPS; Red Sea; sponges; actinomycetes; bioactivity
5.  Draft Genome Sequence of the Antitrypanosomally Active Sponge-Associated Bacterium Actinokineospora sp. Strain EG49 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(2):e00160-14.
The marine sponge-associated bacterium Actinokineospora sp. strain EG49 produces the antitrypanosomal angucycline-like compound actinosporin A. The draft genome of Actinokineospora sp. EG49 has a size of 7.5 megabases and a GC content of 72.8% and contains 6,629 protein-coding sequences (CDS). antiSMASH predicted 996 genes residing in 36 secondary metabolite gene clusters.
PMCID: PMC3945511  PMID: 24604655
6.  Quantitative Proteomics Study of Larval Settlement in the Barnacle Balanus amphitrite 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88744.
Barnacles are major sessile components of the intertidal areas worldwide, and also one of the most dominant fouling organisms in fouling communities. Larval settlement has a crucial ecological effect not only on the distribution of the barnacle population but also intertidal community structures. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the transition process from the larval to the juvenile stage remain largely unclear. In this study, we carried out comparative proteomic profiles of stage II nauplii, stage VI nauplii, cyprids, and juveniles of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite using label-free quantitative proteomics, followed by the measurement of the gene expression levels of candidate proteins. More than 700 proteins were identified at each stage; 80 were significantly up-regulated in cyprids and 95 in juveniles vs other stages. Specifically, proteins involved in energy and metabolism, the nervous system and signal transduction were significantly up-regulated in cyprids, whereas proteins involved in cytoskeletal remodeling, transcription and translation, cell proliferation and differentiation, and biomineralization were up-regulated in juveniles, consistent with changes associated with larval metamorphosis and tissue remodeling in juveniles. These findings provided molecular evidence for the morphological, physiological and biological changes that occur during the transition process from the larval to the juvenile stages in B. amphitrite.
PMCID: PMC3923807  PMID: 24551147
7.  Proteomic Changes between Male and Female Worms of the Polychaetous Annelid Neanthes arenaceodentata before and after Spawning 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72990.
The Neanthesacuminata species complex (Polychaeta) are cosmopolitan in distribution. Neanthesarenaceodentata, Southern California member of the N. acuminata complex, has been widely used as toxicological test animal in the marine environment. Method of reproduction is unique in this polychaete complex. Same sexes fight and opposite sexes lie side by side until egg laying. Females lose about 75% of their weight and die after laying eggs. The male, capable of reproducing up to nine times, fertilizes the eggs and incubates the embryos for 3-4 weeks. The objective of this study was to determine if there is any set of proteins that influences this unique pattern of reproduction. Gel-based two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and gel-free quantitative proteomics methods were used to identify differential protein expression patterns before and after spawning in both male and female N. arenaceodentata. Males showed a higher degree of similarity in protein expression patterns but females showed large changes in phosphoproteme before and after spawning. There was a decrease (about 70%) in the number of detected phosphoproteins in spent females. The proteins involved in muscular development, cell signaling, structure and integrity, and translation were differentially expressed. This study provides proteomic insights of the male and female worms that may serve as a foundation for better understanding of unusual reproductive patterns in polychaete worms.
PMCID: PMC3758283  PMID: 24023665
8.  Minimum curvilinearity to enhance topological prediction of protein interactions by network embedding 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(13):i199-i209.
Motivation: Most functions within the cell emerge thanks to protein–protein interactions (PPIs), yet experimental determination of PPIs is both expensive and time-consuming. PPI networks present significant levels of noise and incompleteness. Predicting interactions using only PPI-network topology (topological prediction) is difficult but essential when prior biological knowledge is absent or unreliable.
Methods: Network embedding emphasizes the relations between network proteins embedded in a low-dimensional space, in which protein pairs that are closer to each other represent good candidate interactions. To achieve network denoising, which boosts prediction performance, we first applied minimum curvilinear embedding (MCE), and then adopted shortest path (SP) in the reduced space to assign likelihood scores to candidate interactions. Furthermore, we introduce (i) a new valid variation of MCE, named non-centred MCE (ncMCE); (ii) two automatic strategies for selecting the appropriate embedding dimension; and (iii) two new randomized procedures for evaluating predictions.
Results: We compared our method against several unsupervised and supervisedly tuned embedding approaches and node neighbourhood techniques. Despite its computational simplicity, ncMCE-SP was the overall leader, outperforming the current methods in topological link prediction.
Conclusion: Minimum curvilinearity is a valuable non-linear framework that we successfully applied to the embedding of protein networks for the unsupervised prediction of novel PPIs. The rationale for our approach is that biological and evolutionary information is imprinted in the non-linear patterns hidden behind the protein network topology, and can be exploited for predicting new protein links. The predicted PPIs represent good candidates for testing in high-throughput experiments or for exploitation in systems biology tools such as those used for network-based inference and prediction of disease-related functional modules.
Contact: or
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3694668  PMID: 23812985
9.  From link-prediction in brain connectomes and protein interactomes to the local-community-paradigm in complex networks 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1613.
Growth and remodelling impact the network topology of complex systems, yet a general theory explaining how new links arise between existing nodes has been lacking, and little is known about the topological properties that facilitate link-prediction. Here we investigate the extent to which the connectivity evolution of a network might be predicted by mere topological features. We show how a link/community-based strategy triggers substantial prediction improvements because it accounts for the singular topology of several real networks organised in multiple local communities - a tendency here named local-community-paradigm (LCP). We observe that LCP networks are mainly formed by weak interactions and characterise heterogeneous and dynamic systems that use self-organisation as a major adaptation strategy. These systems seem designed for global delivery of information and processing via multiple local modules. Conversely, non-LCP networks have steady architectures formed by strong interactions, and seem designed for systems in which information/energy storage is crucial.
PMCID: PMC3619147  PMID: 23563395
10.  Pivotal role of the muscle-contraction pathway in cryptorchidism and evidence for genomic connections with cardiomyopathy pathways in RASopathies 
Cryptorchidism is the most frequent congenital disorder in male children; however the genetic causes of cryptorchidism remain poorly investigated. Comparative integratomics combined with systems biology approach was employed to elucidate genetic factors and molecular pathways underlying testis descent.
Literature mining was performed to collect genomic loci associated with cryptorchidism in seven mammalian species. Information regarding the collected candidate genes was stored in MySQL relational database. Genomic view of the loci was presented using Flash GViewer web tool ( DAVID Bioinformatics Resources 6.7 was used for pathway enrichment analysis. Cytoscape plug-in PiNGO 1.11 was employed for protein-network-based prediction of novel candidate genes. Relevant protein-protein interactions were confirmed and visualized using the STRING database (version 9.0).
The developed cryptorchidism gene atlas includes 217 candidate loci (genes, regions involved in chromosomal mutations, and copy number variations) identified at the genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic level. Human orthologs of the collected candidate loci were presented using a genomic map viewer. The cryptorchidism gene atlas is freely available online: Pathway analysis suggested the presence of twelve enriched pathways associated with the list of 179 literature-derived candidate genes. Additionally, a list of 43 network-predicted novel candidate genes was significantly associated with four enriched pathways. Joint pathway analysis of the collected and predicted candidate genes revealed the pivotal importance of the muscle-contraction pathway in cryptorchidism and evidence for genomic associations with cardiomyopathy pathways in RASopathies.
The developed gene atlas represents an important resource for the scientific community researching genetics of cryptorchidism. The collected data will further facilitate development of novel genetic markers and could be of interest for functional studies in animals and human. The proposed network-based systems biology approach elucidates molecular mechanisms underlying co-presence of cryptorchidism and cardiomyopathy in RASopathies. Such approach could also aid in molecular explanation of co-presence of diverse and apparently unrelated clinical manifestations in other syndromes.
PMCID: PMC3626861  PMID: 23410028
Cryptorchidism; Muscle-contraction pathway; Cardiomyopathy; Comparative integratomics; Protein-protein interactions; Systems biology; Undescended testes; RASopathy
11.  The evolution of ultraconserved elements with different phylogenetic origins 
Ultraconserved elements of DNA have been identified in vertebrate and invertebrate genomes. These elements have been found to have diverse functions, including enhancer activities in developmental processes. The evolutionary origins and functional roles of these elements in cellular systems, however, have not yet been determined.
Here, we identified a wide range of ultraconserved elements common to distant species, from primitive aquatic organisms to terrestrial species with complicated body systems, including some novel elements conserved in fruit fly and human. In addition to a well-known association with developmental genes, these DNA elements have a strong association with genes implicated in essential cell functions, such as epigenetic regulation, apoptosis, detoxification, innate immunity, and sensory reception. Interestingly, we observed that ultraconserved elements clustered by sequence similarity. Furthermore, species composition and flanking genes of clusters showed lineage-specific patterns. Ultraconserved elements are highly enriched with binding sites to developmental transcription factors regardless of how they cluster.
We identified large numbers of ultraconserved elements across distant species. Specific classes of these conserved elements seem to have been generated before the divergence of taxa and fixed during the process of evolution. Our findings indicate that these ultraconserved elements are not the exclusive property of higher modern eukaryotes, but rather transmitted from their metazoan ancestors.
PMCID: PMC3556307  PMID: 23217155
Ultraconserved elements; Developmental enhancers; Transcriptional regulatory networks; Genome evolution; Marine biology
12.  SECOM: A Novel Hash Seed and Community Detection Based-Approach for Genome-Scale Protein Domain Identification 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39475.
With rapid advances in the development of DNA sequencing technologies, a plethora of high-throughput genome and proteome data from a diverse spectrum of organisms have been generated. The functional annotation and evolutionary history of proteins are usually inferred from domains predicted from the genome sequences. Traditional database-based domain prediction methods cannot identify novel domains, however, and alignment-based methods, which look for recurring segments in the proteome, are computationally demanding. Here, we propose a novel genome-wide domain prediction method, SECOM. Instead of conducting all-against-all sequence alignment, SECOM first indexes all the proteins in the genome by using a hash seed function. Local similarity can thus be detected and encoded into a graph structure, in which each node represents a protein sequence and each edge weight represents the shared hash seeds between the two nodes. SECOM then formulates the domain prediction problem as an overlapping community-finding problem in this graph. A backward graph percolation algorithm that efficiently identifies the domains is proposed. We tested SECOM on five recently sequenced genomes of aquatic animals. Our tests demonstrated that SECOM was able to identify most of the known domains identified by InterProScan. When compared with the alignment-based method, SECOM showed higher sensitivity in detecting putative novel domains, while it was also three orders of magnitude faster. For example, SECOM was able to predict a novel sponge-specific domain in nucleoside-triphosphatase (NTPases). Furthermore, SECOM discovered two novel domains, likely of bacterial origin, that are taxonomically restricted to sea anemone and hydra. SECOM is an open-source program and available at
PMCID: PMC3386278  PMID: 22761802
13.  Involvement of Wnt Signaling Pathways in the Metamorphosis of the Bryozoan Bugula neritina 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33323.
In this study, we analyzed the metamorphosis of the marine bryozoan Bugula neritina. We observed the morphogenesis of the ancestrula. We defined three distinct pre-ancestrula stages based on the anatomy of the developing polypide and the overall morphology of pre-ancestrula. We then used an annotation based enrichment analysis tool to analyze the B. neritina transcriptome and identified over-representation of genes related to Wnt signaling pathways, suggesting its involvement in metamorphosis. Finally, we studied the temporal-spatial gene expression studies of several Wnt pathway genes. We found that one of the Wnt ligand, BnWnt10, was expressed spatially opposite to the Wnt antagonist BnsFRP within the blastemas, which is the presumptive polypide. Down-stream components of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway were exclusively expressed in the blastemas. Bnβcatenin and BnFz5/8 were exclusively expressed in the blastemas throughout the metamorphosis. Based on the genes expression patterns, we propose that BnWnt10 and BnsFRP may relate to the patterning of the polypide, in which the two genes served as positional signals and contributed to the polarization of the blastemas. Another Wnt ligand, BnWnt6, was expressed in the apical part of the pre-ancestrula epidermis. Overall, our findings suggest that the Wnt signaling pathway may be important to the pattern formation of polypide and the development of epidermis.
PMCID: PMC3308966  PMID: 22448242
14.  Unexpected complexity of the Reef-Building Coral Acropora millepora transcription factor network 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:58.
Coral reefs are disturbed on a global scale by environmental changes including rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification. Little is known about how corals respond or adapt to these environmental changes especially at the molecular level. This is mostly because of the paucity of genome-wide studies on corals and the application of systems approaches that incorporate the latter. Like in any other organism, the response of corals to stress is tightly controlled by the coordinated interplay of many transcription factors.
Here, we develop and apply a new system-wide approach in order to infer combinatorial transcription factor networks of the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. By integrating sequencing-derived transcriptome measurements, a network of physically interacting transcription factors, and phylogenetic network footprinting we were able to infer such a network. Analysis of the network across a phylogenetically broad sample of five species, including human, reveals that despite the apparent simplicity of corals, their transcription factors repertoire and interaction networks seem to be largely conserved. In addition, we were able to identify interactions among transcription factors that appear to be species-specific lending strength to the novel concept of "Taxonomically Restricted Interactions".
This study provides the first look at transcription factor networks in corals. We identified a transcription factor repertoire encoded by the coral genome and found consistencies of the domain architectures of transcription factors and conserved regulatory subnetworks across eumetazoan species, providing insight into how regulatory networks have evolved.
PMCID: PMC3096595  PMID: 21526989
15.  Nonlinear dimension reduction and clustering by Minimum Curvilinearity unfold neuropathic pain and tissue embryological classes 
Bioinformatics  2010;26(18):i531-i539.
Motivation: Nonlinear small datasets, which are characterized by low numbers of samples and very high numbers of measures, occur frequently in computational biology, and pose problems in their investigation. Unsupervised hybrid-two-phase (H2P) procedures—specifically dimension reduction (DR), coupled with clustering—provide valuable assistance, not only for unsupervised data classification, but also for visualization of the patterns hidden in high-dimensional feature space.
Methods: ‘Minimum Curvilinearity’ (MC) is a principle that—for small datasets—suggests the approximation of curvilinear sample distances in the feature space by pair-wise distances over their minimum spanning tree (MST), and thus avoids the introduction of any tuning parameter. MC is used to design two novel forms of nonlinear machine learning (NML): Minimum Curvilinear embedding (MCE) for DR, and Minimum Curvilinear affinity propagation (MCAP) for clustering.
Results: Compared with several other unsupervised and supervised algorithms, MCE and MCAP, whether individually or combined in H2P, overcome the limits of classical approaches. High performance was attained in the visualization and classification of: (i) pain patients (proteomic measurements) in peripheral neuropathy; (ii) human organ tissues (genomic transcription factor measurements) on the basis of their embryological origin.
Conclusion: MC provides a valuable framework to estimate nonlinear distances in small datasets. Its extension to large datasets is prefigured for novel NMLs. Classification of neuropathic pain by proteomic profiles offers new insights for future molecular and systems biology characterization of pain. Improvements in tissue embryological classification refine results obtained in an earlier study, and suggest a possible reinterpretation of skin attribution as mesodermal.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC2935424  PMID: 20823318
16.  Evolutionary divergence in the fungal response to fluconazole revealed by soft clustering 
Genome Biology  2010;11(7):R77.
Fungal infections are an emerging health risk, especially those involving yeast that are resistant to antifungal agents. To understand the range of mechanisms by which yeasts can respond to anti-fungals, we compared gene expression patterns across three evolutionarily distant species - Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida glabrata and Kluyveromyces lactis - over time following fluconazole exposure.
Conserved and diverged expression patterns were identified using a novel soft clustering algorithm that concurrently clusters data from all species while incorporating sequence orthology. The analysis suggests complementary strategies for coping with ergosterol depletion by azoles - Saccharomyces imports exogenous ergosterol, Candida exports fluconazole, while Kluyveromyces does neither, leading to extreme sensitivity. In support of this hypothesis we find that only Saccharomyces becomes more azole resistant in ergosterol-supplemented media; that this depends on sterol importers Aus1 and Pdr11; and that transgenic expression of sterol importers in Kluyveromyces alleviates its drug sensitivity.
We have compared the dynamic transcriptional responses of three diverse yeast species to fluconazole treatment using a novel clustering algorithm. This approach revealed significant divergence among regulatory programs associated with fluconazole sensitivity. In future, such approaches might be used to survey a wider range of species, drug concentrations and stimuli to reveal conserved and divergent molecular response pathways.
PMCID: PMC2926788  PMID: 20653936
17.  Dependency on de novo protein synthesis and proteomic changes during metamorphosis of the marine bryozoan Bugula neritina 
Proteome Science  2010;8:25.
Metamorphosis in the bryozoan Bugula neritina (Linne) includes an initial phase of rapid morphological rearrangement followed by a gradual phase of morphogenesis. We hypothesized that the first phase may be independent of de novo synthesis of proteins and, instead, involves post-translational modifications of existing proteins, providing a simple mechanism to quickly initiate metamorphosis. To test our hypothesis, we challenged B. neritina larvae with transcription and translation inhibitors. Furthermore, we employed 2D gel electrophoresis to characterize changes in the phosphoproteome and proteome during early metamorphosis. Differentially expressed proteins were identified by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and their gene expression patterns were profiled using semi-quantitative real time PCR.
When larvae were incubated with transcription and translation inhibitors, metamorphosis initiated through the first phase but did not complete. We found a significant down-regulation of 60 protein spots and the percentage of phosphoprotein spots decreased from 15% in the larval stage to12% during early metamorphosis. Two proteins--the mitochondrial processing peptidase beta subunit and severin--were abundantly expressed and phosphorylated in the larval stage, but down-regulated during metamorphosis. MPPbeta and severin were also down-regulated on the gene expression level.
The initial morphogenetic changes that led to attachment of B. neritina did not depend on de novo protein synthesis, but the subsequent gradual morphogenesis did. This is the first time that the mitochondrial processing peptidase beta subunit or severin have been shown to be down-regulated on both gene and protein expression levels during the metamorphosis of B. neritina. Future studies employing immunohistochemistry to reveal the expression locality of these two proteins during metamorphosis should provide further evidence of the involvement of these two proteins in the morphogenetic rearrangement of B. neritina.
PMCID: PMC2890537  PMID: 20497544
18.  An integrated systems analysis implicates EGR1 downregulation in SIVE- induced neural dysfunction 
HIV-associated dementia (HAD) is a syndrome occurring in HIV-infected patients with advanced disease that likely develops as a result of macrophage and microglial activation as well as other immune events triggered by virus in the central nervous system. The most relevant experimental model of HAD, rhesus macaques exhibiting SIV encephalitis (SIVE), closely reproduces the human disease and has been successfully used to advance our understanding of mechanisms underlying HAD. In this study we integrate gene expression data from uninfected and SIV-infected hippocampus with a human protein interaction network and discover modules of genes whose expression patterns distinguish these two states, to facilitate identification of neuronal genes that may contribute to SIVE/HIV cognitive deficits. Using this approach we identify several downregulated candidate genes and select one, EGR1, a key molecule in hippocampus-related learning and memory, for further study. We show that EGR1 is downregulated in SIV-infected hippocampus and that it can be downregulated in differentiated human neuroblastoma cells by treatment with CCL8, a product of activated microglia. Integration of expression data with protein interaction data to discover discriminatory modules of interacting proteins can be usefully employed to prioritize differentially expressed genes for further study. Investigation of EGR1, selected in this manner, indicates that its downregulation in SIVE may occur as a consequence of the host response to infection, leading to deficits in cognition.
PMCID: PMC2802851  PMID: 19812322
Chemokine; dementia; EGR1; HIV; SIV; network-analysis
19.  Systems biology of innate immunity 
Cellular immunology  2007;244(2):105-109.
Systems Biology has emerged as an exciting research approach in molecular biology and functional genomics that involves a systematic use of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic technologies for the construction of network based models of biological processes. These endeavors, collectively referred to as systems biology establish a paradigm by which to systematically interrogate, model, and iteratively refine our knowledge of the regulatory events within a cell. Here we present a new systems approach, integrating DNA and transcript expression information, specifically designed to identify transcriptional networks governing the macrophage immune response to Lipopolysaccaride (LPS). Using this approach we are not only able to infer a global macrophage transcriptional network, but also time-specific sub-networks that are dynamically active across the LPS response. We believe that our system biological approach could be useful for identifying other complex networks mediating immunological responses.
PMCID: PMC1947944  PMID: 17433274
Systems Biology; Networks; Transcriptional regulation; Regulatory circuits; Dynamics; Protein-protein interactions; Genome; Macrophages; Innate immunity
20.  Transcript Annotation in FANTOM3: Mouse Gene Catalog Based on Physical cDNAs 
PLoS Genetics  2006;2(4):e62.
The international FANTOM consortium aims to produce a comprehensive picture of the mammalian transcriptome, based upon an extensive cDNA collection and functional annotation of full-length enriched cDNAs. The previous dataset, FANTOM2, comprised 60,770 full-length enriched cDNAs. Functional annotation revealed that this cDNA dataset contained only about half of the estimated number of mouse protein-coding genes, indicating that a number of cDNAs still remained to be collected and identified. To pursue the complete gene catalog that covers all predicted mouse genes, cloning and sequencing of full-length enriched cDNAs has been continued since FANTOM2. In FANTOM3, 42,031 newly isolated cDNAs were subjected to functional annotation, and the annotation of 4,347 FANTOM2 cDNAs was updated. To accomplish accurate functional annotation, we improved our automated annotation pipeline by introducing new coding sequence prediction programs and developed a Web-based annotation interface for simplifying the annotation procedures to reduce manual annotation errors. Automated coding sequence and function prediction was followed with manual curation and review by expert curators. A total of 102,801 full-length enriched mouse cDNAs were annotated. Out of 102,801 transcripts, 56,722 were functionally annotated as protein coding (including partial or truncated transcripts), providing to our knowledge the greatest current coverage of the mouse proteome by full-length cDNAs. The total number of distinct non-protein-coding transcripts increased to 34,030. The FANTOM3 annotation system, consisting of automated computational prediction, manual curation, and final expert curation, facilitated the comprehensive characterization of the mouse transcriptome, and could be applied to the transcriptomes of other species.
PMCID: PMC1449903  PMID: 16683036
21.  Genetic control of the innate immune response 
BMC Immunology  2003;4:5.
Susceptibility to infectious diseases is directed, in part, by the interaction between the invading pathogen and host macrophages. This study examines the influence of genetic background on host-pathogen interactions, by assessing the transcriptional responses of macrophages from five inbred mouse strains to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major determinant of responses to gram-negative microorganisms.
The mouse strains examined varied greatly in the number, amplitude and rate of induction of genes expressed in response to LPS. The response was attenuated in the C3H/HeJlpsd strain, which has a mutation in the LPS receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Variation between mouse strains allowed clustering into early (C57Bl/6J and DBA/2J) and delayed (BALB/c and C3H/ARC) transcriptional phenotypes. There was no clear correlation between gene induction patterns and variation at the Bcg locus (Slc11A1) or propensity to bias Th1 versus Th2 T cell activation responses.
Macrophages from each strain responded to LPS with unique gene expression profiles. The variation apparent between genetic backgrounds provides insights into the breadth of possible inflammatory responses, and paradoxically, this divergence was used to identify a common transcriptional program that responds to TLR4 signalling, irrespective of genetic background. Our data indicates that many additional genetic loci control the nature and the extent of transcriptional responses promoted by a single pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), such as LPS.
PMCID: PMC194878  PMID: 12826024

Results 1-21 (21)