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author:("Suresh, thra")
1.  A novel significance score for gene selection and ranking 
Bioinformatics  2012;30(6):801-807.
Motivation: When identifying differentially expressed (DE) genes from high-throughput gene expression measurements, we would like to take both statistical significance (such as P-value) and biological relevance (such as fold change) into consideration. In gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), a score that can combine fold change and P-value together is needed for better gene ranking.
Results: We defined a gene significance score π-value by combining expression fold change and statistical significance (P-value), and explored its statistical properties. When compared to various existing methods, π-value based approach is more robust in selecting DE genes, with the largest area under curve in its receiver operating characteristic curve. We applied π-value to GSEA and found it comparable to P-value and t-statistic based methods, with added protection against false discovery in certain situations. Finally, in a gene functional study of breast cancer profiles, we showed that using π-value helps elucidating otherwise overlooked important biological functions.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
PMCID: PMC3957066  PMID: 22321699
2.  A high-content morphological screen identifies novel microRNAs that regulate neuroblastoma cell differentiation 
Oncotarget  2014;5(9):2499-2512.
Neuroblastoma, the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood, arises from neural crest cell precursors that fail to differentiate. Inducing cell differentiation is an important therapeutic strategy for neuroblastoma. We developed a direct functional high-content screen to identify differentiation-inducing microRNAs, in order to develop microRNA-based differentiation therapy for neuroblastoma. We discovered novel microRNAs, and more strikingly, three microRNA seed families that induce neuroblastoma cell differentiation. In addition, we showed that microRNA seed families were overrepresented in the identified group of fourteen differentiation-inducing microRNAs, suggesting that microRNA seed families are functionally more important in neuroblastoma differentiation than microRNAs with unique sequences. We further investigated the differentiation-inducing function of the microRNA-506-3p/microRNA-124-3p seed family, which was the most potent inducer of differentiation. We showed that the differentiation-inducing function of microRNA-506-3p/microRNA-124-3p is mediated, at least partially, by down-regulating expression of their targets CDK4 and STAT3. We further showed that expression of miR-506-3p, but not miR-124-3p, is dramatically upregulated in differentiated neuroblastoma cells, suggesting the important role of endogenous miR-506-3p in differentiation and tumorigenesis. Overall, our functional screen on microRNAs provided the first comprehensive analysis on the involvements of microRNA species in neuroblastoma cell differentiation and identified novel differentiation-inducing microRNAs. Further investigations are certainly warranted to fully characterize the function of the identified microRNAs in order to eventually benefit neuroblastoma therapy.
PMCID: PMC4058022  PMID: 24811707
neuroblastoma; microRNA; high-content screen; differentiation; differentiation therapy
3.  Mice heterozygous for CREB binding protein are hypersensitive to γ-radiation and invariably develop myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm 
Experimental Hematology  2011;40(4):295-306.e5.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is a complex family of pre-leukemic diseases in which hematopoietic stem cell defects lead to abnormal differentiation in one or more blood lineages. Disease progression is associated with increasing genomic instability and a large proportion of patients go on to develop acute myeloid leukemia. Primarily a disease of the elderly, it can also develop following chemotherapy. We have previously reported that CREB binding protein (Crebbp) heterozygous mice have an increased incidence of hematological malignancies, and others have shown that CREBBP is one of the genes altered by chromosomal translocations found in patients suffering from therapy-related MDS. This led us to investigate whether hematopoietic tumor development in Crebbp+/- mice is preceded by a myelodysplastic phase and whether we could uncover molecular mechanisms that might contribute to its development. We report here that Crebbp+/- mice invariably develop myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm within 9-12 months of age. They are also hypersensitive to ionizing radiation and show a marked decrease in PARP1 activity after irradiation. In addition, protein levels of XRCC1 and APEX1, key components of base excision repair machinery, are reduced in unirradiated Crebbp+/- cells or upon targeted knock down of CREBBP levels. Our results thus provide validation of a novel myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasm mouse model and, more importantly, point to defective repair of DNA damage as a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of this currently incurable disease.
PMCID: PMC3402047  PMID: 22198154
CREBBP; MDS/MPN; DNA repair; radiation hypersensitivity; PARP1
4.  Pathway Distiller - multisource biological pathway consolidation 
BMC Genomics  2012;13(Suppl 6):S18.
One method to understand and evaluate an experiment that produces a large set of genes, such as a gene expression microarray analysis, is to identify overrepresentation or enrichment for biological pathways. Because pathways are able to functionally describe the set of genes, much effort has been made to collect curated biological pathways into publicly accessible databases. When combining disparate databases, highly related or redundant pathways exist, making their consolidation into pathway concepts essential. This will facilitate unbiased, comprehensive yet streamlined analysis of experiments that result in large gene sets.
After gene set enrichment finds representative pathways for large gene sets, pathways are consolidated into representative pathway concepts. Three complementary, but different methods of pathway consolidation are explored. Enrichment Consolidation combines the set of the pathways enriched for the signature gene list through iterative combining of enriched pathways with other pathways with similar signature gene sets; Weighted Consolidation utilizes a Protein-Protein Interaction network based gene-weighting approach that finds clusters of both enriched and non-enriched pathways limited to the experiments' resultant gene list; and finally the de novo Consolidation method uses several measurements of pathway similarity, that finds static pathway clusters independent of any given experiment.
We demonstrate that the three consolidation methods provide unified yet different functional insights of a resultant gene set derived from a genome-wide profiling experiment. Results from the methods are presented, demonstrating their applications in biological studies and comparing with a pathway web-based framework that also combines several pathway databases. Additionally a web-based consolidation framework that encompasses all three methods discussed in this paper, Pathway Distiller (, is established to allow researchers access to the methods and example microarray data described in this manuscript, and the ability to analyze their own gene list by using our unique consolidation methods.
By combining several pathway systems, implementing different, but complementary pathway consolidation methods, and providing a user-friendly web-accessible tool, we have enabled users the ability to extract functional explanations of their genome wide experiments.
PMCID: PMC3481446  PMID: 23134636
5.  Before It Gets Started: Regulating Translation at the 5′ UTR 
Translation regulation plays important roles in both normal physiological conditions and diseases states. This regulation requires cis-regulatory elements located mostly in 5′ and 3′ UTRs and trans-regulatory factors (e.g., RNA binding proteins (RBPs)) which recognize specific RNA features and interact with the translation machinery to modulate its activity. In this paper, we discuss important aspects of 5′ UTR-mediated regulation by providing an overview of the characteristics and the function of the main elements present in this region, like uORF (upstream open reading frame), secondary structures, and RBPs binding motifs and different mechanisms of translation regulation and the impact they have on gene expression and human health when deregulated.
PMCID: PMC3368165  PMID: 22693426

Results 1-5 (5)