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1.  Adapting functional genomic tools to metagenomic analyses: investigating the role of gut bacteria in relation to obesity 
Briefings in Functional Genomics  2010;9(5-6):355-361.
With the expanding availability of sequencing technologies, research previously centered on the human genome can now afford to include the study of humans’ internal ecosystem (human microbiome). Given the scale of the data involved in this metagenomic research (two orders of magnitude larger than the human genome) and their importance in relation to human health, it is crucial to guarantee (along with the appropriate data collection and taxonomy) proper tools for data analysis. We propose to adapt the approaches defined for the analysis of gene-expression microarray in order to infer information in metagenomics. In particular, we applied SAM, a broadly used tool for the identification of differentially expressed genes among different samples classes, to a reported dataset on a research model with mice of two genotypes (a high density lipoprotein knockout mouse and its wild-type counterpart). The data contain two different diets (high-fat or normal-chow) to ensure the onset of obesity, prodrome of metabolic syndromes (MS). By using 16S rRNA gene as a genomic diversity marker, we illustrate how this approach can identify bacterial populations differentially enriched among different genetic and dietary conditions of the host. This approach faithfully reproduces highly-relevant results from phylogenetic and standard statistical analyses, used to explain the role of the gut microbiome in relation to obesity. This represents a promising proof-of-principle for using functional genomic approaches in the fast growing area of metagenomics, and warrants the availability of a large body of thoroughly tested and theoretically sound methodologies to this exciting new field.
doi:10.1093/bfgp/elq011
PMCID: PMC3080776  PMID: 21266343
human microbiome; functional genomic; metagenomics
2.  Correction: A Comprehensive Molecular Interaction Map for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):10.1371/annotation/f67a90fb-3e4e-4484-bffe-fcfafbfe88c7.
doi:10.1371/annotation/f67a90fb-3e4e-4484-bffe-fcfafbfe88c7
PMCID: PMC2862747
3.  A Comprehensive Molecular Interaction Map for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10137.
Background
Computational biology contributes to a variety of areas related to life sciences and, due to the growing impact of translational medicine - the scientific approach to medicine in tight relation with basic science -, it is becoming an important player in clinical-related areas. In this study, we use computation methods in order to improve our understanding of the complex interactions that occur between molecules related to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Methodology
Due to the complexity of the disease and the numerous molecular players involved, we devised a method to construct a systemic network of interactions of the processes ongoing in patients affected by RA. The network is based on high-throughput data, refined semi-automatically with carefully curated literature-based information. This global network has then been topologically analysed, as a whole and tissue-specifically, in order to translate the experimental molecular connections into topological motifs meaningful in the identification of tissue-specific markers and targets in the diagnosis, and possibly in the therapy, of RA.
Significance
We find that some nodes in the network that prove to be topologically important, in particular AKT2, IL6, MAPK1 and TP53, are also known to be associated with drugs used for the treatment of RA. Importantly, based on topological consideration, we are also able to suggest CRKL as a novel potentially relevant molecule for the diagnosis or treatment of RA. This type of finding proves the potential of in silico analyses able to produce highly refined hypotheses, based on vast experimental data, to be tested further and more efficiently. As research on RA is ongoing, the present map is in fieri, despite being -at the moment- a reflection of the state of the art. For this reason we make the network freely available in the standardised and easily exportable .xml CellDesigner format at ‘www.picb.ac.cn/ClinicalGenomicNTW/temp.html’ and ‘www.celldesigner.org’.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010137
PMCID: PMC2855702  PMID: 20419126

Results 1-3 (3)