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1.  Logical network of genotoxic stress-induced NF-κB signal transduction predicts putative target structures for therapeutic intervention strategies 
Genotoxic stress is induced by a broad range of DNA-damaging agents and could lead to a variety of human diseases including cancer. DNA damage is also therapeutically induced for cancer treatment with the aim to eliminate tumor cells. However, the effectiveness of radio- and chemotherapy is strongly hampered by tumor cell resistance. A major reason for radio- and chemotherapeutic resistances is the simultaneous activation of cell survival pathways resulting in the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). Here, we present a Boolean network model of the NF-κB signal transduction induced by genotoxic stress in epithelial cells. For the representation and analysis of the model, we used the formalism of logical interaction hypergraphs. Model reconstruction was based on a careful meta-analysis of published data. By calculating minimal intervention sets, we identified p53-induced protein with a death domain (PIDD), receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1), and protein inhibitor of activated STAT y (PIASy) as putative therapeutic targets to abrogate NF-κB activation resulting in apoptosis. Targeting these structures therapeutically may potentiate the effectiveness of radio-and chemotherapy. Thus, the presented model allows a better understanding of the signal transduction in tumor cells and provides candidates as new therapeutic target structures.
PMCID: PMC3169943  PMID: 21918620
apoptosis; Boolean network; cancer therapy; DNA-damage response; NF-κB
2.  Computer applications for prediction of protein–protein interactions and rational drug design 
In recent years, protein–protein interactions are becoming the object of increasing attention in many different fields, such as structural biology, molecular biology, systems biology, and drug discovery. From a structural biology perspective, it would be desirable to integrate current efforts into the structural proteomics programs. Given that experimental determination of many protein–protein complex structures is highly challenging, and in the context of current high-performance computational capabilities, different computer tools are being developed to help in this task. Among them, computational docking aims to predict the structure of a protein–protein complex starting from the atomic coordinates of its individual components, and in recent years, a growing number of docking approaches are being reported with increased predictive capabilities. The improvement of speed and accuracy of these docking methods, together with the modeling of the interaction networks that regulate the most critical processes in a living organism, will be essential for computational proteomics. The ultimate goal is the rational design of drugs capable of specifically inhibiting or modifying protein–protein interactions of therapeutic significance. While rational design of protein–protein interaction inhibitors is at its very early stage, the first results are promising.
PMCID: PMC3169948  PMID: 21918619
protein-protein interactions; drug design; protein docking; structural prediction; virtual ligand screening; hot-spots
3.  Classification of heterodimer interfaces using docking models and construction of scoring functions for the complex structure prediction 
Protein–protein docking simulations can provide the predicted complex structural models. In a docking simulation, several putative structural models are selected by scoring functions from an ensemble of many complex models. Scoring functions based on statistical analyses of heterodimers are usually designed to select the complex model with the most abundant interaction mode found among the known complexes, as the correct model. However, because the formation schemes of heterodimers are extremely diverse, a single scoring function does not seem to be sufficient to describe the fitness of the predicted models other than the most abundant interaction mode. Thus, it is necessary to classify the heterodimers in terms of their individual interaction modes, and then to construct multiple scoring functions for each heterodimer type. In this study, we constructed the classification method of heterodimers based on the discriminative characters between near-native and decoy models, which were found in the comparison of the interfaces in terms of the complementarities for the hydrophobicity, the electrostatic potential and the shape. Consequently, we found four heterodimer clusters, and then constructed the multiple scoring functions, each of which was optimized for each cluster. Our multiple scoring functions were applied to the predictions in the unbound docking.
PMCID: PMC3169947  PMID: 21918618
classification of heterodimers; prediction of complex structures; scoring functions; protein-protein docking; CAPRI
4.  Evaluating the efficacy of a structure-derived amino acid substitution matrix in detecting protein homologs by BLAST and PSI-BLAST 
The large numbers of protein sequences generated by whole genome sequencing projects require rapid and accurate methods of annotation. The detection of homology through computational sequence analysis is a powerful tool in determining the complex evolutionary and functional relationships that exist between proteins. Homology search algorithms employ amino acid substitution matrices to detect similarity between proteins sequences. The substitution matrices in common use today are constructed using sequences aligned without reference to protein structure. Here we present amino acid substitution matrices constructed from the alignment of a large number of protein domain structures from the structural classification of proteins (SCOP) database. We show that when incorporated into the homology search algorithms BLAST and PSI-blast, the structure-based substitution matrices enhance the efficacy of detecting remote homologs.
PMCID: PMC3169949  PMID: 21918617
computational biology; protein homology; amino acid substitution matrix; protein structure
5.  Performance of PLS regression coefficients in selecting variables for each response of a multivariate PLS for omics-type data 
Multivariate partial least square (PLS) regression allows the modeling of complex biological events, by considering different factors at the same time. It is unaffected by data collinearity, representing a valuable method for modeling high-dimensional biological data (as derived from genomics, proteomics and peptidomics). In presence of multiple responses, it is of particular interest how to appropriately “dissect” the model, to reveal the importance of single attributes with regard to individual responses (for example, variable selection). In this paper, performances of multivariate PLS regression coefficients, in selecting relevant predictors for different responses in omics-type of data, were investigated by means of a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. For this purpose, simulated data, mimicking the covariance structures of microarray and liquid chromatography mass spectrometric data, were used to generate matrices of predictors and responses. The relevant predictors were set a priori. The influences of noise, the source of data with different covariance structure and the size of relevant predictors were investigated. Results demonstrate the applicability of PLS regression coefficients in selecting variables for each response of a multivariate PLS, in omics-type of data. Comparisons with other feature selection methods, such as variable importance in the projection scores, principal component regression, and least absolute shrinkage and selection operator regression were also provided.
PMCID: PMC3169946  PMID: 21918616
partial least square regression; regression coefficients; variable selection; biomarker discovery; omics-data
6.  Identification of longevity genes with systems biology approaches 
Identification of genes involved in the aging process is critical for understanding the mechanisms of age-dependent diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Measuring the mutant gene lifespan, each missing one gene, is traditionally employed to identify longevity genes. While such screening is impractical for the whole genome due to the time-consuming nature of lifespan assays, it can be achieved by in silico genetic manipulations with systems biology approaches. In this review, we will introduce pilot explorations applying two approaches of systems biology in aging studies. One approach is to predict the role of a specific gene in the aging process by comparing its expression profile and protein–protein interaction pattern with those of known longevity genes (top-down systems biology). The other approach is to construct mathematical models from previous kinetics data and predict how a specific protein contributes to aging and antiaging processes (bottom-up systems biology). These approaches allow researchers to simulate the effect of each gene’s product in aging by in silico genetic manipulations such as deletion or over-expression. Since simulation-based approaches are not as widely used as the other approaches, we will focus our review on this effort in more detail. A combination of hypothesis from data-mining, in silico experimentation from simulations, and wet laboratory validation will make the systematic identification of all longevity genes possible.
PMCID: PMC3169942  PMID: 21918615
systems biology; yeast; aging; in silico; genetic manipulation; modeling
7.  On calculating the probability of a set of orthologous sequences 
Probabilistic DNA sequence models have been intensively applied to genome research. Within the evolutionary biology framework, this article investigates the feasibility for rigorously estimating the probability of a set of orthologous DNA sequences which evolve from a common progenitor. We propose Monte Carlo integration algorithms to sample the unknown ancestral and/or root sequences a posteriori conditional on a reference sequence and apply pairwise Needleman–Wunsch alignment between the sampled and nonreference species sequences to estimate the probability. We test our algorithms on both simulated and real sequences and compare calculated probabilities from Monte Carlo integration to those induced by single multiple alignment.
PMCID: PMC3169941  PMID: 21918614
evolution; Jukes-Cantor model; Monte Carlo integration; Needleman-Wunsch alignment; orthologous
8.  An online conserved SSR discovery through cross-species comparison 
Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) play important roles in gene regulation and genome evolution. Although there exist several online resources for SSR mining, most of them only extract general SSR patterns without providing functional information. Here, an online search tool, CG-SSR (Comparative Genomics SSR discovery), has been developed for discovering potential functional SSRs from vertebrate genomes through cross-species comparison. In addition to revealing SSR candidates in conserved regions among various species, it also combines accurate coordinate and functional genomics information. CG-SSR is the first comprehensive and efficient online tool for conserved SSR discovery.
PMCID: PMC3169944  PMID: 21918613
microsatellites; genome; comparative genomics; functional SSR; gene ontology; conserved region
9.  A gene expression ratio-based diagnostic test for bladder cancer 
Bladder cancer is relatively common but early detection techniques such as cystoscopy and cytology are somewhat limited. We developed a broadly applicable, platform-independent and clinically relevant method based on simple ratios of gene expression to diagnose human cancers. In this study, we sought to determine whether this technique could be applied to the diagnosis of bladder cancer.
Experimental design
We developed a model for the diagnosis of bladder cancer using expression profiling data from 80 normal and tumor bladder tissues to identify statistically significant discriminating genes with reciprocal average expression levels in each tissue type. The expression levels of select genes were used to calculate individual gene pair expression ratios in order to assign diagnosis. The optimal model was examined in two additional published microarray data sets and using quantitative RT-PCR in a cohort of 13 frozen benign bladder urothelium samples and 13 bladder cancer samples from our institution.
A five-ratio test utilizing six genes proved to be 100% accurate (26 of 26 samples) for distinguishing benign from malignant bladder tissue samples (P < 10−6).
: We have provided a proof of principle study for the use of gene expression ratios in the diagnosis of bladder cancer. This technique may ultimately prove to be a useful adjunct to cytopathology in screening urine specimens for bladder cancer.
PMCID: PMC3169945  PMID: 21918612
bladder cancer; gene expression profiling; and diagnosis
10.  The development of an affinity evaluation and prediction system by using protein–protein docking simulations and parameter tuning 
A system was developed to evaluate and predict the interaction between protein pairs by using the widely used shape complementarity search method as the algorithm for docking simulations between the proteins. We used this system, which we call the affinity evaluation and prediction (AEP) system, to evaluate the interaction between 20 protein pairs. The system first executes a “round robin” shape complementarity search of the target protein group, and evaluates the interaction between the complex structures obtained by the search. These complex structures are selected by using a statistical procedure that we developed called ‘grouping’. At a prevalence of 5.0%, our AEP system predicted protein–protein interactions with a 50.0% recall, 55.6% precision, 95.5% accuracy, and an F-measure of 0.526. By optimizing the grouping process, our AEP system successfully predicted 10 protein pairs (among 20 pairs) that were biologically relevant combinations. Our ultimate goal is to construct an affinity database that will provide cell biologists and drug designers with crucial information obtained using our AEP system.
PMCID: PMC3169950  PMID: 21918611
protein-protein interaction; affinity analysis; protein-protein docking; FFT; massive parallel computing

Results 1-10 (10)