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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 2011, Vol.6(10), p.e25364
    Description: Diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for cancer based on gene expression profiles are viewed as a major step towards a better personalized medicine. Many studies using various computational approaches have been published in this direction during the last decade. However, when comparing different gene signatures for related clinical questions often only a small overlap is observed. This can have various reasons, such as technical differences of platforms, differences in biological samples or their treatment in lab, or statistical reasons because of the high dimensionality of the data combined with small sample size, leading to unstable selection of genes. In conclusion retrieved gene signatures are often hard to interpret from a biological point of view. We here demonstrate that it is possible to construct a consensus signature from a set of seemingly different gene signatures by mapping them on a protein interaction network. Common upstream proteins of close gene products, which we identified via our developed algorithm, show a very clear and significant functional interpretation in terms of overrepresented KEGG pathways, disease associated genes and known drug targets. Moreover, we show that such a consensus signature can serve as prior knowledge for predictive biomarker discovery in breast cancer. Evaluation on different datasets shows that signatures derived from the consensus signature reveal a much higher stability than signatures learned from all probesets on a microarray, while at the same time being at least as predictive. Furthermore, they are clearly interpretable in terms of enriched pathways, disease associated genes and known drug targets. In summary we thus believe that network based consensus signatures are not only a way to relate seemingly different gene signatures to each other in a functional manner, but also to establish prior knowledge for highly stable and interpretable predictive biomarkers.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Computer Science ; Medicine ; Genetics And Genomics ; Molecular Biology ; Computational Biology ; Oncology ; Computer Science ; Pathology ; Biochemistry
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    In: PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(6)
    Description: Inferring regulatory networks from experimental data via probabilistic graphical models is a popular framework to gain insights into biological systems. However, the inherent noise in experimental data coupled with a limited sample size reduces the performance of network reverse engineering. Prior knowledge from existing sources of biological information can address this low signal to noise problem by biasing the network inference towards biologically plausible network structures. Although integrating various sources of information is desirable, their heterogeneous nature makes this task challenging. We propose two computational methods to incorporate various information sources into a probabilistic consensus structure prior to be used in graphical model inference. Our first model, called Latent Factor Model (LFM), assumes a high degree of correlation among external information sources and reconstructs a hidden variable as a common source in a Bayesian manner. The second model, a Noisy-OR, picks up the strongest support for an interaction among information sources in a probabilistic fashion. Our extensive computational studies on KEGG signaling pathways as well as on gene expression data from breast cancer and yeast heat shock response reveal that both approaches can significantly enhance the reconstruction accuracy of Bayesian Networks compared to other competing methods as well as to the situation without any prior. Our framework allows for using diverse information sources, like pathway databases, GO terms and protein domain data, etc. and is flexible enough to integrate new sources, if available.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Computer Science
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    In: PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(9)
    Description: Predictive, stable and interpretable gene signatures are generally seen as an important step towards a better personalized medicine. During the last decade various methods have been proposed for that purpose. However, one important obstacle for making gene signatures a standard tool in clinics is the typical low reproducibility of signatures combined with the difficulty to achieve a clear biological interpretation. For that purpose in the last years there has been a growing interest in approaches that try to integrate information from molecular interaction networks. We here propose a technique that integrates network information as well as different kinds of experimental data (here exemplified by mRNA and miRNA expression) into one classifier. This is done by smoothing t-statistics of individual genes or miRNAs over the structure of a combined protein-protein interaction (PPI) and miRNA-target gene network. A permutation test is conducted to select features in a highly consistent manner, and subsequently a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier is trained. Compared to several other competing methods our algorithm reveals an overall better prediction performance for early versus late disease relapse and a higher signature stability. Moreover, obtained gene lists can be clearly associated to biological knowledge, such as known disease genes and KEGG pathways. We demonstrate that our data integration strategy can improve classification performance compared to using a single data source only. Our method, called stSVM, is available in R-package netClass on CRAN ( http://cran.r-project.org ).
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Computer Science ; Engineering ; Mathematics ; Medicine
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 4
    In: PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(3)
    Description: The purpose of feature selection is to identify the relevant and non-redundant features from a dataset. In this article, the feature selection problem is organized as a graph-theoretic problem where a feature-dissimilarity graph is shaped from the data matrix. The nodes represent features and the edges represent their dissimilarity. Both nodes and edges are given weight according to the feature’s relevance and dissimilarity among the features, respectively. The problem of finding relevant and non-redundant features is then mapped into densest subgraph finding problem. We have proposed a multiobjective particle swarm optimization (PSO)-based algorithm that optimizes average node-weight and average edge-weight of the candidate subgraph simultaneously. The proposed algorithm is applied for identifying relevant and non-redundant disease-related genes from microarray gene expression data. The performance of the proposed method is compared with that of several other existing feature selection techniques on different real-life microarray gene expression datasets.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Computer Science ; Engineering ; Mathematics ; Medicine
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 5
    In: Bioinformatics, 2015, Vol. 31(20), pp.3290-3298
    Description: In the last years there has been an increasing effort to computationally model and predict the influence of regulators (transcription factors, miRNAs) on gene expression. Here we introduce biRte as a computationally attractive approach combining Bayesian inference of regulator activities with network reverse engineering. biRte integrates target gene predictions with different omics data entities (e.g. miRNA and mRNA data) into a joint probabilistic framework. The utility of our method is tested in extensive simulation studies and demonstrated with applications from prostate cancer and Escherichia coli growth control. The resulting regulatory networks generally show a good agreement with the biological literature. Availability and implementation: biRte is available on Bioconductor ( http://bioconductor.org ). Contact: frohlich@bit.uni-bonn.de Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
    Keywords: Biology;
    ISSN: 1367-4803
    E-ISSN: 1460-2059
    E-ISSN: 13674811
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  • 6
    In: PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(10)
    Description: Dependence measures and tests for independence have recently attracted a lot of attention, because they are the cornerstone of algorithms for network inference in probabilistic graphical models. Pearson's product moment correlation coefficient is still by far the most widely used statistic yet it is largely constrained to detecting linear relationships. In this work we provide an exact formula for the th nearest neighbor distance distribution of rank-transformed data. Based on that, we propose two novel tests for independence. An implementation of these tests, together with a general benchmark framework for independence testing, are freely available as a CRAN software package ( http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/knnIndep ). In this paper we have benchmarked Pearson's correlation, Hoeffding's , dcor, Kraskov's estimator for mutual information, maximal information criterion and our two tests. We conclude that no particular method is generally superior to all other methods. However, dcor and Hoeffding's are the most powerful tests for many different types of dependence.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Computer And Information Sciences ; Physical Sciences
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 7
    In: PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(3)
    Description: Time-course gene expression datasets, which record continuous biological processes of genes, have recently been used to predict gene function. However, only few positive genes can be obtained from annotation databases, such as gene ontology (GO). To obtain more useful information and effectively predict gene function, gene annotations are clustered together to form a learnable and effective learning system. In this paper, we propose a novel multi-instance hierarchical clustering (MIHC) method to establish a learning system by clustering GO and compare this method with other learning system establishment methods. Multi-label support vector machine classifier and multi-label K-nearest neighbor classifier are used to verify these methods in four yeast time-course gene expression datasets. The MIHC method shows good performance, which serves as a guide to annotators or refines the annotation in detail.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Computer Science ; Mathematics
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 8
    In: PLoS ONE, 2014, Vol.9(4)
    Description: We propose a new framework for rigorous robustness analysis of stochastic biochemical systems that is based on probabilistic model checking techniques. We adapt the general definition of robustness introduced by Kitano to the class of stochastic systems modelled as continuous time Markov Chains in order to extensively analyse and compare robustness of biological models with uncertain parameters. The framework utilises novel computational methods that enable to effectively evaluate the robustness of models with respect to quantitative temporal properties and parameters such as reaction rate constants and initial conditions. We have applied the framework to gene regulation as an example of a central biological mechanism where intrinsic and extrinsic stochasticity plays crucial role due to low numbers of DNA and RNA molecules. Using our methods we have obtained a comprehensive and precise analysis of stochastic dynamics under parameter uncertainty. Furthermore, we apply our framework to compare several variants of two-component signalling networks from the perspective of robustness with respect to intrinsic noise caused by low populations of signalling components. We have successfully extended previous studies performed on deterministic models (ODE) and showed that stochasticity may significantly affect obtained predictions. Our case studies demonstrate that the framework can provide deeper insight into the role of key parameters in maintaining the system functionality and thus it significantly contributes to formal methods in computational systems biology.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology And Life Sciences ; Computer And Information Sciences ; Physical Sciences
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Biology, 01 February 2012, Vol.1(1), pp.5-17
    Description: Discovery of prognostic and diagnostic biomarker gene signatures for diseases, such as cancer, is seen as a major step towards a better personalized medicine. During the last decade various methods, mainly coming from the machine learning or statistical domain, have been proposed for that purpose. However, one important obstacle for making gene signatures a standard tool in clinical diagnosis is the typical low reproducibility of these signatures combined with the difficulty to achieve a clear biological interpretation. For that purpose in the last years there has been a growing interest in approaches that try to integrate information from molecular interaction networks. Here we review the current state of research in this field by giving an overview about so-far proposed approaches.
    Keywords: Biomarker ; Gene Selection ; Protein-Protein Interactions Network ; Personalized Medicine ; Biology
    ISSN: 2079-7737
    E-ISSN: 2079-7737
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: BMC bioinformatics, 30 April 2013, Vol.14, pp.144
    Description: Analysis and interpretation of biological networks is one of the primary goals of systems biology. In this context identification of sub-networks connecting sets of seed proteins or seed genes plays a crucial role. Given that no natural node and edge weighting scheme is available retrieval of a minimum size sub-graph leads to the classical Steiner tree problem, which is known to be NP-complete. Many approximate solutions have been published and theoretically analyzed in the computer science literature, but far less is known about their practical performance in the bioinformatics field. Here we conducted a systematic simulation study of four different approximate and one exact algorithms on a large human protein-protein interaction network with ~14,000 nodes and ~400,000 edges. Moreover, we devised an own algorithm to retrieve a sub-graph of merged Steiner trees. The application of our algorithms was demonstrated for two breast cancer signatures and a sub-network playing a role in male pattern baldness. We found a modified version of the shortest paths based approximation algorithm by Takahashi and Matsuyama to lead to accurate solutions, while at the same time being several orders of magnitude faster than the exact approach. Our devised algorithm for merged Steiner trees, which is a further development of the Takahashi and Matsuyama algorithm, proved to be useful for small seed lists. All our implemented methods are available in the R-package SteinerNet on CRAN (http://www.r-project.org) and as a supplement to this paper.
    Keywords: Algorithms ; Gene Regulatory Networks ; Protein Interaction Mapping
    E-ISSN: 1471-2105
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