Conference paper

A graph-based approach to systematically reconstruct human transcriptional regulatory modules

Download paper


Motivation: A major challenge in studying gene regulation is to systematically reconstruct transcription regulatory modules, which are defined as sets of genes that are regulated by a common set of transcription factors. A commonly used approach for transcription module reconstruction is to derive coexpression clusters from a microarray dataset. However, such results often contain false positives because genes from many transcription modules may be simultaneously perturbed upon a given type of conditions. In this study, we propose and validate that genes, which form a coexpression cluster in multiple microarray datasets across diverse conditions, are more likely to form a transcription module. However, identifying genes coexpressed in a subset of many microarray datasets is not a trivial computational problem. Results: We propose a graph-based data-mining approach to efficiently and systematically identify frequent coexpression clusters. Given m microarray datasets, we model each microarray dataset as a coexpression graph, and search for vertex sets which are frequently densely connected across [θm] datasets (0 ≤ θ ≤ 1). For this novel graph-mining problem, we designed two techniques to narrow down the search space: (1) partition the input graphs into (overlapping) groups sharing common properties; (2) summarize the vertex neighbor information from the partitioned datasets onto the 'Neighbor Association Summary Graph's for effective mining. We applied our method to 105 human microarray datasets, and identified a large number of potential transcription modules, activated under different subsets of conditions. Validation by ChIP-chip data demonstrated that the likelihood of a coexpression cluster being a transcription module increases significantly with its recurrence. Our method opens a new way to exploit the vast amount of existing microarray data accumulation for gene regulation study. Furthermore, the algorithm is applicable to other biological networks for approximate network module mining. © 2007 The Author(s).