Project

Network based systems biology

Goal: Understanding cancer from systems biology point of view using an integrative network based approach.

Date: 1 January 2017

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Project log

Raghvendra Mall
added a research item
Identification of modules in molecular networks is at the core of many current analysis methods in biomedical research. However, how well different approaches identify disease-relevant modules in different types of gene and protein networks remains poorly understood. We launched the “Disease Module Identification DREAM Challenge”, an open competition to comprehensively assess module identification methods across diverse protein-protein interaction, signaling, gene co-expression, homology, and cancer-gene networks. Predicted network modules were tested for association with complex traits and diseases using a unique collection of 180 genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Our critical assessment of 75 contributed module identification methods reveals novel top-performing algorithms, which recover complementary trait-associated modules. We find that most of these modules correspond to core disease-relevant pathways, which often comprise therapeutic targets and correctly prioritize candidate disease genes. This community challenge establishes benchmarks, tools and guidelines for molecular network analysis to study human disease biology (https://synapse.org/modulechallenge).
Raghvendra Mall
added a research item
Background It is becoming clear that tumor immune T cell infiltration and its functional orientation have substantial effect on cancer progression, influencing both response to therapy and prognosis. In this pan-cancer study, the previously described Immunologic Constant of Rejection (ICR) signature is used to define opposing immune phenotypes (i.e., immuneactive and immune-silent) across 31 different histologies. We systematically analyze the interconnections between the genetic programming of neoplasms and their immune orientation across different histologies, and the prognostic impact of such interplay. Moreover, we investigated the predictive value of ICR classification across various public datasets of immune checkpoint inhibition therapy. Methods RNA-seq data of samples from a total of 9,282 patient tumor samples representing 31 cancer types were obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). We classified each cancer type based on the expression of the ICR gene signature. Oncogenic pathway gene set enrichment and mutational status were analyzed in relation to ICR phenotypes. To explore whether tumorintrinsic attributes associate with the prognostic value of ICR across cancers, we compared mutational load, oncogenic alterations and expression of oncogenic pathways between cancer types using an integrative bioinformatic pipeline. Results Our analyses identified a distinct prognostic connotation of ICR depending on cancer histology. We identified several oncogenic pathways whose enrichment inversely correlated with ICR in multiple tumor types. We found several cancer specific pathways that were differentially enriched between tumors in which ICR had a prognostic impact versus the ones in which ICR did not bear any prognostic connotation such as proliferation and TGF-beta signaling. Importantly, this conditional impact of ICR was also validated in the context of immune checkpoint inhibition treatment. Conclusions We identified tumor-intrinsic attributes that correlate with immune phenotypes and potentially influence their development. In addition, a relationship was observed between the enrichment of oncogenic pathways and the prognostic significance of the ICR and its predictive value for patients treated with anti-CTLA4 immune checkpoint inhibition. Such information can be used to prioritize potential candidates for therapies aimed at converting immune-silent into immuneactive tumors and to refine stratification algorithms.
Raghvendra Mall
added 2 research items
1 Motivation Biological networks contribute effectively to unveil the complex structure of molecular interactions and to discover driver genes especially in cancer context. It can happen that due to gene mutations, as for example when cancer progresses, the gene expression network undergoes some amount of localised re-wiring. The ability to detect statistical relevant changes in the interaction patterns induced by the progression of the disease can lead to discovery of novel relevant signatures. 2 Results Several procedures have been recently proposed to detect sub-network differences in pairwise labeled weighted networks. In this paper, we propose an improvement over the state-of-the-art based on the Generalized Hamming Distance adopted for evaluating the topological difference between two networks and estimating its statistical significance. The proposed procedure exploits a more effective model selection criteria to generate p-values for statistical significance and is more efficient in terms of computational time and prediction accuracy than literature methods. Moreover, the structure of the proposed algorithm allows for a faster parallelized implementation. In the case of dense random geometric networks the proposed approach is 10−15x faster and achieves 5-10% higher AUC, Precision/Recall, and Kappa value than the state-of-the-art. We also report the application of the method to dissect the difference between the regulatory networks of IDH-mutant versus IDH-wild-type glioma cancer. In such a case our method is able to identify some recently reported master regulators as well as novel important candidates. 3 Availability The scripts implementing the proposed algorithms are available in R at https://sites.google.com/site/raghvendramallmlresearcher/codes . 4 Contact rmall@qf.org.qa
The goal of this paper is to develop a novel statistical frame- work for inferring dependence between distributions of variables in omics data. We propose the concept of building a dependence network using a copula-based kernel dependency measures to reconstruct the underlying association network between the distributions. ISaaC is utilized for reverse-engineering gene regulatory networks and is competitive with several state-of-the-art gene regulatory inferrence methods on DREAM3 and DREAM4 Challenge datasets. An open-source implementation of ISaaC is available at https://bitbucket.org/HossamAlmeer/isaac/
Raghvendra Mall
added 3 research items
This file describes the steps used in RGBM Framework for reverse-engineering GRN and using FGSEA along with differential expression of targets to identify the key master regulators. We then visualize the activity of the master regulators in the case vs the controls.
Raghvendra Mall
added an update
We have added the tutorial on usage of RGBM for inferring gene regulatory networks and the usage of FGSEA for master regulator analysis and the visualization of these MR activity in case vs control.
 
Raghvendra Mall
added a research item
Disease processes are usually driven by several genes interacting in molecular modules or pathways leading to the disease. The identification of such modules in gene or protein networks is the core of computational methods in biomedical research. With this pretext, the Disease Module Identification (DMI) DREAM Challenge was initiated as an effort to systematically assess module identification methods on a panel of 6 diverse genomic networks. In this paper, we propose a generic refinement method based on ideas of merging and splitting the hierarchical tree obtained from any community detection technique for constrained DMI in biological networks. The only constraint was that size of community is in the range [3, 100]. We propose a novel model evaluation metric, called F-score, computed from several unsupervised quality metrics like modularity, conductance and connectivity to determine the quality of a graph partition at given level of hierarchy. We also propose a quality measure, namely Inverse Confidence, which ranks and prune insignificant modules to obtain a curated list of candidate disease modules (DM) for biological network. The predicted modules are evaluated on the basis of the total number of unique candidate modules that are associated with complex traits and diseases from over 200 genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets. During the competition, we identified 42 modules, ranking 15 th at the official false detection rate (FDR) cut-off of 0.05 for identifying statistically significant DM in the 6 benchmark networks. However, for stringent FDR cut-offs 0.025 and 0.01, the proposed method identified 31 (rank 9) and 16 DMIs (rank 10) respectively. From additional analysis, our proposed approach detected a total of 44 DM in the networks in comparison to 60 for the winner of DREAM Challenge. Interestingly, for several individual benchmark networks, our performance was better or competitive with the winner.
Raghvendra Mall
added 2 research items
Chromosomal translocations that generate in-frame oncogenic gene fusions are notable examples of the success of targeted cancer therapies. We have previously described gene fusions of FGFR3-TACC3 (F3-T3) in 3% of human glioblastoma cases. Subsequent studies have reported similar frequencies of F3-T3 in many other cancers, indicating that F3-T3 is a commonly occuring fusion across all tumour types. F3-T3 fusions are potent oncogenes that confer sensitivity to FGFR inhibitors, but the downstream oncogenic signalling pathways remain unknown. Here we show that human tumours with F3-T3 fusions cluster within transcriptional subgroups that are characterized by the activation of mitochondrial functions. F3-T3 activates oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial biogenesis and induces sensitivity to inhibitors of oxidative metabolism. Phosphorylation of the phosphopeptide PIN4 is an intermediate step in the signalling pathway of the activation of mitochondrial metabolism. The F3-T3-PIN4 axis triggers the biogenesis of peroxisomes and the synthesis of new proteins. The anabolic response converges on the PGC1α coactivator through the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species, which enables mitochondrial respiration and tumour growth. These data illustrate the oncogenic circuit engaged by F3-T3 and show that F3-T3-positive tumours rely on mitochondrial respiration, highlighting this pathway as a therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of tumours with F3-T3 fusions. We also provide insights into the genetic alterations that initiate the chain of metabolic responses that drive mitochondrial metabolism in cancer.
Raghvendra Mall
added a project goal
Understanding cancer from systems biology point of view using an integrative network based approach.
 
Raghvendra Mall
added 2 research items
We propose a generic framework for gene regulatory network (GRN) inference approached as a feature selection problem. GRNs obtained using Machine Learning techniques are often dense, whereas real GRNs are rather sparse. We use a Tikonov regularization inspired optimal L-curve criterion that utilizes the edge weight distribution for a given target gene to determine the optimal set of TFs associated with it. Our proposed framework allows to incorporate a mechanistic active biding network based on cis-regulatory motif analysis. We evaluate our regularization framework in conjunction with two non-linear ML techniques, namely gradient boosting machines (GBM) and random-forests (GENIE), resulting in a regularized feature selection based method specifically called RGBM and RGENIE respectively. RGBM has been used to identify the main transcription factors that are causally involved as master regulators of the gene expression signature activated in the FGFR3-TACC3-positive glioblastoma. Here, we illustrate that RGBM identifies the main regulators of the molecular subtypes of brain tumors. Our analysis reveals the identity and corresponding biological activities of the master regulators characterizing the difference between G-CIMP-high and G-CIMP-low subtypes and between PA-like and LGm6-GBM, thus providing a clue to the yet undetermined nature of the transcriptional events among these subtypes.
Raghvendra Mall
added 2 research items
Motivation: Biological networks unravel the inherent structure of molecular interactions which can lead to discovery of driver genes and meaningful pathways especially in cancer context. Often due to gene mutations, the gene expression undergoes changes and the corresponding gene regulatory network sustains some amount of localized re-wiring. The ability to identify significant changes in the interaction patterns caused by the progression of the disease can lead to the revelation of novel relevant signatures. Methods: The task of identifying differential sub-networks in paired biological networks (A:control,B:case) can be re-phrased as one of finding dense communities in a single noisy differential topological (DT) graph constructed by taking absolute difference between the topological graphs of A and B. In this paper, we propose a fast two-stage approach, namely Differential Community Detection (DCD), to identify differential sub-networks as differential communities in a de-noised version of the DT graph. In the first stage, we iteratively re-order the nodes of the DT graph to determine approximate block diagonals present in the DT adjacency matrix using neighbourhood information of the nodes and Jaccard similarity. In the second stage, the ordered DT adjacency matrix is traversed along the diagonal to remove all the edges associated with a node, if that node has no immediate edges within a window. We then apply community detection methods on this de-noised DT graph to discover differential sub-networks as communities. Results: Our proposed DCD approach can effectively locate differential sub-networks in several simulated paired random-geometric networks and various paired scale-free graphs with different power-law exponents. The DCD approach easily outperforms community detection methods applied on the original noisy DT graph and recent statistical techniques in simulation studies. We applied DCD method on two real datasets: a) Ovarian cancer dataset to discover differential DNA co-methylation sub-networks in patients and controls; b) Glioma cancer dataset to discover the difference between the regulatory networks of IDH-mutant and IDH-wild-type. We demonstrate the potential benefits of DCD for finding network-inferred bio-markers/pathways associated with a trait of interest. Conclusion: The proposed DCD approach overcomes the limitations of previous statistical techniques and the issues associated with identifying differential sub-networks by use of community detection methods on the noisy DT graph. This is reflected in the superior performance of the DCD method with respect to various metrics like Precision, Accuracy, Kappa and Specificity. The code implementing proposed DCD method is available at https://sites.google.com/site/raghvendramallmlresearcher/codes .