Optimal design of gene knockout experiments for gene regulatory network inference

S M Minhaz Ud-Dean, Rudiyanto Gunawan


We addressed the problem of inferring gene regulatory network (GRN) from gene expression data of knockout (KO) experiments. This inference is known to be underdetermined and the GRN is not identifiable from data. Past studies have shown that suboptimal design of experiments (DOE) contributes significantly to the identifiability issue of biological networks, including GRNs. However, optimizing DOE has received much less attention than developing methods for GRN inference. We developed REDuction of UnCertain Edges (REDUCE) algorithm for finding the optimal gene KO experiment for inferring directed graphs (digraphs) of GRNs. REDUCE employed ensemble inference to define uncertain gene interactions that could not be verified by prior data. The optimal experiment corresponds to the maximum number of uncertain interactions that could be verified by the resulting data. For this purpose, we introduced the concept of edge separatoid which gave a list of nodes (genes) that upon their removal would allow the verification of a particular gene interaction. Finally, we proposed a procedure that iterates over performing KO experiments, ensemble update and optimal DOE. The case studies including the inference of Escherichia coli GRN and DREAM 4...Continue Reading


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