Prior knowledge driven Granger causality analysis on gene regulatory network discovery

BMC Bioinformatics
Shun YaoDantong Yu


Our study focuses on discovering gene regulatory networks from time series gene expression data using the Granger causality (GC) model. However, the number of available time points (T) usually is much smaller than the number of target genes (n) in biological datasets. The widely applied pairwise GC model (PGC) and other regularization strategies can lead to a significant number of false identifications when n>T. In this study, we proposed a new method, viz., CGC-2SPR (CGC using two-step prior Ridge regularization) to resolve the problem by incorporating prior biological knowledge about a target gene data set. In our simulation experiments, the propose new methodology CGC-2SPR showed significant performance improvement in terms of accuracy over other widely used GC modeling (PGC, Ridge and Lasso) and MI-based (MRNET and ARACNE) methods. In addition, we applied CGC-2SPR to a real biological dataset, i.e., the yeast metabolic cycle, and discovered more true positive edges with CGC-2SPR than with the other existing methods. In our research, we noticed a " 1+1>2" effect when we combined prior knowledge and gene expression data to discover regulatory networks. Based on causality networks, we made a functional prediction that the Abm1...Continue Reading


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