Nonparametric Bayesian inference for perturbed and orthologous gene regulatory networks

Christopher A. Penfold, Vicky Buchanan-Wollaston, Katherine J. Denby, David L. Wild*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivation: The generation of time series transcriptomic datasets collected under multiple experimental conditions has proven to be a powerful approach for disentangling complex biological processes, allowing for the reverse engineering of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Most methods for reverse engineering GRNs from multiple datasets assume that each of the time series were generated from networks with identical topology. In this study, we outline a hierarchical, non-parametric Bayesian approach for reverse engineering GRNs using multiple time series that can be applied in a number of novel situations including: (i) where different, but overlapping sets of transcription factors are expected to bind in the different experimental conditions; that is, where switching events could potentially arise under the different treatments and (ii) for inference in evolutionary related species in which orthologous GRNs exist. More generally, the method can be used to identify contextspecific regulation by leveraging time series gene expression data alongside methods that can identify putative lists of transcription factors or transcription factor targets. Results: The hierarchical inference outperforms related (but nonhierarchical) approaches when the networks used to generate the data were identical, and performs comparably even when the networks used to generate data were independent. The method was subsequently used alongside yeast one hybrid and microarray time series data to infer potential transcriptional switches in Arabidopsis thaliana response to stress. The results confirm previous biological studies and allow for additional insights into gene regulation under various abiotic stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbts222
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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