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Origin of Co-Expression Patterns in E.coli and S.cerevisiae Emerging from Reverse Engineering Algorithms

TitleOrigin of Co-Expression Patterns in E.coli and S.cerevisiae Emerging from Reverse Engineering Algorithms
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsZampieri, M, Soranzo, N, Bianchini, D, Altafini, C
JournalPLoS ONE 3 (2008) e2981

Background: The concept of reverse engineering a gene network, i.e., of inferring a genome-wide graph of putative genegene interactions from compendia of high throughput microarray data has been extensively used in the last few years to deduce/integrate/validate various types of \\\"physical\\\" networks of interactions among genes or gene products. Results: This paper gives a comprehensive overview of which of these networks emerge significantly when reverse engineering large collections of gene expression data for two model organisms, E.coli and S.cerevisiae, without any prior information. For the first organism the pattern of co-expression is shown to reflect in fine detail both the operonal structure of the DNA and the regulatory effects exerted by the gene products when co-participating in a protein complex. For the second organism we find that direct transcriptional control (e.g., transcription factor-binding site interactions) has little statistical significance in comparison to the other regulatory mechanisms (such as co-sharing a protein complex, colocalization on a metabolic pathway or compartment), which are however resolved at a lower level of detail than in E.coli. Conclusion: The gene co-expression patterns deduced from compendia of profiling experiments tend to unveil functional categories that are mainly associated to stable bindings rather than transient interactions. The inference power of this systematic analysis is substantially reduced when passing from E.coli to S.cerevisiae. This extensive analysis provides a way to describe the different complexity between the two organisms and discusses the critical limitations affecting this type of methodologies.


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