Global prediction of tissue-specific gene expression and context-dependent gene networks in Caenorhabditis elegans

Maria D. Chikina, Curtis Huttenhower, Coleen T. Murphy, Olga G. Troyanskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tissue-specific gene expression plays a fundamental role in metazoan biology and is an important aspect of many complex diseases. Nevertheless, an organism-wide map of tissue-specific expression remains elusive due to difficulty in obtaining these data experimentally. Here, we leveraged existing whole-animal Caenorhabditis elegans microarray data representing diverse conditions and developmental stages to generate accurate predictions of tissue-specific gene expression and experimentally validated these predictions. These patterns of tissue-specific expression are more accurate than existing high-throughput experimental studies for nearly all tissues; they also complement existing experiments by addressing tissue-specific expression present at particular developmental stages and in small tissues. We used these predictions to address several experimentally challenging questions, including the identification of tissue-specific transcriptional motifs and the discovery of potential miRNA regulation specific to particular tissues. We also investigate the role of tissue context in gene function through tissue-specific functional interaction networks. To our knowledge, this is the first study producing high-accuracy predictions of tissue-specific expression and interactions for a metazoan organism based on whole-animal data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000417
JournalPLoS computational biology
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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