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Gene regulatory networks provide the systematic view of molecular interactions in a complex living system. However, constructing large-scale gene regulatory networks is one of the most challenging problems in systems biology. Also large burst sets of biological data require a proper integration technique for reliable gene regulatory network construction. Here we present a new reverse engineering approach based on Bayesian model averaging which attempts to combine all the appropriate models describing interactions among genes. This Bayesian approach with a prior based on the Gibbs distribution provides an efficient means to integrate multiple sources of biological data. In a simulation study with maximum of 2000 genes, our method shows better sensitivity than previous elastic-net and Gaussian graphical models, with a fixed specificity of 0.99. The study also shows that the proposed method outperforms the other standard methods for a DREAM dataset generated by nonlinear stochastic models. In brain tumor data analysis, three large-scale networks consisting of 4422 genes were built using the gene expression of non-tumor, low and high grade tumor mRNA expression samples, along with DNA-protein binding affinity information. We found that genes having a large variation of degree distribution among the three tumor networks are the ones that see most involved in regulatory and developmental processes, which possibly gives a novel insight concerning conventional differentially expressed gene analysis.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2012