CRNET: an efficient sampling approach to infer functional regulatory networks by integrating large-scale ChIP-seq and time-course RNA-seq data

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Abstract

Motivation:

NGS techniques have been widely applied in genetic and epigenetic studies. Multiple ChIP-seq and RNA-seq profiles can now be jointly used to infer functional regulatory networks (FRNs). However, existing methods suffer from either oversimplified assumption on transcription factor (TF) regulation or slow convergence of sampling for FRN inference from large-scale ChIP-seq and time-course RNA-seq data.

Results:

We developed an efficient Bayesian integration method (CRNET) for FRN inference using a two-stage Gibbs sampler to estimate iteratively hidden TF activities and the posterior probabilities of binding events. A novel statistic measure that jointly considers regulation strength and regression error enables the sampling process of CRNET to converge quickly, thus making CRNET very efficient for large-scale FRN inference. Experiments on synthetic and benchmark data showed a significantly improved performance of CRNET when compared with existing methods. CRNET was applied to breast cancer data to identify FRNs functional at promoter or enhancer regions in breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Transcription factor MYC is predicted as a key functional factor in both promoter and enhancer FRNs. We experimentally validated the regulation effects of MYC on CRNET-predicted target genes using appropriate RNAi approaches in MCF-7 cells.

Availability and implementation:

R scripts of CRNET are available at http://www.cbil.ece.vt.edu/software.htm.

Contact:

xuan@vt.edu

Supplementary information:

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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