Network inference provides a global view of the relations existing between gene expression in a given transcriptomic experiment (often only for a restricted list of chosen genes). However, it is still a challenging problem: even if the cost of sequencing techniques has decreased over the last years, the number of samples in a given experiment is still (very) small compared to the number of genes.Results:
We propose a method to increase the reliability of the inference when RNA-seq expression data have been measured together with an auxiliary dataset that can provide external information on gene expression similarity between samples. Our statistical approach, hd-MI, is based on imputation for samples without available RNA-seq data that are considered as missing data but are observed on the secondary dataset. hd-MI can improve the reliability of the inference for missing rates up to 30% and provides more stable networks with a smaller number of false positive edges. On a biological point of view, hd-MI was also found relevant to infer networks from RNA-seq data acquired in adipose tissue during a nutritional intervention in obese individuals. In these networks, novel links between genes were highlighted, as well as an improved comparability between the two steps of the nutritional intervention.Availability and implementation:
Software and sample data are available as an R package, RNAseqNet, that can be downloaded from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).Contact:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.orgSupplementary information:
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.