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EIEPCF: accurate inference of functional gene regulatory networks by eliminating indirect effects from confounding factors

作  者:Huixiang Peng, Jing Xu, Kangchen Liu, Fang Liu, Aidi Zhang, Xiujun Zhang*
刊物名称:Briefings in Functional Genomics


Reconstructing functional gene regulatory networks (GRNs) is a primary prerequisite for understanding pathogenic mechanisms and curing diseases in animals, and it also provides an important foundation for cultivating vegetable and fruit varieties that are resistant to diseases and corrosion in plants. Many computational methods have been developed to infer GRNs, but most of the regulatory relationships between genes obtained by these methods are biased. Eliminating indirect effects in GRNs remains a significant challenge for researchers. In this work, we propose a novel approach for inferring functional GRNs, named EIEPCF (eliminating indirect effects produced by confounding factors), which eliminates indirect effects caused by confounding factors. This method eliminates the influence of confounding factors on regulatory factors and target genes by measuring the similarity between their residuals. The validation results of the EIEPCF method on simulation studies, the gold-standard networks provided by the DREAM3 Challenge and the real gene networks of Escherichia coli demonstrate that it achieves significantly higher accuracy compared to other popular computational methods for inferring GRNs. As a case study, we utilized the EIEPCF method to reconstruct the cold-resistant specific GRN from gene expression data of cold-resistant in Arabidopsis thaliana. The source code and data are available at https://github.com/zhanglab-wbgcas/EIEPCF.