Understanding tissue-specificity with human tissue-specific regulatory networks


Tissue-specificity is important for the function of human body. However, it is still not clear how the functional diversity of different tissues is achieved. Here we construct gene regulatory networks in 13 human tissues by integrating large-scale transcription factor (TF)-gene regulations with gene and protein expression data. By comparing these regulatory networks, we find many tissue-specific regulations that are important for tissue identity. In particular, the tissue-specific TFs are found to regulate more genes than those expressed in multiple tissues, and the processes regulated by these tissue-specific TFs are closely related to tissue functions. Moreover, the regulations that are present in certain tissue are found to be enriched in the tissue associated disease genes, and these networks provide the molecular context of disease genes. Therefore, recognizing tissuespecific regulatory networks can help better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying diseases and identify new disease genes.

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Correspondence to Xingming Zhao or Deshuang Huang.

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Guo, W., Zhu, L., Deng, S. et al. Understanding tissue-specificity with human tissue-specific regulatory networks. Sci. China Inf. Sci. 59, 070105 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11432-016-5582-0

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  • tissue-specificity
  • gene regulatory network
  • transcription factor
  • tissue-specific regulation
  • disease gene