With the completion of the Human Genome Project and the emergence of high-throughput technologies, a vast amount of molecular and biological data are being produced. Two of the most important and significant data sources come from microarray gene-expression experiments and respective databanks (e,g., Gene Expression Omnibus—GEO (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo)), and from molecular pathways and Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs) stored and curated in public (e.g., Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes—KEGG (http://www.genome.jp/kegg/pathway.html), Reactome (http://www.reactome.org/ReactomeGWT/entrypoint.html)) as well as in commercial repositories (e.g., Ingenuity IPA (http://www.ingenuity.com/products/ipa)). The association of these two sources aims to give new insight in disease understanding and reveal new molecular targets in the treatment of specific phenotypes.
Three major research lines and respective efforts that try to utilize and combine data from both of these sources could be identified, namely: (1) de novo reconstruction of GRNs, (2) identification of Gene-signatures, and (3) identification of differentially expressed GRN functional paths (i.e., sub-GRN paths that distinguish between different phenotypes). In this chapter, we give an overview of the existing methods that support the different types of gene-expression and GRN integration with a focus on methodologies that aim to identify phenotype-discriminant GRNs or subnetworks, and we also present our methodology.
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This work was supported by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement N° 270089 and by the European Union (European Social Fund—ESF) and by the European Union (European Social Fund—ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—Research Funding Program: Heracleitus II Investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund.
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