Identifying gene interaction enrichment for gene expression data

PLoS One. 2009 Nov 30;4(11):e8064. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008064.


Gene set analysis allows the inclusion of knowledge from established gene sets, such as gene pathways, and potentially improves the power of detecting differentially expressed genes. However, conventional methods of gene set analysis focus on gene marginal effects in a gene set, and ignore gene interactions which may contribute to complex human diseases. In this study, we propose a method of gene interaction enrichment analysis, which incorporates knowledge of predefined gene sets (e.g. gene pathways) to identify enriched gene interaction effects on a phenotype of interest. In our proposed method, we also discuss the reduction of irrelevant genes and the extraction of a core set of gene interactions for an identified gene set, which contribute to the statistical variation of a phenotype of interest. The utility of our method is demonstrated through analyses on two publicly available microarray datasets. The results show that our method can identify gene sets that show strong gene interaction enrichments. The enriched gene interactions identified by our method may provide clues to new gene regulation mechanisms related to the studied phenotypes. In summary, our method offers a powerful tool for researchers to exhaustively examine the large numbers of gene interactions associated with complex human diseases, and can be a useful complement to classical gene set analyses which only considers single genes in a gene set.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, p53*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A