Despite significant advances in the identification of specific genes and pathways important in the onset and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC), mechanistic insight into the relationship between driver and susceptibility genes is needed. In this paper, we systematically explore physical interactions between causative and putative CRC susceptibility genes to reveal the molecular mechanisms involved in tumor biology. In total, we identify 622 high-confidence protein-protein interactions between 42 CRC causative and 65 candidate susceptibility genes. Among the latter, 28 are located in the CRCS9 loci, related to the etiology of CRC, and 17 are co-expressed with well-established CRC drivers, which makes them excellent candidates for further functional studies. Moreover, we find a high degree of functional coherence between connected driver and susceptibility genes, which indicates that our network-based strategy is useful to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms of those proteins with unknown roles in CRC.
Keywords: Colorectal cancer; Network biology; Protein interaction networks.
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