Network based analyses of gene expression profile of LCN2 overexpression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma

Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 23;4:5403. doi: 10.1038/srep05403.


LCN2 (lipocalin 2) is a member of the lipocalin family of proteins that transport small, hydrophobic ligands. LCN2 is elevated in various cancers including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). In this study, LCN2 was overexpressed in the EC109 ESCC cell line and we applied integrated analyses of the gene expression data to identify protein-protein interactions (PPI) network to enhance our understanding of the role of LCN2 in ESCC. Through further mining of PPI sub-networks, hundreds of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified to interact with thousands of other proteins. Subcellular localization analyses found the DEGs and their directly or indirectly interacting proteins distributed in multiple layers, which was applied to analyze the possible paths between two DEGs. Gene Ontology annotation generated a functional annotation map and found hundreds of significant terms, especially those associated with the known and potential roles of LCN2 protein. The algorithm of Random Walk with Restart was applied to prioritize the DEGs and identified several cancer-related DEGs ranked closest to LCN2 protein. These analyses based on PPI network have greatly expanded our understanding of the mRNA expression profile of LCN2 overexpression for future examination of the roles and mechanisms of LCN2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism*
  • Algorithms
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / metabolism*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Up-Regulation


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • LCN2 protein, human
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins