Repository of proposed pathways and protein-protein interaction networks in age-related macular degeneration

NPJ Aging Mech Dis. 2020 Jan 7:6:2. doi: 10.1038/s41514-019-0039-5. eCollection 2020.


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the commonest causes of sight loss in the elderly population and to date there is no intervention that slows or prevents early AMD disease progressing to blinding neovascularization or geographic atrophy. AMD is a complex disease and factors proposed to contribute to the development and progression of disease include aging, genetics, epigenetics, oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory state, and life-style factors such as smoking, alcohol, and high fat diet. Here, we generate a knowledge repository of pathways and protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks likely to be implicated in AMD pathogenesis, such as complement activation, lipid trafficking and metabolism, vitamin A cycle, oxidative stress, proteostasis, bioenergetics, autophagy/mitophagy, extracellular matrix (ECM) turnover, and choroidal vascular dropout. Two disctinct clusters ermerged from the networks for parainflamation and ECM homeostasis, which may represent two different disease modules underlying AMD pathology. Our analyses also suggest that the disease manifests primarily in RPE/choroid and less in neural retina. The use of standardized syntax when generating maps of these biological processes (SBGN standard) and networks (PSI standard) enables visualization of complex information in graphical programs such as CellDesigner and Cytoscape and enhances reusability and extension of data. The ability to focus onto subnetworks, multiple visualizations and simulation options will enable the AMD research community to computationally model subnetworks or to test experimentally new hypotheses arising from connectivities in the AMD pathway map.

Keywords: Ageing; Proteins.