Pathway Analysis Incorporating Protein-Protein Interaction Networks Identified Candidate Pathways for the Seven Common Diseases

Abstract

Pathway analysis has become popular as a secondary analysis strategy for genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Most of the current pathway analysis methods aggregate signals from the main effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes within a pathway without considering the effects of gene-gene interactions. However, gene-gene interactions can also have critical effects on complex diseases. Protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks have been used to define gene pairs for the gene-gene interaction tests. Incorporating the PPI information to define gene pairs for interaction tests within pathways can increase the power for pathway-based association tests. We propose a pathway association test, which aggregates the interaction signals in PPI networks within a pathway, for GWAS with case-control samples. Gene size is properly considered in the test so that genes do not contribute more to the test statistic simply due to their size. Simulation studies were performed to verify that the method is a valid test and can have more power than other pathway association tests in the presence of gene-gene interactions within a pathway under different scenarios. We applied the test to the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium GWAS datasets for seven common diseases. The most significant pathway is the chaperones modulate interferon signaling pathway for Crohn's disease (p-value = 0.0003). The pathway modulates interferon gamma, which induces the JAK/STAT pathway that is involved in Crohn's disease. Several other pathways that have functional implications for the seven diseases were also identified. The proposed test based on gene-gene interaction signals in PPI networks can be used as a complementary tool to the current existing pathway analysis methods focusing on main effects of genes. An efficient software implementing the method is freely available at http://puppi.sourceforge.net.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162910

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Lin2016PathwayAI, title={Pathway Analysis Incorporating Protein-Protein Interaction Networks Identified Candidate Pathways for the Seven Common Diseases}, author={Peng-Lin Lin and Ya-Wen Yu and Ren-Hua Chung}, booktitle={PloS one}, year={2016} }