Background Inferring gene regulatory networks is one of the most interesting research areas in the systems biology. Many inference methods have been developed by using a variety of computational models and approaches. However, there are two issues to solve. First, depending on the structural or computational model of inference method, the results tend to be inconsistent due to innately different advantages and limitations of the methods. Therefore the combination of dissimilar approaches is demanded as an alternative way in order to overcome the limitations of standalone methods through complementary integration. Second, sparse linear regression that is penalized by the regularization parameter (lasso) and bootstrapping-based sparse linear regression methods were suggested in state of the art methods for network inference but they are not effective for a small sample size data and also a true regulator could be missed if the target gene is strongly affected by an indirect regulator with high correlation or another true regulator. Results We present two novel network inference methods based on the integration of three different criteria, (i) z-score to measure the variation of gene expression from knockout data, (ii) mutual information for the dependency between two genes, and (iii) linear regression-based feature selection. Based on these criterion, we propose a lasso-based random feature selection algorithm (LARF) to achieve better performance overcoming the limitations of bootstrapping as mentioned above. Conclusions In this work, there are three main contributions. First, our z score-based method to measure gene expression variations from knockout data is more effective than similar criteria of related works. Second, we confirmed that the true regulator selection can be effectively improved by LARF. Lastly, we verified that an integrative approach can clearly outperform a single method when two different methods are effectively jointed. In the experiments, our methods were validated by outperforming the state of the art methods on DREAM challenge data, and then LARF was applied to inferences of gene regulatory network associated with psychiatric disorders.
BMC Medical Genomics
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