Identifying gene regulatory network rewiring using latent differential graphical models.


Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) are highly dynamic among different tissue types. Identifying tissue-specific gene regulation is critically important to understand gene function in a particular cellular context. Graphical models have been used to estimate GRN from gene expression data to distinguish direct interactions from indirect associations. However, most existing methods estimate GRN for a specific cell/tissue type or in a tissue-naive way, or do not specifically focus on network rewiring between different tissues. Here, we describe a new method called Latent Differential Graphical Model (LDGM). The motivation of our method is to estimate the differential network between two tissue types directly without inferring the network for individual tissues, which has the advantage of utilizing much smaller sample size to achieve reliable differential network estimation. Our simulation results demonstrated that LDGM consistently outperforms other Gaussian graphical model based methods. We further evaluated LDGM by applying to the brain and blood gene expression data from the GTEx consortium. We also applied LDGM to identify network rewiring between cancer subtypes using the TCGA breast cancer samples. Our results suggest that LDGM is an effective method to infer differential network using high-throughput gene expression data to identify GRN dynamics among different cellular conditions.

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