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Tools enabling the elucidation of molecular pathways active in human disease: Application to Hepatitis C virus infection

David J Reiss1, Iliana Avila-Campillo1, Vesteinn Thorsson1, Benno Schwikowski12 and Timothy Galitski1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Systems Biology, 1441 N. 34th Street, Seattle, WA 98103, USA

2 Institut Pasteur, 25–28 Rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris CEDEX 15, France

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:154  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-154

Published: 20 June 2005

Abstract

Background

The extraction of biological knowledge from genome-scale data sets requires its analysis in the context of additional biological information. The importance of integrating experimental data sets with molecular interaction networks has been recognized and applied to the study of model organisms, but its systematic application to the study of human disease has lagged behind due to the lack of tools for performing such integration.

Results

We have developed techniques and software tools for simplifying and streamlining the process of integration of diverse experimental data types in molecular networks, as well as for the analysis of these networks. We applied these techniques to extract, from genomic expression data from Hepatitis C virus-infected liver tissue, potentially useful hypotheses related to the onset of this disease. Our integration of the expression data with large-scale molecular interaction networks and subsequent analyses identified molecular pathways that appear to be induced or repressed in the response to Hepatitis C viral infection.

Conclusion

The methods and tools we have implemented allow for the efficient dynamic integration and analysis of diverse data in a major human disease system. This integrated data set in turn enabled simple analyses to yield hypotheses related to the response to Hepatitis C viral infection.