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This article is part of the supplement: Selected articles from the First IEEE International Conference on Computational Advances in Bio and medical Sciences (ICCABS 2011): Genomics

Open Access Research

CMRF: analyzing differential gene regulation in two group perturbation experiments

Nirmalya Bandyopadhyay*, Manas Somaiya, Sanjay Ranka and Tamer Kahveci

Author Affiliations

Computer and Information Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32603, USA

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13(Suppl 2):S2  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-S2-S2

Published: 12 April 2012



Microarray experiments often measure expressions of genes taken from sample tissues in the presence of external perturbations such as medication, radiation, or disease. The external perturbation can change the expressions of some genes directly or indirectly through gene interaction network. In this paper, we focus on an important class of such microarray experiments that inherently have two groups of tissue samples. When such different groups exist, the changes in expressions for some of the genes after the perturbation can be different between the two groups. It is not only important to identify the genes that respond differently across the two groups, but also to mine the reason behind this differential response. In this paper, we aim to identify the cause of this differential behavior of genes, whether because of the perturbation or due to interactions with other genes.


We propose a new probabilistic Bayesian method CMRF based on Markov Random Field to identify such genes. CMRF leverages the information about gene interactions as the prior of the model. We compare the accuracy of CMRF with SSEM and Student's t test and our old method SMRF on semi-synthetic dataset generated from microarray data. CMRF obtains high accuracy and outperforms all the other three methods. We also conduct a statistical significance test using a parametric noise based experiment to evaluate the accuracy of our method. In this experiment, CMRF generates significant regions of confidence for various parameter settings.


In this paper, we solved the problem of finding primarily differentially regulated genes in the presence of external perturbations when the data is sampled from two groups. The probabilistic Bayesian method CMRF based on Markov Random Field incorporates dependency structure of the gene networks as the prior to the model. Experimental results on synthetic and real datasets demonstrated the superiority of CMRF compared to other simple techniques.