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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Coordinated modular functionality and prognostic potential of a heart failure biomarker-driven interaction network

Francisco Azuaje1*, Yvan Devaux1 and Daniel R Wagner12

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Cardiovascular Research, Centre de Recherche Public - Santé, L-1150, Luxembourg

2 Division of Cardiology, Centre Hospitalier, L-1210, Luxembourg

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BMC Systems Biology 2010, 4:60  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-4-60

Published: 12 May 2010

Abstract

Background

The identification of potentially relevant biomarkers and a deeper understanding of molecular mechanisms related to heart failure (HF) development can be enhanced by the implementation of biological network-based analyses. To support these efforts, here we report a global network of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) relevant to HF, which was characterized through integrative bioinformatic analyses of multiple sources of "omic" information.

Results

We found that the structural and functional architecture of this PPI network is highly modular. These network modules can be assigned to specialized processes, specific cellular regions and their functional roles tend to partially overlap. Our results suggest that HF biomarkers may be defined as key coordinators of intra- and inter-module communication. Putative biomarkers can, in general, be distinguished as "information traffic" mediators within this network. The top high traffic proteins are encoded by genes that are not highly differentially expressed across HF and non-HF patients. Nevertheless, we present evidence that the integration of expression patterns from high traffic genes may support accurate prediction of HF. We quantitatively demonstrate that intra- and inter-module functional activity may be controlled by a family of transcription factors known to be associated with the prevention of hypertrophy.

Conclusion

The systems-driven analysis reported here provides the basis for the identification of potentially novel biomarkers and understanding HF-related mechanisms in a more comprehensive and integrated way.