Data- and expert-driven rule induction and filtering framework for functional interpretation and description of gene sets

Aleksandra Gruca, Marek Sikora
2017 Journal of Biomedical Semantics  
High-throughput methods in molecular biology provided researchers with abundance of experimental data that need to be interpreted in order to understand the experimental results. Manual methods of functional gene/protein group interpretation are expensive and time-consuming; therefore, there is a need to develop new efficient data mining methods and bioinformatics tools that could support the expert in the process of functional analysis of experimental results. Results: In this study, we
more » ... a comprehensive framework for the induction of logical rules in the form of combinations of Gene Ontology (GO) terms for functional interpretation of gene sets. Within the framework, we present four approaches: the fully automated method of rule induction without filtering, rule induction method with filtering, expert-driven rule filtering method based on additive utility functions, and expert-driven rule induction method based on the so-called seed or expert terms -the GO terms of special interest which should be included into the description. These GO terms usually describe some processes or pathways of particular interest, which are related to the experiment that is being performed. During the rule induction and filtering processes such seed terms are used as a base on which the description is build. Conclusion: We compare the descriptions obtained with different algorithms of rule induction and filtering and show that a filtering step is required to reduce the number of rules in the output set so that they could be analyzed by a human expert. However, filtering may remove information from the output rule set which is potentially interesting for the expert. Therefore, in the study, we present two methods that involve interaction with the expert during the process of rule induction. Both of them are able to reduce the number of rules, but only in the case of the method based on seed terms, each of the created rule includes expert terms in combination with the other terms. Further analysis of such combinations may provide new knowledge about biological processes and their combination with other pathways related to genes described by the rules. A suite of Matlab scripts that provide the functionality of a comprehensive framework for the rule induction and filtering presented in this study is available free of charge at:
doi:10.1186/s13326-017-0129-x pmid:28651634 pmcid:PMC5483958 fatcat:7jvnjasifrb4zfsiscaqw62eyi