BTNET: Boosted tree based gene regulatory network inference algorithm using time-course measurement data

Sungjoon Park, Jung Min Kim, Wonho Shin, Sung Won Han, Minji Jeon, Hyun Jin Jang, Ik Soon Jang, Jaewoo Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Identifying gene regulatory networks is an important task for understanding biological systems. Time-course measurement data became a valuable resource for inferring gene regulatory networks. Various methods have been presented for reconstructing the networks from time-course measurement data. However, existing methods have been validated on only a limited number of benchmark datasets, and rarely verified on real biological systems. Results: We first integrated benchmark time-course gene expression datasets from previous studies and reassessed the baseline methods. We observed that GENIE3-time, a tree-based ensemble method, achieved the best performance among the baselines. In this study, we introduce BTNET, a boosted tree based gene regulatory network inference algorithm which improves the state-of-the-art. We quantitatively validated BTNET on the integrated benchmark dataset. The AUROC and AUPR scores of BTNET were higher than those of the baselines. We also qualitatively validated the results of BTNET through an experiment on neuroblastoma cells treated with an antidepressant. The inferred regulatory network from BTNET showed that brachyury, a transcription factor, was regulated by fluoxetine, an antidepressant, which was verified by the expression of its downstream genes. Conclusions: We present BTENT that infers a GRN from time-course measurement data using boosting algorithms. Our model achieved the highest AUROC and AUPR scores on the integrated benchmark dataset. We further validated BTNET qualitatively through a wet-lab experiment and showed that BTNET can produce biologically meaningful results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalBMC Systems Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 19

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Boosted tree
  • Gene regulatory network inference
  • Time course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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