In silico experiment system for testing hypothesis on gene functions using three condition specific biological networks

Chai Jin Lee, Dongwon Kang, Sangseon Lee, Sunwon Lee, Jaewoo Kang, Sun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Determining functions of a gene requires time consuming, expensive biological experiments. Scientists can speed up this experimental process if the literature information and biological networks can be adequately provided. In this paper, we present a web-based information system that can perform in silico experiments of computationally testing hypothesis on the function of a gene. A hypothesis that is specified in English by the user is converted to genes using a literature and knowledge mining system called BEST. Condition-specific TF, miRNA and PPI (protein-protein interaction) networks are automatically generated by projecting gene and miRNA expression data to template networks. Then, an in silico experiment is to test how well the target genes are connected from the knockout gene through the condition-specific networks. The test result visualizes path from the knockout gene to the target genes in the three networks. Statistical and information-theoretic scores are provided on the resulting web page to help scientists either accept or reject the hypothesis being tested. Our web-based system was extensively tested using three data sets, such as E2f1, Lrrk2, and Dicer1 knockout data sets. We were able to re-produce gene functions reported in the original research papers. In addition, we comprehensively tested with all disease names in MalaCards as hypothesis to show the effectiveness of our system. Our in silico experiment system can be very useful in suggesting biological mechanisms which can be further tested in vivo or in vitro. Availability:

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Collaborative Genome Program for Fostering New Post-Genome Industry of the National Research Foundation (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) (No. NRF-2014M3C9A3063541) and Next-Generation Information Computing Development Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT (No. NRF- 2017M3C4A7065887).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Computational biology
  • Gene regulatory networks
  • Network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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