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Context-sensitive network-based disease genetics prediction and its implications in drug discovery.


Disease phenotype networks play an important role in computational approaches to identifying new disease-gene associations. Current disease phenotype networks often model disease relationships based on pairwise similarities, therefore ignore the specific context on how two diseases are connected. In this study, we propose a new strategy to model disease associations using context-sensitive networks (CSNs). We developed a CSN-based phenome-driven approach for disease genetics prediction, and investigated the translational potential of the predicted genes in drug discovery.We constructed CSNs by directly connecting diseases with associated phenotypes. Here, we constructed two CSNs using different data sources; the two networks contain 26 790 and 13 822 nodes respectively. We integrated the CSNs with a genetic functional relationship network and predicted disease genes using a network-based ranking algorithm. For comparison, we built Similarity-Based disease Networks (SBN) using the same disease phenotype data. In a de novo cross validation for 3324 diseases, the CSN-based approach significantly increased the average rank from top 12.6 to top 8.8% for all tested genes comparing with the SBN-based approach ([Formula: see text]). The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the CSN approach was also significantly higher than the SBN approach (0.91 versus 0.87, [Formula: see text]). In addition, we predicted genes for Parkinson's disease using CSNs, and demonstrated that the top-ranked genes are highly relevant to PD pathologenesis. We pin-pointed a top-ranked drug target gene for PD, and found its association with neurodegeneration supported by literature. In summary, CSNs lead to significantly improve the disease genetics prediction comparing with SBNs and provide leads for potential drug CONTACT: