Computational Prediction of Pathogenic Network Modules in Fusarium verticillioides
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Fusarium verticillioides is a fungal pathogen that triggers stalk rots and ear rots in maize. In this study, we performed a comparative analysis of wild type and loss-of-virulence mutant F. verticillioides co-expression networks to identify subnetwork modules that are associated with its pathogenicity. We constructed the F. verticillioides co-expression networks from RNA-Seq data and searched through these networks to identify subnetwork modules that are differentially activated between the wild type and mutant F. verticillioides, which considerably differ in terms of pathogenic potentials. A greedy seed-and-extend approach was utilized in our search, where we also used an efficient branch-out technique for reliable prediction of functional subnetwork modules in the fungus. Through our analysis, we identified four potential pathogenicity-associated subnetwork modules, each of which consists of interacting genes with coordinated expression patterns, but whose activation level is significantly different in the wild type and the mutant. The predicted modules were comprised of functionally coherent genes and topologically cohesive. Furthermore, they contained several orthologs of known pathogenic genes in other fungi, which may play important roles in the fungal pathogenesis.
author list (cited authors)
Kim, M., Zhang, H., Woloshuk, C., Shim, W., & Yoon, B.