A Provisional Gene Regulatory Atlas for Mouse Heart Development
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Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is one of the most common birth defects. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying normal cardiac development is an important step towards early identification of abnormalities during the developmental program and towards the creation of early intervention strategies. We developed a novel computational strategy for leveraging high-content data sets, including a large selection of microarray data associated with mouse cardiac development, mouse genome sequence, ChIP-seq data of selected mouse transcription factors and Y2H data of mouse protein-protein interactions, to infer the active transcriptional regulatory network of mouse cardiac development. We identified phase-specific expression activity for 765 overlapping gene co-expression modules that were defined for obtained cardiac lineage microarray data. For each co-expression module, we identified the phase of cardiac development where gene expression for that module was higher than other phases. Co-expression modules were found to be consistent with biological pathway knowledge in Wikipathways, and met expectations for enrichment of pathways involved in heart lineage development. Over 359,000 transcription factor-target relationships were inferred by analyzing the promoter sequences within each gene module for overrepresentation against the JASPAR database of Transcription Factor Binding Site (TFBS) motifs. The provisional regulatory network will provide a framework of studying the genetic basis of CHD.
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