Chain functions and scoring functions in genetic networks

I. Gat-Viks*, R. Shamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the grand challenges of system biology is to reconstruct the network of regulatory control among genes and proteins. High throughput data, particularly from expression experiments, may gradually make this possible in the future. Here we address two key ingredients in any such 'reverse engineering' effort: The choice of a biologically relevant, yet restricted, set of potential regulation functions, and the appropriate score to evaluate candidate regulatory relations. We propose a set of regulation functions which we call chain functions, and argue for their ubiquity in biological networks. We analyze their complexity and show that their number is exponentially smaller than all boolean functions of the same dimension. We define two new scores: one evaluating the fitness of a candidate set of regulators of a particular gene, and the other evaluating a candidate function. Both scores use established statistical methods. Finally, we test our methods on experimental gene expression data from the yeast galactose pathway. We show the utility of using chain functions and the improved inference using our scores in comparison to several extant scores. We demonstrate that the combined use of the two scores gives an extra advantage. We expect both chain functions and the new scores to be helpful in future attempts to infer regulatory networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i108-i117
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2003


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