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Gene co-expression networks shed light into diseases of brain iron accumulation

Bettencourt, C; Forabosco, P; Wiethoff, S; Heidari, M; Johnstone, DM; Botía, JA; Collingwood, JF; ... Houlden, H; + view all (2016) Gene co-expression networks shed light into diseases of brain iron accumulation. Neurobiology of Disease , 87 pp. 59-68. 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.12.004. Green open access

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Abstract

Aberrant brain iron deposition is observed in both common and rare neurodegenerative disorders, including those categorized as Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA), which are characterized by focal iron accumulation in the basal ganglia. Two NBIA genes are directly involved in iron metabolism, but whether other NBIA-related genes also regulate iron homeostasis in the human brain, and whether aberrant iron deposition contributes to neurodegenerative processes remains largely unknown. This study aims to expand our understanding of these iron overload diseases and identify relationships between known NBIA genes and their main interacting partners by using a systems biology approach. We used whole-transcriptome gene expression data from human brain samples originating from 101 neuropathologically normal individuals (10 brain regions) to generate weighted gene co-expression networks and cluster the 10 known NBIA genes in an unsupervised manner. We investigated NBIA-enriched networks for relevant cell types and pathways, and whether they are disrupted by iron loading in NBIA diseased tissue and in an in vivo mouse model. We identified two basal ganglia gene co-expression modules significantly enriched for NBIA genes, which resemble neuronal and oligodendrocytic signatures. These NBIA gene networks are enriched for iron-related genes, and implicate synapse and lipid metabolism related pathways. Our data also indicates that these networks are disrupted by excessive brain iron loading. We identified multiple cell types in the origin of NBIA disorders. We also found unforeseen links between NBIA networks and iron-related processes, and demonstrate convergent pathways connecting NBIAs and phenotypically overlapping diseases. Our results are of further relevance for these diseases by providing candidates for new causative genes and possible points for therapeutic intervention.

Type: Article
Title: Gene co-expression networks shed light into diseases of brain iron accumulation
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.12.004
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2015.12.004
Language: English
Additional information: © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Human brain, Iron metabolism, NBIA, WGCNA, Whole-transcriptome analysis
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476646
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