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Frontotemporal dementia: insights into the biological underpinnings of disease through gene co-expression network analysis

Ferrari, R; Forabosco, P; Vandrovcova, J; Botía, JA; Guelfi, S; Warren, JD; UK Brain Expression Consortium (UKBEC); ... Hardy, J; + view all (2016) Frontotemporal dementia: insights into the biological underpinnings of disease through gene co-expression network analysis. Molecular Neurodegeneration , 11 , Article 21. 10.1186/s13024-016-0085-4. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In frontotemporal dementia (FTD) there is a critical lack in the understanding of biological and molecular mechanisms involved in disease pathogenesis. The heterogeneous genetic features associated with FTD suggest that multiple disease-mechanisms are likely to contribute to the development of this neurodegenerative condition. We here present a systems biology approach with the scope of i) shedding light on the biological processes potentially implicated in the pathogenesis of FTD and ii) identifying novel potential risk factors for FTD. We performed a gene co-expression network analysis of microarray expression data from 101 individuals without neurodegenerative diseases to explore regional-specific co-expression patterns in the frontal and temporal cortices for 12 genes (MAPT, GRN, CHMP2B, CTSC, HLA-DRA, TMEM106B, C9orf72, VCP, UBQLN2, OPTN, TARDBP and FUS) associated with FTD and we then carried out gene set enrichment and pathway analyses, and investigated known protein-protein interactors (PPIs) of FTD-genes products. RESULTS: Gene co-expression networks revealed that several FTD-genes (such as MAPT and GRN, CTSC and HLA-DRA, TMEM106B, and C9orf72, VCP, UBQLN2 and OPTN) were clustering in modules of relevance in the frontal and temporal cortices. Functional annotation and pathway analyses of such modules indicated enrichment for: i) DNA metabolism, i.e. transcription regulation, DNA protection and chromatin remodelling (MAPT and GRN modules); ii) immune and lysosomal processes (CTSC and HLA-DRA modules), and; iii) protein meta/catabolism (C9orf72, VCP, UBQLN2 and OPTN, and TMEM106B modules). PPI analysis supported the results of the functional annotation and pathway analyses. CONCLUSIONS: This work further characterizes known FTD-genes and elaborates on their biological relevance to disease: not only do we indicate likely impacted regional-specific biological processes driven by FTD-genes containing modules, but also do we suggest novel potential risk factors among the FTD-genes interactors as targets for further mechanistic characterization in hypothesis driven cell biology work.

Type: Article
Title: Frontotemporal dementia: insights into the biological underpinnings of disease through gene co-expression network analysis
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13024-016-0085-4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13024-016-0085-4
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © Ferrari et al. 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://​creativecommons.​org/​licenses/​by/​4.​0/​), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://​creativecommons.​org/​publicdomain/​zero/​1.​0/​) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
UCL classification: UCL
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 > 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Genetics and Genomic Medicine Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1478912
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