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An additional k-means clustering step improves the biological features of WGCNA gene co-expression networks

Botía, JA; Vandrovcova, J; Forabosco, P; Guelfi, S; D'Sa, K; United Kingdom Brain Expression Consortium, .; Hardy, J; ... Weale, ME; + view all (2017) An additional k-means clustering step improves the biological features of WGCNA gene co-expression networks. BMC Systems Biology , 11 , Article 47. 10.1186/s12918-017-0420-6. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA) is a widely used R software package for the generation of gene co-expression networks (GCN). WGCNA generates both a GCN and a derived partitioning of clusters of genes (modules). We propose k-means clustering as an additional processing step to conventional WGCNA, which we have implemented in the R package km2gcn (k-means to gene co-expression network, https://github.com/juanbot/km2gcn). Results: We assessed our method on networks created from UKBEC data (10 different human brain tissues), on networks created from GTEx data (42 human tissues, including 13 brain tissues), and on simulated networks derived from GTEx data. We observed substantially improved module properties, including: (1) few or zero misplaced genes; (2) increased counts of replicable clusters in alternate tissues (x3.1 on average); (3) improved enrichment of Gene Ontology terms (seen in 48/52 GCNs) (4) improved cell type enrichment signals (seen in 21/23 brain GCNs); and (5) more accurate partitions in simulated data according to a range of similarity indices. Conclusions: The results obtained from our investigations indicate that our k-means method, applied as an adjunct to standard WGCNA, results in better network partitions. These improved partitions enable more fruitful downstream analyses, as gene modules are more biologically meaningful.

Type: Article
Title: An additional k-means clustering step improves the biological features of WGCNA gene co-expression networks
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12918-017-0420-6
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s12918-017-0420-6
Language: English
Additional information: 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.
Keywords: Gene co-expression networks on brain, K-means applied to WGCNA, Assessment of better gene clusters on bulk tissue
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/1552788
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