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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  2. Cowen, Lenore (Ed.)
    Abstract Summary Designing interventions to control gene regulation necessitates modeling a gene regulatory network by a causal graph. Currently, large-scale gene expression datasets from different conditions, cell types, disease states, and developmental time points are being collected. However, application of classical causal inference algorithms to infer gene regulatory networks based on such data is still challenging, requiring high sample sizes and computational resources. Here, we describe an algorithm that efficiently learns the differences in gene regulatory mechanisms between different conditions. Our difference causal inference (DCI) algorithm infers changes (i.e. edges that appeared, disappeared, or changed weight) between two causal graphs given gene expression data from the two conditions. This algorithm is efficient in its use of samples and computation since it infers the differences between causal graphs directly without estimating each possibly large causal graph separately. We provide a user-friendly Python implementation of DCI and also enable the user to learn the most robust difference causal graph across different tuning parameters via stability selection. Finally, we show how to apply DCI to single-cell RNA-seq data from different conditions and cell states, and we also validate our algorithm by predicting the effects of interventions. Availability and implementation Python package freely availablemore »at Supplementary information Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.« less
  3. Abstract

    Given the severity of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a major challenge is to rapidly repurpose existing approved drugs for clinical interventions. While a number of data-driven and experimental approaches have been suggested in the context of drug repurposing, a platform that systematically integrates available transcriptomic, proteomic and structural data is missing. More importantly, given that SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity is highly age-dependent, it is critical to integrate aging signatures into drug discovery platforms. We here take advantage of large-scale transcriptional drug screens combined with RNA-seq data of the lung epithelium with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as the aging lung. To identify robust druggable protein targets, we propose a principled causal framework that makes use of multiple data modalities. Our analysis highlights the importance of serine/threonine and tyrosine kinases as potential targets that intersect the SARS-CoV-2 and aging pathways. By integrating transcriptomic, proteomic and structural data that is available for many diseases, our drug discovery platform is broadly applicable. Rigorous in vitro experiments as well as clinical trials are needed to validate the identified candidate drugs.

  4. Abstract

    The development of single-cell methods for capturing different data modalities including imaging and sequencing has revolutionized our ability to identify heterogeneous cell states. Different data modalities provide different perspectives on a population of cells, and their integration is critical for studying cellular heterogeneity and its function. While various methods have been proposed to integrate different sequencing data modalities, coupling imaging and sequencing has been an open challenge. We here present an approach for integrating vastly different modalities by learning a probabilistic coupling between the different data modalities using autoencoders to map to a shared latent space. We validate this approach by integrating single-cell RNA-seq and chromatin images to identify distinct subpopulations of human naive CD4+ T-cells that are poised for activation. Collectively, our approach provides a framework to integrate and translate between data modalities that cannot yet be measured within the same cell for diverse applications in biomedical discovery.