Thursday, November 19, 2009

Molecular Systems Biology - Dissection of a complex transcriptional response using genome-wide transcriptional modelling

A paper has finally been published based on some of the work I did during my PhD. Really thrilled about it and in a top journal too. Thanks go to Martino for a lot of hard work.


Modern genomics technologies generate huge data sets creating a demand for systems level, experimentally verified, analysis techniques. We examined the transcriptional response to DNA damage in a human T cell line (MOLT4) using microarrays. By measuring both mRNA accumulation and degradation over a short time course, we were able to construct a mechanistic model of the transcriptional response. The model predicted three dominant transcriptional activity profiles—an early response controlled by NFkappaB and c-Jun, a delayed response controlled by p53, and a late response related to cell cycle re-entry. The method also identified, with defined confidence limits, the transcriptional targets associated with each activity. Experimental inhibition of NFkappaB, c-Jun and p53 confirmed that target predictions were accurate. Model predictions directly explained 70% of the 200 most significantly upregulated genes in the DNA-damage response. Genome-wide transcriptional modelling (GWTM) requires no prior knowledge of either transcription factors or their targets. GWTM is an economical and effective method for identifying the main transcriptional activators in a complex response and confidently predicting their targets.