Genetic network identifies novel pathways contributing to atherosclerosis susceptibility in the innominate artery BMC Med Genomics. 2014 Aug 12, Albright J, Quizon PM, Lusis AJ, Bennett BJ.
Department of Genetics, Nutrition Research Institute, University of North, Carolina, Chapel Hill, 500 Laureate Way, Suite 2303, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA
Atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease, results from both genetic and environmental factors.
In the current study we take a systems-based approach using weighted gene co-expression analysis to identify a candidate pathway of genes related to atherosclerosis. Bioinformatic analyses are performed to identify candidate genes and interactions and several novel genes are characterized using in-vitro studies.
We identify 1 coexpression module associated with innominate artery atherosclerosis that is also enriched for inflammatory and macrophage gene signatures. Using a series of bioinformatics analysis, we further prioritize the genes in this pathway and identify Cd44 as a critical mediator of the atherosclerosis. We validate our predictions generated by the network analysis using Cd44 knockout mice.
These results indicate that alterations in Cd44 expression mediate inflammation through a complex transcriptional network involving a number of previously uncharacterized genes