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Using knowledge graphs to infer gene expression in plants

TitleUsing knowledge graphs to infer gene expression in plants
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsThessen, AE, Cooper, L, Swetnam, TL, Hegde, H, Reese, J, Elser, J, Jaiswal, P
JournalFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Date Published2023
KeywordsGene Expression Regulation, knowledge graphs, ontologies

INTRODUCTION: Climate change is already affecting ecosystems around the world and forcing us to adapt to meet societal needs. The speed with which climate change is progressing necessitates a massive scaling up of the number of species with understood genotype-environment-phenotype (G×E×P) dynamics in order to increase ecosystem and agriculture resilience. An important part of predicting phenotype is understanding the complex gene regulatory networks present in organisms. Previous work has demonstrated that knowledge about one species can be applied to another using ontologically-supported knowledge bases that exploit homologous structures and homologous genes. These types of structures that can apply knowledge about one species to another have the potential to enable the massive scaling up that is needed through experimentation.

METHODS: We developed one such structure, a knowledge graph (KG) using information from Planteome and the EMBL-EBI Expression Atlas that connects gene expression, molecular interactions, functions, and pathways to homology-based gene annotations. Our preliminary analysis uses data from gene expression studies in and plants exposed to drought conditions.

RESULTS: A graph query identified 16 pairs of homologous genes in these two taxa, some of which show opposite patterns of gene expression in response to drought. As expected, analysis of the upstream cis-regulatory region of these genes revealed that homologs with similar expression behavior had conserved cis-regulatory regions and potential interaction with similar trans-elements, unlike homologs that changed their expression in opposite ways.

DISCUSSION: This suggests that even though the homologous pairs share common ancestry and functional roles, predicting expression and phenotype through homology inference needs careful consideration of integrating cis and trans-regulatory components in the curated and inferred knowledge graph.

Alternate JournalFront Artif Intell
PubMed ID37384147
PubMed Central IDPMC10298150