Phylogenetic profiling, a network inference method based on gene inheritance profiles, has been widely used to construct functional gene networks in microbes. However, its utility for network inference in higher eukaryotes has been limited. An improved algorithm with an indepth understanding of pathway evolution may overcome this limitation. In this study, we investigated the effects of taxonomic structures on co-inheritance analysis using 2,144 reference species in four query species: Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, and Homo sapiens.We observed three clusters of reference species based on a principal component analysis of the phylogenetic profiles, which correspond to the three domains of life-Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota-suggesting that pathways inherit primarily within specific domains or lower-ranked taxonomic groups during speciation. Hence, the co-inheritance pattern within a taxonomic group may be eroded by confounding inheritance patterns from irrelevant taxonomic groups. We demonstrated that coinheritance analysis within domains substantially improved network inference not only in microbe species but also in the higher eukaryotes, including humans. Although we observed two sub-domain clusters of reference species within Eukaryota, co-inheritance analysis within these sub-domain taxonomic groups only marginally improved network inference. Therefore, we conclude that co-inheritance analysis within domains is the optimal approach to network inference with the given reference species. The construction of a series of human gene networks with increasing sample sizes of the reference species for each domain revealed that the size of the high-accuracy networks increased as additional reference species genomes were included, suggesting that within-domain co-inheritance analysis will continue to expand human gene networks as genomes of additional species are sequenced. Taken together, we propose that co-inheritance analysis within the domains of life will greatly potentiate the use of the expected onslaught of sequenced genomes in the study of molecular pathways in higher eukaryotes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)