Rational association of genes with traits using a genome-scale gene network for Arabidopsis thaliana

Insuk Lee, Bindu Ambaru, Pranjali Thakkar, Edward M. Marcotte, Seung Y. Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

249 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce a rational approach for associating genes with plant traits by combined use of a genome-scale functional network and targeted reverse genetic screening. We present a probabilistic network (AraNet) of functional associations among 19,647 (73%) genes of the reference flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. AraNet associations are predictive for diverse biological pathways, and outperform predictions derived only from literature-based protein interactions, achieving 21% precision for 55% of genes. AraNet prioritizes genes for limited-scale functional screening, resulting in a hit-rate tenfold greater than screens of random insertional mutants, when applied to early seedling development as a test case. By interrogating network neighborhoods, we identify AT1G80710 (now DROUGHT SENSITIVE 1; DRS1) and AT3G05090 (now LATERAL ROOT STIMULATOR 1; LRS1) as regulators of drought sensitivity and lateral root development, respectively. AraNet (http://www.functionalnet.org/aranet/) provides a resource for plant gene function identification and genetic dissection of plant traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-156
Number of pages8
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering

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