Signalling maps in cancer research: construction and data analysis.
ABSTRACT: Generation and usage of high-quality molecular signalling network maps can be augmented by standardizing notations, establishing curation workflows and application of computational biology methods to exploit the knowledge contained in the maps. In this manuscript, we summarize the major aims and challenges of assembling information in the form of comprehensive maps of molecular interactions. Mainly, we share our experience gained while creating the Atlas of Cancer Signalling Network. In the step-by-step procedure, we describe the map construction process and suggest solutions for map complexity management by introducing a hierarchical modular map structure. In addition, we describe the NaviCell platform, a computational technology using Google Maps API to explore comprehensive molecular maps similar to geographical maps and explain the advantages of semantic zooming principles for map navigation. We also provide the outline to prepare signalling network maps for navigation using the NaviCell platform. Finally, several examples of cancer high-throughput data analysis and visualization in the context of comprehensive signalling maps are presented.
Project description:Cancerogenesis is driven by mutations leading to aberrant functioning of a complex network of molecular interactions and simultaneously affecting multiple cellular functions. Therefore, the successful application of bioinformatics and systems biology methods for analysis of high-throughput data in cancer research heavily depends on availability of global and detailed reconstructions of signalling networks amenable for computational analysis. We present here the Atlas of Cancer Signalling Network (ACSN), an interactive and comprehensive map of molecular mechanisms implicated in cancer. The resource includes tools for map navigation, visualization and analysis of molecular data in the context of signalling network maps. Constructing and updating ACSN involves careful manual curation of molecular biology literature and participation of experts in the corresponding fields. The cancer-oriented content of ACSN is completely original and covers major mechanisms involved in cancer progression, including DNA repair, cell survival, apoptosis, cell cycle, EMT and cell motility. Cell signalling mechanisms are depicted in detail, together creating a seamless 'geographic-like' map of molecular interactions frequently deregulated in cancer. The map is browsable using NaviCell web interface using the Google Maps engine and semantic zooming principle. The associated web-blog provides a forum for commenting and curating the ACSN content. ACSN allows uploading heterogeneous omics data from users on top of the maps for visualization and performing functional analyses. We suggest several scenarios for ACSN application in cancer research, particularly for visualizing high-throughput data, starting from small interfering RNA-based screening results or mutation frequencies to innovative ways of exploring transcriptomes and phosphoproteomes. Integration and analysis of these data in the context of ACSN may help interpret their biological significance and formulate mechanistic hypotheses. ACSN may also support patient stratification, prediction of treatment response and resistance to cancer drugs, as well as design of novel treatment strategies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The interplay between metabolic processes and signalling pathways remains poorly understood. Global, detailed and comprehensive reconstructions of human metabolism and signalling pathways exist in the form of molecular maps, but they have never been integrated together. We aim at filling in this gap by integrating of both signalling and metabolic pathways allowing a visual exploration of multi-level omics data and study of cross-regulatory circuits between these processes in health and in disease. RESULTS:We combined two comprehensive manually curated network maps. Atlas of Cancer Signalling Network (ACSN), containing mechanisms frequently implicated in cancer; and ReconMap 2.0, a comprehensive reconstruction of human metabolic network. We linked ACSN and ReconMap 2.0 maps via common players and represented the two maps as interconnected layers using the NaviCell platform for maps exploration ( https://navicell.curie.fr/pages/maps_ReconMap%202.html ). In addition, proteins catalysing metabolic reactions in ReconMap 2.0 were not previously visually represented on the map canvas. This precluded visualisation of omics data in the context of ReconMap 2.0. We suggested a solution for displaying protein nodes on the ReconMap 2.0 map in the vicinity of the corresponding reaction or process nodes. This permits multi-omics data visualisation in the context of both map layers. Exploration and shuttling between the two map layers is possible using Google Maps-like features of NaviCell. The integrated networks ACSN-ReconMap 2.0 are accessible online and allows data visualisation through various modes such as markers, heat maps, bar-plots, glyphs and map staining. The integrated networks were applied for comparison of immunoreactive and proliferative ovarian cancer subtypes using transcriptomic, copy number and mutation multi-omics data. A certain number of metabolic and signalling processes specifically deregulated in each of the ovarian cancer sub-types were identified. CONCLUSIONS:As knowledge evolves and new omics data becomes more heterogeneous, gathering together existing domains of biology under common platforms is essential. We believe that an integrated ACSN-ReconMap 2.0 networks will help in understanding various disease mechanisms and discovery of new interactions at the intersection of cell signalling and metabolism. In addition, the successful integration of metabolic and signalling networks allows broader systems biology approach application for data interpretation and retrieval of intervention points to tackle simultaneously the key players coordinating signalling and metabolism in human diseases.
Project description:Data visualization is an essential element of biological research, required for obtaining insights and formulating new hypotheses on mechanisms of health and disease. NaviCell Web Service is a tool for network-based visualization of 'omics' data which implements several data visual representation methods and utilities for combining them together. NaviCell Web Service uses Google Maps and semantic zooming to browse large biological network maps, represented in various formats, together with different types of the molecular data mapped on top of them. For achieving this, the tool provides standard heatmaps, barplots and glyphs as well as the novel map staining technique for grasping large-scale trends in numerical values (such as whole transcriptome) projected onto a pathway map. The web service provides a server mode, which allows automating visualization tasks and retrieving data from maps via RESTful (standard HTTP) calls. Bindings to different programming languages are provided (Python and R). We illustrate the purpose of the tool with several case studies using pathway maps created by different research groups, in which data visualization provides new insights into molecular mechanisms involved in systemic diseases such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:Human diseases such as cancer are routinely characterized by high-throughput molecular technologies, and multi-level omics data are accumulated in public databases at increasing rate. Retrieval and visualization of these data in the context of molecular network maps can provide insights into the pattern of regulation of molecular functions reflected by an omics profile. In order to make this task easy, we developed NaviCom, a Python package and web platform for visualization of multi-level omics data on top of biological network maps. NaviCom is bridging the gap between cBioPortal, the most used resource of large-scale cancer omics data and NaviCell, a data visualization web service that contains several molecular network map collections. NaviCom proposes several standardized modes of data display on top of molecular network maps, allowing addressing specific biological questions. We illustrate how users can easily create interactive network-based cancer molecular portraits via NaviCom web interface using the maps of Atlas of Cancer Signalling Network (ACSN) and other maps. Analysis of these molecular portraits can help in formulating a scientific hypothesis on the molecular mechanisms deregulated in the studied disease.NaviCom is available at https://navicom.curie.fr.
Project description:The lack of integrated resources depicting the complexity of the innate immune response in cancer represents a bottleneck for high-throughput data interpretation. To address this challenge, we perform a systematic manual literature mining of molecular mechanisms governing the innate immune response in cancer and represent it as a signalling network map. The cell-type specific signalling maps of macrophages, dendritic cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and natural killers are constructed and integrated into a comprehensive meta map of the innate immune response in cancer. The meta-map contains 1466 chemical species as nodes connected by 1084 biochemical reactions, and it is supported by information from 820 articles. The resource helps to interpret single cell RNA-Seq data from macrophages and natural killer cells in metastatic melanoma that reveal different anti- or pro-tumor sub-populations within each cell type. Here, we report a new open source analytic platform that supports data visualisation and interpretation of tumour microenvironment activity in cancer.
Project description:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive, inflammatory autoimmune disease of unknown aetiology. The complex mechanism of aetiopathogenesis, progress and chronicity of the disease involves genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying disease phenotypes, one has to place implicated factors in their functional context. However, integration and organization of such data in a systematic manner remains a challenging task. Molecular maps are widely used in biology to provide a useful and intuitive way of depicting a variety of biological processes and disease mechanisms. Recent large-scale collaborative efforts such as the Disease Maps Project demonstrate the utility of such maps as versatile tools to organize and formalize disease-specific knowledge in a comprehensive way, both human and machine-readable. We present a systematic effort to construct a fully annotated, expert validated, state-of-the-art knowledge base for RA in the form of a molecular map. The RA map illustrates molecular and signalling pathways implicated in the disease. Signal transduction is depicted from receptors to the nucleus using the Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN) standard representation. High-quality manual curation, use of only human-specific studies and focus on small-scale experiments aim to limit false positives in the map. The state-of-the-art molecular map for RA, using information from 353 peer-reviewed scientific publications, comprises 506 species, 446 reactions and 8 phenotypes. The species in the map are classified to 303 proteins, 61 complexes, 106 genes, 106 RNA entities, 2 ions and 7 simple molecules. The RA map is available online at ramap.elixir-luxembourg.org as an open-access knowledge base allowing for easy navigation and search of molecular pathways implicated in the disease. Furthermore, the RA map can serve as a template for omics data visualization.
Project description:In the era of smartphones, route-planning and navigation is supported by freely and globally available web mapping services, such as OpenStreetMap or Google Maps. These services provide digital maps, as well as route planning functions that visually highlight the suggested route in the map. Additionally, such digital maps contain landmark pictograms, i.e. representations of salient objects in the environment. These landmark representations are, amongst other reference points, relevant for orientation, route memory, and the formation of a cognitive map of the environment. The amount of visible landmarks in maps used for navigation and route planning depends on the width of the displayed margin areas around the route. The amount of further reference points is based on the visual complexity of the map. This raises the question how factors like the distance of landmark representations to the route and visual map complexity determine the relevance of specific landmarks for memorizing a route. In order to answer this question, two experiments that investigated the relation between eye fixation patterns on landmark representations, landmark positions, route memory and visual map complexity were carried out. The results indicate that the attentional processing of landmark representations gradually decreases with an increasing distance to the route, decision points and potential decision points. Furthermore, this relation was found to be affected by the visual complexity of the map. In maps with low visual complexity, landmark representations further away from the route are fixated. However, route memory was not found to be affected by visual complexity of the map. We argue that map users might require a certain amount of reference points to form spatial relations as a foundation for a mental representation of space. As maps with low visual complexity offer less reference points, people need to scan a wider area. Therefore, visual complexity of the area displayed in a map should be considered in navigation-oriented map design by increasing displayed margins around the route in maps with a low visual complexity. In order to verify our assumption that the amount of reference points not only affects visual attention processes, but also the formation of a mental representation of space, additional research is required.
Project description:The brain derives cognitive maps from sensory experience that guide memory formation and behavior. Despite extensive efforts, it still remains unclear how the underlying population activity unfolds during spatial navigation and how it relates to memory performance. To examine these processes, we combined 7T-fMRI with a kernel-based encoding model of virtual navigation to map world-centered directional tuning across the human cortex. First, we present an in-depth analysis of directional tuning in visual, retrosplenial, parahippocampal and medial temporal cortices. Second, we show that tuning strength, width and topology of this directional code during memory-guided navigation depend on successful encoding of the environment. Finally, we show that participants' locomotory state influences this tuning in sensory and mnemonic regions such as the hippocampus. We demonstrate a direct link between neural population tuning and human cognition, where high-level memory processing interacts with network-wide visuospatial coding in the service of behavior.
Project description:ATTED-II (http://atted.jp) is a database of gene coexpression in Arabidopsis that can be used to design a wide variety of experiments, including the prioritization of genes for functional identification or for studies of regulatory relationships. Here, we report updates of ATTED-II that focus especially on functionalities for constructing gene networks with regard to the following points: (i) introducing a new measure of gene coexpression to retrieve functionally related genes more accurately, (ii) implementing clickable maps for all gene networks for step-by-step navigation, (iii) applying Google Maps API to create a single map for a large network, (iv) including information about protein-protein interactions, (v) identifying conserved patterns of coexpression and (vi) showing and connecting KEGG pathway information to identify functional modules. With these enhanced functions for gene network representation, ATTED-II can help researchers to clarify the functional and regulatory networks of genes in Arabidopsis.