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Integrative bioinformatics approaches for identifying potential biomarkers and pathways involved in non-obstructive azoospermia.


ABSTRACT:

Background

Non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) is a disease related to spermatogenic disorders. Currently, the specific etiological mechanism of NOA is unclear. This study aimed to use integrated bioinformatics to screen biomarkers and pathways involved in NOA and reveal their potential molecular mechanisms.

Methods

GSE145467 and GSE108886 gene expression profiles were obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between NOA tissues and matched obstructive azoospermia (OA) tissues were identified using the GEO2R tool. Common DEGs in the two datasets were screened out by the VennDiagram package. For the functional annotation of common DEGs, DAVID v.6.8 was used to perform Gene Ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis. In accordance with data collected from the Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins (STRING) database, a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed by Cytoscape. Cytohubba in Cytoscape was used to screen the hub genes. Furthermore, the hub genes were validated based on a separate dataset, GSE9210. Finally, potential micro RNAs (miRNAs) of hub genes were predicted by miRWalk 3.0.

Results

A total of 816 common DEGs, including 52 common upregulated and 764 common downregulated genes in two datasets, were screened out. Some of the more important of these pathways, including focal adhesion, PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, cell cycle, oocyte meiosis, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling pathway, FoxO signaling pathway, and Huntington disease, were involved in spermatogenesis. We further identified the top 20 hub genes from the PPI network, including CCNB2, DYNLL2, HMMR, NEK2, KIF15, DLGAP5, NUF2, TTK, PLK4, PTTG1, PBK, CEP55, CDKN3, CDC25C, MCM4, DNAI1, TYMS, PPP2R1B, DNAI2, and DYNLRB2, which were all downregulated genes. In addition, potential miRNAs of hub genes, including hsa-miR-3666, hsa-miR-130b-3p, hsa-miR-15b-5p, hsa-miR-6838-5p, and hsa-miR-195-5p, were screened out.

Conclusions

Taken together, the identification of the above hub genes, miRNAs and pathways will help us better understand the mechanisms associated with NOA, and provide potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets for NOA.

SUBMITTER: Hu T 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7844508 | BioStudies | 2021-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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