Knowledge-Driven Mechanistic Enrichment of the Preeclampsia Ignorome

by   Tiffany J. Callahan, et al.

Preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. Currently, the only definitive treatment of preeclampsia is delivery of the placenta, which is central to the pathogenesis of the disease. Transcriptional profiling of human placenta from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia has been extensively performed to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs). DEGs are identified using unbiased assays, however, the decisions to investigate DEGs experimentally are biased by many factors, causing many DEGs to remain uninvestigated. A set of DEGs which are associated with a disease experimentally, but which have no known association with the disease in the literature is known as the ignorome. Preeclampsia has an extensive body of scientific literature, a large pool of DEG data, and only one definitive treatment. Tools facilitating knowledge-based analyses, which are capable of combining disparate data from many sources in order to suggest underlying mechanisms of action, may be a valuable resource to support discovery and improve our understanding of this disease. In this work we demonstrate how a biomedical knowledge graph (KG) can be used to identify novel preeclampsia molecular mechanisms. Existing open source biomedical resources and publicly available high-throughput transcriptional profiling data were used to identify and annotate the function of currently uninvestigated preeclampsia-associated DEGs. Experimentally investigated genes associated with preeclampsia were identified from PubMed abstracts using text-mining methodologies. The relative complement of the text-mined- and meta-analysis-derived lists were identified as the uninvestigated preeclampsia-associated DEGs (n=445), i.e., the preeclampsia ignorome. Using the KG to investigate relevant DEGs revealed 53 novel clinically relevant and biologically actionable mechanistic associations.


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