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NEMix: Single-cell Nested Effects Models for Probabilistic Pathway Stimulation


Siebourg-Polster, Juliane; Mudrak, Daria; Emmenlauer, Mario; Rämö, Pauli; Dehio, Christoph; Greber, Urs; Fröhlich, Holger; Beerenwinkel, Niko (2015). NEMix: Single-cell Nested Effects Models for Probabilistic Pathway Stimulation. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(4):e1004078.

Abstract

Nested effects models have been used successfully for learning subcellular networks from high-dimensional perturbation effects that result from RNA interference (RNAi) experiments. Here, we further develop the basic nested effects model using high-content single-cell imaging data from RNAi screens of cultured cells infected with human rhinovirus. RNAi screens with single-cell readouts are becoming increasingly common, and they often reveal high cell-to-cell variation. As a consequence of this cellular heterogeneity, knock-downs result in variable effects among cells and lead to weak average phenotypes on the cell population level. To address this confounding factor in network inference, we explicitly model the stimulation status of a signaling pathway in individual cells. We extend the framework of nested effects models to probabilistic combinatorial knock-downs and propose NEMix, a nested effects mixture model that accounts for unobserved pathway activation. We analyzed the identifiability of NEMix and developed a parameter inference scheme based on the Expectation Maximization algorithm. In an extensive simulation study, we show that NEMix improves learning of pathway structures over classical NEMs significantly in the presence of hidden pathway stimulation. We applied our model to single-cell imaging data from RNAi screens monitoring human rhinovirus infection, where limited infection efficiency of the assay results in uncertain pathway stimulation. Using a subset of genes with known interactions, we show that the inferred NEMix network has high accuracy and outperforms the classical nested effects model without hidden pathway activity. NEMix is implemented as part of the R/Bioconductor package 'nem' and available at www.cbg.ethz.ch/software/NEMix.

Abstract

Nested effects models have been used successfully for learning subcellular networks from high-dimensional perturbation effects that result from RNA interference (RNAi) experiments. Here, we further develop the basic nested effects model using high-content single-cell imaging data from RNAi screens of cultured cells infected with human rhinovirus. RNAi screens with single-cell readouts are becoming increasingly common, and they often reveal high cell-to-cell variation. As a consequence of this cellular heterogeneity, knock-downs result in variable effects among cells and lead to weak average phenotypes on the cell population level. To address this confounding factor in network inference, we explicitly model the stimulation status of a signaling pathway in individual cells. We extend the framework of nested effects models to probabilistic combinatorial knock-downs and propose NEMix, a nested effects mixture model that accounts for unobserved pathway activation. We analyzed the identifiability of NEMix and developed a parameter inference scheme based on the Expectation Maximization algorithm. In an extensive simulation study, we show that NEMix improves learning of pathway structures over classical NEMs significantly in the presence of hidden pathway stimulation. We applied our model to single-cell imaging data from RNAi screens monitoring human rhinovirus infection, where limited infection efficiency of the assay results in uncertain pathway stimulation. Using a subset of genes with known interactions, we show that the inferred NEMix network has high accuracy and outperforms the classical nested effects model without hidden pathway activity. NEMix is implemented as part of the R/Bioconductor package 'nem' and available at www.cbg.ethz.ch/software/NEMix.

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3 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:April 2015
Deposited On:29 Apr 2015 16:20
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 12:54
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1553-734X
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004078
PubMed ID:25879530

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