Gene regulatory networks represent collections of regulators that interact with each other and with other molecules to govern gene expression. Biological signalling networks model how signals are transmitted and how activities are coordinated in the cell. The study of the structure of such networks in complex diseases such as cancer can provide insights into how they function, and consequently, suggest suitable treatment approaches. Here, we explored such topological characteristics in the example of a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling network derived from published studies in cancer. We employed well-established techniques to conduct network analyses, and collected information on gene function as obtained from large-scale public databases. This allowed us to map topological and functional relationships, and build hypotheses on this network’s functional consequences. In particular, we find that the topology of this MAPK network is highly non-random, modular and robust. Moreover, analysis of the network’s structure indicates the presence of organisational features of cancer hallmarks, expressed in an asymmetrical manner across communities of the network. Finally, our results indicate that the organisation of this network renders it problematic to use treatment approaches that focus on a single target. Our analysis suggests that multi-target attacks in a well-orchestrated manner are required to alter how the network functions. Overall, we propose that complex network analyses combined with pharmacological insights will help inform on future treatment strategies, exploiting structural vulnerabilities of signalling and regulatory networks in cance

A structural characterisation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase network in cancer

Buffa, Francesca M.
Supervision
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Gene regulatory networks represent collections of regulators that interact with each other and with other molecules to govern gene expression. Biological signalling networks model how signals are transmitted and how activities are coordinated in the cell. The study of the structure of such networks in complex diseases such as cancer can provide insights into how they function, and consequently, suggest suitable treatment approaches. Here, we explored such topological characteristics in the example of a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling network derived from published studies in cancer. We employed well-established techniques to conduct network analyses, and collected information on gene function as obtained from large-scale public databases. This allowed us to map topological and functional relationships, and build hypotheses on this network’s functional consequences. In particular, we find that the topology of this MAPK network is highly non-random, modular and robust. Moreover, analysis of the network’s structure indicates the presence of organisational features of cancer hallmarks, expressed in an asymmetrical manner across communities of the network. Finally, our results indicate that the organisation of this network renders it problematic to use treatment approaches that focus on a single target. Our analysis suggests that multi-target attacks in a well-orchestrated manner are required to alter how the network functions. Overall, we propose that complex network analyses combined with pharmacological insights will help inform on future treatment strategies, exploiting structural vulnerabilities of signalling and regulatory networks in cance
2022
Chatzaroulas, Evangelos; Sliogeris, Vytenis; Victori, Pedro; Buffa, Francesca M.; Moschoyiannis, Sotiris; Bauer, Roman
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11565/4052487
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