Systematic Functional Annotation and Visualization of Biological Networks

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Large-scale biological networks represent relationships between genes, but our understanding of how networks are functionally organized is limited. Here, I describe spatial analysis of functional enrichment (SAFE), a systematic method for annotating biological networks and examining their functional organization. SAFE visualizes the network in 2D space and measures the continuous distribution of functional enrichment across local neighborhoods, producing a list of the associated functions and a map of their relative positioning. I applied SAFE to annotate the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genetic interaction similarity network and protein-protein interaction network with gene ontology terms. SAFE annotations of the genetic network matched manually derived annotations, while taking less than 1% of the time, and proved robust to noise and sensitive to biological signal. Integration of genetic interaction and chemical genomics data using SAFE revealed a link between vesicle-mediate transport and resistance to the anti-cancer drug bortezomib. These results demonstrate the utility of SAFE for examining biological networks and understanding their functional organization.




Baryshnikova, A. (2016). Systematic Functional Annotation and Visualization of Biological Networks. Cell Systems, 2(6), 412–421.

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