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Analysis of differentially expressed genes in malignant biliary strictures

Author(s): D.C. Qi, B. Wu, S.L. Tao, J. Zhou, H.X. Qian and D. Wang

Microarray data were collected from bile duct samples from subjects with malignant biliary strictures by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to screen for key genes associated with this disease. A predicted interaction network was constructed for these genes to interpret their functions. The gene expression dataset GSE34166 (10 samples: 6 malignant and 4 benign control samples) was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. R package scripts were used to process the data and screen for differentially expressed genes. Genes identified were uploaded to the analysis tool String 8.3 to generate a gene interaction network. A hub gene was identified by calculating the node degree. The interaction network of the hub gene with other genes in the human genome was constructed and screened (score >0.9), and pathway-enrichment analysis was performed to elucidate the hub gene function. In total, 377 differentially expressed genes were identified and a network comprising 209 pairs of interactions was constructed. The most critical hub gene was identified as GSTA1, and a GSTA1-based interaction network was constructed consisting of 25 genes (containing the differentially expressed gene GSTA3). The cytochrome P450 (CYP450)-metabolic pathway displayed the most significant enrichment. Additionally, 4 transcription factors and their binding sites were also identified. In conclusion, we have identified the differentially expressed genes GSTA1 (a hub gene) and GSTA3, which may cause abnormal gene expression and tumorigenesis through CYP450-metabolic pathways. The transcription factors and their binding sites in the promoter of the hub gene provide potential directions for future drug design.