MUNIn (Multiple sample UNifying long-range chromatin Interaction detector): a statistical framework for identifying long-range chromatin interactions from multiple samples
Chromatin spatial organization (interactome) plays a critical role in genome function. Deep understanding of chromatin interactome can shed insights into transcriptional regulation mechanisms and human disease pathology. One essential task in the analysis of chromatin interactomic data is to identify long-range chromatin interactions. Existing approaches, such as HiCCUPS, FitHiC/FitHiC2 and FastHiC, are all designed for analyzing individual cell types or samples. None of them accounts for unbalanced sequencing depths and heterogeneity among multiple cell types or samples in a unified statistical framework. To fill in the gap, we have developed a novel statistical framework MUNIn (Multiple sample UNifying long-range chromatin Interaction detector) for identifying long-range chromatin interactions from multiple samples. MUNIn adopts a hierarchical hidden Markov random field (H-HMRF) model, in which the status (peak or background) of each interacting chromatin loci pair depends not only on the status of loci pairs in its neighborhood region, but also on the status of the same loci pair in other samples. To benchmark the performance of MUNIn, we performed comprehensive simulation studies and real data analysis, and showed that MUNIn can achieve much lower false positive rates for detecting sample-specific interactions (33.1 - 36.2%), and much enhanced statistical power for detecting shared peaks (up to 74.3%), compared to uni-sample analysis. Our data demonstrated that MUNIn is a useful tool for the integrative analysis of interactomic data from multiple samples.
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