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Transcriptional Network Analysis on Brains Reveals a Potential Regulatory Role of PPP1R3F in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Objective: This study aims at identifying master regulators of transcriptional networks in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Results: With two sets of independent RNA-Seq data generated on cerebellum from patients with ASDs and control subjects (N=39 and 45 for set 1, N=24 and 38 for set 2, respectively), we carried out a network deconvolution of transcriptomic data, followed by virtual protein activity analysis. We identified PPP1R3F (Protein Phosphatase 1 Regulatory Subunit 3F) as a master regulator affecting a large body of downstream genes that are associated with the disease phenotype. Pathway enrichment analysis on the identified targets of PPP1R3F in both datasets indicated alteration of endocytosis pathway. This exploratory analysis is limited by sample size, but it illustrates a successful application of network deconvolution approaches in the analysis of brain gene expression data and generates a hypotheses that may be further validated by large-scale studies in the future.
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