Journal Article

Phenotypic categorization of genetic skin diseases reveals new relations between phenotypes, genes and pathways

Ruslan I. Sadreyev, Jamison D. Feramisco, Hensin Tsao and Nick V. Grishin

in Bioinformatics

Volume 25, issue 22, pages 2891-2896
Published in print November 2009 | ISSN: 1367-4803
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2059 | DOI:

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Motivation: Systematic analysis of connection between proteins, their cellular function and phenotypic manifestations in disease is a central problem of biological and clinical research. The solution to this problem requires the development of new approaches to link the rapidly growing dataset of gene–disease associations with the many complex and overlapping phenotypes of human disease.

Results: We analyze genetic skin disorders and suggest a manually designed set of elementary phenotypes whose combinations define diseases as points in a multidimensional space, providing a basis for phenotypic disease clustering. Placing the known gene–disease associations in the context of this space reveals new patterns that suggest previously unknown functional links between proteins, signaling pathways and disease phenotypes. For example, analysis of telangiectasias (spider vein diseases) reveals a previously unrecognized interplay between the TGF-β signaling pathway and pentose phosphate pathway. This interaction may mediate glucose-dependent regulation of TGF-β signaling, providing a clue to the known association between angiopathies and diabetes and implying new gene candidates for mutational analysis and drug targeting.


Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Journal Article.  3636 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

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