Constructing gene regulatory networks from microarray data using non-Gaussian pair-copula Bayesian networks

Omid Chatrabgoun, Amin Hosseinian-Far, Alireza Daneshkhah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many biological and biomedical research areas such as drug design require analyzing the Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs) to provide clear insight and understanding of the cellular processes in live cells. Under normality assumption for the genes, GRNs can be constructed by assessing the nonzero elements of the inverse covariance matrix. Nevertheless, such techniques are unable to deal with non-normality, multi-modality and heavy tailedness that are commonly seen in current massive genetic data. To relax this limitative constraint, one can apply copula function which is a multivariate cumulative distribution function with uniform marginal distribution. However, since the dependency structures of different pairs of genes in a multivariate problem are very different, the regular multivariate copula will not allow for the construction of an appropriate model. The solution to this problem is using Pair-Copula Constructions (PCCs) which are decompositions of a multivariate density into a cascade of bivariate copula, and therefore, assign different bivariate copula function for each local term. In fact, in this paper, we have constructed inverse covariance matrix based on the use of PCCs when the normality assumption can be moderately or severely violated for capturing a wide range of distributional features and complex dependency structure. To learn the non-Gaussian model for the considered GRN with non-Gaussian genomic data, we apply modified version of copula-based PC algorithm in which normality assumption of marginal densities is dropped. This paper also considers the Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) algorithm to determine the existence of a time delay relation between two genes. Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases in the world where GRN analysis of its subtypes is considerably important; Since by revealing the differences in the GRNs of these subtypes, new therapies and drugs can be found. The findings of our research are used to construct GRNs with high performance, for various subtypes of breast cancer rather than simply using previous models.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2020


  • Gene regularly networks
  • Gaussian graphical models
  • Dynamic time warping algorithm
  • Modified PC algorithm
  • Pair-copula constructions


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