A validated generally applicable approach using the systematic assessment of disease modules by GWAS reveals a multi-omic module strongly associated with risk factors in multiple sclerosis
Tejaswi V.S. Badam,
Hendrik A. de Weerd,
Posted 26 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.26.351783
Posted 26 Oct 2020
BackgroundThere are few (if any) practical guidelines for predictive and falsifiable multi-omics data integration that systematically integrate existing knowledge. Disease modules are popular concepts for interpreting genome-wide studies in medicine but have so far not been systematically evaluated and may lead to corroborating multi-omic modules. MethodsWe assessed eight module identification methods in 57 previously published expression and methylation studies of 19 diseases using GWAS enrichment analysis. Next, we applied the same strategy for multi-omics integration of 19 datasets of multiple sclerosis (MS), and further validated the resulting module using both GWAS and risk-factor associated genes from several independent cohorts. ResultsOur benchmark of modules showed that in immune-associated diseases modules inferred from clique-based methods were the most enriched for GWAS-genes. The multi-omics case study using MS revealed the robust identification of a module of 220 genes. Strikingly, most genes of the module was differentially methylated upon the action of one or several environmental risk factors in MS (n = 217, P = 10-47) and were also independently validated for association with five different risk factors of MS, which further stressed the high genetic and epigenetic relevance of the module for MS. ConclusionWe believe our analysis provides a workflow for selecting modules and our benchmark study may help further improvement of disease module methods. Moreover, we also stress that our methodology is generally applicable for combining and assessing the performance of multi-omics approaches for complex diseases.
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