A tissue-aware machine learning framework enhances the mechanistic understanding and genetic diagnosis of Mendelian and rare diseases
Chanan M. Argov,
Hae Kyung Im,
Posted 17 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.16.430825
Posted 17 Feb 2021
Genetic studies of Mendelian and rare diseases face the critical challenges of identifying pathogenic gene variants and their modes-of-action. Previous efforts rarely utilized the tissue-selective manifestation of these diseases for their elucidation. Here we introduce an interpretable machine learning (ML) platform that utilizes heterogeneous and large-scale tissue-aware datasets of human genes, and rigorously, concurrently and quantitatively assesses hundreds of candidate mechanisms per disease. The resulting tissue-aware ML platform is applicable in gene-specific, tissue-specific, or patient-specific modes. Application of the platform to selected Mendelian disease genes pinpointed mechanisms that lead to tissue-specific disease manifestation. When applied jointly to diseases that manifest in the same tissue, the models revealed common known and previously underappreciated factors that underlie tissue-selective disease manifestation. Lastly, we harnessed our ML platform toward genetic diagnosis of tissue-selective rare diseases. Patient-specific models of candidate disease-causing genes from 50 patients successfully prioritized the pathogenic gene in 86% of the cases, implying that the tissue-selectivity of rare diseases aids in filtering out unlikely candidate genes. Thus, interpretable tissue-aware ML models can boost mechanistic understanding and genetic diagnosis of tissue-selective heritable diseases. A webserver supporting gene prioritization is available at https://netbio.bgu.ac.il/trace/.
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