Inferring genome-wide functional modulatory network: A case study on NF-κB/RelA transcription factor

Xueling Li, Min Zhu, Allan R. Brasier, Andrzej S. Kudlicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


How different pathways lead to the activation of a specific transcription factor (TF) with specific effects is not fully understood. We model context-specific transcriptional regulation as a modulatory network: triplets composed of a TF, target gene, and modulator. Modulators usually affect the activity of a specific TF at the posttranscriptional level in a target gene-specific action mode. This action may be classified as enhancement, attenuation, or inversion of either activation or inhibition. As a case study, we inferred, from a large collection of expression profiles, all potential modulations of NF-κB/RelA. The predicted modulators include many proteins previously not reported as physically binding to RelA but with relevant functions, such as RNA processing, cell cycle, mitochondrion, ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis, and chromatin modification. Modulators from different processes exert specific prevalent action modes on distinct pathways. Modulators from noncoding RNA, RNA-binding proteins, TFs, and kinases modulate the NF-κB/RelA activity with specific action modes consistent with their molecular functions and modulation level. The modulatory networks of NF-κB/RelA in the context epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and burn injury have different modulators, including those involved in extracellular matrix (FBN1), cytoskeletal regulation (ACTN1), and metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1), a long intergenic nonprotein coding RNA, and tumor suppression (FOXP1) for EMT, and TXNIP, GAPDH, PKM2, IFIT5, LDHA, NID1, and TPP1 for burn injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-312
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Computational Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Integrative probabilistic model
  • Modulator
  • Modulatory network
  • NF-κB
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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