Regulator Discovery from Gene Expression Time Series of Malaria Parasites: a Hierachical Approach

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 20 (NIPS 2007)

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José Hernández-lobato, Tjeerd Dijkstra, Tom Heskes


We introduce a hierarchical Bayesian model for the discovery of putative regulators from gene expression data only. The hierarchy incorporates the knowledge that there are just a few regulators that by themselves only regulate a handful of genes. This is implemented through a so-called spike-and-slab prior, a mixture of Gaussians with different widths, with mixing weights from a hierarchical Bernoulli model. For efficient inference we implemented expectation propagation. Running the model on a malaria parasite data set, we found four genes with significant homology to transcription factors in an amoebe, one RNA regulator and three genes of unknown function (out of the top ten genes considered).