Benchmark and integration of resources for the estimation of human transcription factor activities

The prediction of transcription factor (TF) activities from the gene expression of their targets (i.e., TF regulon) is becoming a widely used approach to characterize the functional status of transcriptional regulatory circuits. Several strategies and data sets have been proposed to link the target genes likely regulated by a TF, each one providing a different level of evidence. The most established ones are (1) manually curated repositories, (2) interactions derived from ChIP-seq binding data, (3) in silico prediction of TF binding on gene promoters, and (4) reverse-engineered regulons from large gene expression data sets. However, it is not known how these different sources of regulons affect the TF activity estimations and, thereby, downstream analysis and interpretation. Here we compared the accuracy and biases of these strategies to define human TF regulons by means of their ability to predict changes in TF activities in three reference benchmark data sets. We assembled a collection of TF–target interactions for 1541 human TFs and evaluated how different molecular and regulatory properties of the TFs, such as the DNA-binding domain, specificities, or mode of interaction with the chromatin, affect the predictions of TF activity. We assessed their coverage and found little overlap on the regulons derived from each strategy and better performance by literature-curated information followed by ChIP-seq data. We provide an integrated resource of all TF–target interactions derived through these strategies, with confidence scores, as a resource for enhanced prediction of TF activities.

Genome Res. 29(8) : 1363
Authors:
Luz Garcia-Alonso, Christian Holland, Mahmoud M. Ibrahim, Denes Turei, Julio Saez-Rodriguez
Date Published:
2019-08-01
Journal:
Genome Res.