Predicting Causal Relationships from Biological Data: Applying Automated Casual Discovery on Mass Cytometry Data of Human Immune Cells
KAUST DepartmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/623101
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AbstractLearning the causal relationships that define a molecular system allows us to predict how the system will respond to different interventions. Distinguishing causality from mere association typically requires randomized experiments. Methods for automated causal discovery from limited experiments exist, but have so far rarely been tested in systems biology applications. In this work, we apply state-of-the art causal discovery methods on a large collection of public mass cytometry data sets, measuring intra-cellular signaling proteins of the human immune system and their response to several perturbations. We show how different experimental conditions can be used to facilitate causal discovery, and apply two fundamental methods that produce context-specific causal predictions. Causal predictions were reproducible across independent data sets from two different studies, but often disagree with the KEGG pathway databases. Within this context, we discuss the caveats we need to overcome for automated causal discovery to become a part of the routine data analysis in systems biology.
CitationTriantafillou S, Lagani V, Heinze-Deml C, Schmidt A, Tegner J, et al. (2017) Predicting Causal Relationships from Biological Data: Applying Automated Casual Discovery on Mass Cytometry Data of Human Immune Cells. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/122572.
SponsorsThe authors would like to thank Karen Sachs for offering valuable insights on mass cytometry, and Joris Mooij for helpful discussions. ST, VL and IT were supported by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement n. 617393.
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory
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