Identification of hub genes in airway epithelial cells of asthma patients by WGCNA and PPI network

Liu, Zhigang ; Dai, Na ; Chen, Dehong ; Gao, Jiyong ; Zheng, Junqing ; Wang, Jin


Bronchial asthma is a common chronic disease of airway inflammation, high mucus secretion and airway hyper responsiveness. The pathogenetic mechanisms of asthma remain unclear. In this study, we aimed at identifying genes playing an import role in disease-related pathways in airway epithelial cells of asthma patients. Microarray data GSE41861 of asthma airway epithelial cells was used to screen differentially expressed genes (DEGs) through GEO2R analysis. The weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was performed to identify gene co-expression network modules in bronchial asthma. The DAVID database was then used to perform functional and pathway enrichment analysis of these DEGs. In addition, we have conducted protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of DEGs by STRING, and eventually found key genes and significant modules. A total of 315 DEGs (111 up-regulated and 204 down-regulated) were identified between severe asthma and healthy individual, which were mainly involved in pathways of cilium assembly, cilium morphogenesis, axon guidance, positive regulation of fat cell differentiation, and positive regulation of cell substrate adhesion. A total of 60 genes in the black module and green module were considered to be correlated with the severity of asthma. Combining PPI network, several key genes were identified, such as BP2RY14, PTGS1, SLC18A2, SIGLEC6, RGS13, CPA3, and HPGDS. Our findings revealed several genes that may be involved in the process of development of bronchial asthma and potentially be candidate targets for diagnosis or therapy of bronchial asthma.


Biomarkers; Differentially expressed genes; GEO; Protein-protein interaction; Weighted gene co-expression network analysis

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