Characterizing gene and protein crosstalks in subjects at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease: A new computational approach

for the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a major public health threat; however, despite decades of research, the disease mechanisms are not completely understood, and there is a significant dearth of predictive biomarkers. The availability of systems biology approaches has opened new avenues for understanding disease mechanisms at a pathway level. However, to the best of our knowledge, no prior study has characterized the nature of pathway crosstalks in AD, or examined their utility as biomarkers for diagnosis or prognosis. In this paper, we build the first computational crosstalk model of AD incorporating genetics, antecedent knowledge, and biomarkers from a national study to create a generic pathway crosstalk reference map and to characterize the nature of genetic and protein pathway crosstalks in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects. We perform initial studies of the utility of incorporating these crosstalks as biomarkers for assessing the risk of MCI progression to AD dementia. Our analysis identified Single Nucleotide Polymorphism-enriched pathways representing six of the seven Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway categories. Integrating pathway crosstalks as a predictor improved the accuracy by 11.7% compared to standard clinical parameters and apolipoprotein E #4 status alone. Our findings highlight the importance of moving beyond discrete biomarkers to studying interactions among complex biological pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number47
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Biomarker
  • Disease prediction
  • Pathway crosstalk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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