mRNA–miRNA bipartite network reconstruction to predict prognostic module biomarkers in colorectal cancer stage differentiation
Biomarker detection is one of the most important and challenging problems in cancer studies. Recently, non-coding RNA based biomarkers such as miRNA expression levels have been used for early diagnosis of many cancer types. In this study, a systems biology approach was used to detect novel miRNA based biomarkers for CRC diagnosis in early stages. The mRNA expression data from three CRC stages (Low-grade Intraepithelial Neoplasia (LIN), High-grade Intraepithelial Neoplasia (HIN) and Adenocarcinoma) were used to reconstruct co-expression networks. The networks were clustered to extract co-expression modules and detected low preserved modules among CRC stages. Then, the experimentally validated mRNA–miRNA interaction data were applied to reconstruct three mRNA–miRNA bipartite networks. Twenty miRNAs with the highest degree (hub miRNAs) were selected in each bipartite network to reconstruct three bipartite subnetworks for further analysis. The analysis of these hub miRNAs in the bipartite subnetworks revealed 30 distinct important miRNAs as prognostic markers in CRC stages. There are two novel CRC related miRNAs (hsa-miR-190a-3p and hsa-miR-1277-5p) in these 30 hub miRNAs that have not been previously reported in CRC. Furthermore, a drug–gene interaction network was reconstructed to detect potential candidate drugs for CRC treatment. Our analysis shows that the hub miRNAs in the mRNA–miRNA bipartite network are very essential in CRC progression and should be investigated precisely in future studies. In addition, there are many important target genes in the results that may be critical in CRC progression and can be analyzed as therapeutic targets in future research.