Identification and Computational Prediction of CRMs
Besides experimentally determining CRMs, there are various bioinformatics algorithms for predicting them. Most algorithms try to search for significant combinations of transcription factor binding sites (DNA binding sites) in promoter sequences of co-expressed genes. More advanced methods combine the search for significant motifs with correlation in gene expression datasets between transcription factors and target genes. Both methods have been implemented, for example, in the ModuleMaster. Other programs created for the identification and prediction of "cis-regulatory modules include:
Stubb uses hidden Markov models to identify statistically significant clusters of transcription factor combinations. It also uses a second related genome to improve the prediction accuracy of the model.
Bayesian Networks use an algorithm that combines site predictions and tissue-specific expression data for transcription factors and target genes of interest. This model also uses regression trees to depict the relationship between the identified cis-regulatory module and the possible binding set of transcription factors.
CRÈME examine clusters of target sites for transcription factors of interest. This program uses a database of confirmed transcription factor binding sites that were annotated across the human genome. A search algorithm is applied to the data set to identify possible combinations of transcription factors, which have binding sites that are close to the promoter of the gene set of interest. The possible cis-regulatory modules are then statistically analyzed and the significant combinations are graphically represented
Active cis-regulatory modules in a genomic sequence have been difficult to identify. Problems in identification arise because often scientists find themselves with a small set of known transcription factors, so it makes it harder to identify statistically significant clusters of transcription factor binding sites. Additionally, high costs limit the use of large whole genome tiling arrays.
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