Date of Graduation
Doctor of Philosophy in Cell & Molecular Biology (PhD)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Coexpression, Database, Gene Networks, Transcriptomes
Present day genomic technologies are evolving at an unprecedented rate, allowing interrogation of
cellular activities with increasing breadth and depth. However, we know very little about how the
genome functions and what the identified genes do. The lack of functional annotations of genes
greatly limits the post-analytical interpretation of new high throughput genomic datasets. For plant
biologists, the problem is much severe. Less than 50% of all the identified genes in the model plant
Arabidopsis thaliana, and only about 20% of all genes in the crop model Oryza sativa have some
aspects of their functions assigned. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop innovative
methods to predict and expand on the currently available functional annotations of plant genes.
With open-access catching the ‘pulse’ of modern day molecular research, an integration of the
copious amount of transcriptome datasets allows rapid prediction of gene functions in specific
biological contexts, which provide added evidence over traditional homology-based functional
inference. The main goal of this dissertation was to develop data analysis strategies and tools
broadly applicable in systems biology research.
Two user friendly interactive web applications are presented: The Rice Regulatory
Network (RRN) captures an abiotic-stress conditioned gene regulatory network designed to
facilitate the identification of transcription factor targets during induction of various environmental
stresses. The Arabidopsis Seed Active Network (SANe) is a transcriptional regulatory network
that encapsulates various aspects of seed formation, including embryogenesis, endosperm
development and seed-coat formation. Further, an edge-set enrichment analysis algorithm is
proposed that uses network density as a parameter to estimate the gain or loss in correlation of
pathways between two conditionally independent coexpression networks.
Gupta, Chirag, "Transcriptome-based Gene Networks for Systems-level Analysis of Plant Gene Functions" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2526.