Rapid progress in high-throughput -omics technologies moves us one step closer to the datacalypse in life sciences. In spite of the already generated volumes of data, our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying complex genetic diseases remains limited. Increasing evidence shows that biological networks are essential, albeit not sufficient, for the better understanding of these mechanisms. The identification of disease-specific functional modules in the human interactome can provide a more focused insight into the mechanistic nature of the disease. However, carving a disease network module from the whole interactome is a difficult task. In this paper, we propose a computational framework, Discovering most IMpacted SUbnetworks in interactoMe (DIMSUM), which enables the integration of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and functional effects of mutations into the protein–protein interaction (PPI) network to improve disease module detection. Specifically, our approach incorporates and propagates the functional impact of non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) on PPIs to implicate the genes that are most likely influenced by the disruptive mutations, and to identify the module with the greatest functional impact. Comparison against state-of-the-art seed-based module detection methods shows that our approach could yield modules that are biologically more relevant and have stronger association with the studied disease. We expect for our method to become a part of the common toolbox for the disease module analysis, facilitating the discovery of new disease markers.
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