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Circ Genom Precis Med. 2018 Feb;11(2):e001813. doi: 10.1161/CIRCGEN.117.001813.

Improving Interpretation of Cardiac Phenotypes and Enhancing Discovery With Expanded Knowledge in the Gene Ontology.

Author information

1
From the Institute of Cardiovascular Science (R.C.L., V.K.K., R.E.F., N.H.C., R.P.H., P.J.T., P.D.L., P.M.E., L.C.) and Metabolism and Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Medicine (R.B.), University College London, United Kingdom; European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Hinxton, United Kingdom (P.R., D.O.-S.); Gene Ontology Consortium (P.R., T.Z.B., D.O.-S., J.A.B., D.P.H.); The Zebrafish Model Organism Database, University of Oregon, Eugene (D.G.H.); Rat Genome Database, Human Molecular Genetics Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (S.J.F.L.); Arabidopsis Information Resource, Phoenix Bioinformatics, Fremont, CA (T.Z.B.); FlyBase, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (S.T.); Mouse Genome Informatics, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME (J.A.B., D.P.H.); Oxbridge BHF Centre of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (P.R.R.); and William Harvey Heart Centre, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom (A.T.). r.lovering@ucl.ac.uk.
2
From the Institute of Cardiovascular Science (R.C.L., V.K.K., R.E.F., N.H.C., R.P.H., P.J.T., P.D.L., P.M.E., L.C.) and Metabolism and Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Medicine (R.B.), University College London, United Kingdom; European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Hinxton, United Kingdom (P.R., D.O.-S.); Gene Ontology Consortium (P.R., T.Z.B., D.O.-S., J.A.B., D.P.H.); The Zebrafish Model Organism Database, University of Oregon, Eugene (D.G.H.); Rat Genome Database, Human Molecular Genetics Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (S.J.F.L.); Arabidopsis Information Resource, Phoenix Bioinformatics, Fremont, CA (T.Z.B.); FlyBase, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (S.T.); Mouse Genome Informatics, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME (J.A.B., D.P.H.); Oxbridge BHF Centre of Regenerative Medicine, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (P.R.R.); and William Harvey Heart Centre, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom (A.T.).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A systems biology approach to cardiac physiology requires a comprehensive representation of how coordinated processes operate in the heart, as well as the ability to interpret relevant transcriptomic and proteomic experiments. The Gene Ontology (GO) Consortium provides structured, controlled vocabularies of biological terms that can be used to summarize and analyze functional knowledge for gene products.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

In this study, we created a computational resource to facilitate genetic studies of cardiac physiology by integrating literature curation with attention to an improved and expanded ontological representation of heart processes in the Gene Ontology. As a result, the Gene Ontology now contains terms that comprehensively describe the roles of proteins in cardiac muscle cell action potential, electrical coupling, and the transmission of the electrical impulse from the sinoatrial node to the ventricles. Evaluating the effectiveness of this approach to inform data analysis demonstrated that Gene Ontology annotations, analyzed within an expanded ontological context of heart processes, can help to identify candidate genes associated with arrhythmic disease risk loci.

CONCLUSIONS:

We determined that a combination of curation and ontology development for heart-specific genes and processes supports the identification and downstream analysis of genes responsible for the spread of the cardiac action potential through the heart. Annotating these genes and processes in a structured format facilitates data analysis and supports effective retrieval of gene-centric information about cardiac defects.

KEYWORDS:

arrhythmias, cardiac; data curation; electrophysiology; gene ontology; genetics; transcriptome

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