Integrating Statistical and Machine-Learning Approach for Meta-Analysis of Bisphenol A-Exposure Datasets Reveals Effects on Mouse Gene Expression within Pathways of Apoptosis and Cell Survival
Bisphenols are important environmental pollutants that are extensively studied due to different detrimental effects, while the molecular mechanisms behind these effects are less well understood. Like other environmental pollutants, bisphenols are being tested in various experimental models, creating large expression datasets found in open access storage. The meta-analysis of such datasets is, however, very complicated for various reasons. Here, we developed an integrating statistical and machine-learning model approach for the meta-analysis of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure datasets from different mouse tissues. We constructed three joint datasets following three different strategies for dataset integration: in particular, using all common genes from the datasets, uncorrelated, and not co-expressed genes, respectively. By applying machine learning methods to these datasets, we identified genes whose expression was significantly affected in all of the BPA microanalysis data tested; those involved in the regulation of cell survival include: Tnfr2, Hgf-Met, Agtr1a, Bdkrb2; signaling through Mapk8 (Jnk1)); DNA repair (Hgf-Met, Mgmt); apoptosis (Tmbim6, Bcl2, Apaf1); and cellular junctions (F11r, Cldnd1, Ctnd1 and Yes1). Our results highlight the benefit of combining existing datasets for the integrated analysis of a specific topic when individual datasets are limited in size.