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Computational modelling approaches on epigenetic factors in neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases and their mechanistic analysis

: Irin, Afroza Khanam; Kodamullil, Alpha Tom; Gündel, Michaela; Hofmann-Apitius, Martin

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Journal of Immunology Research (2015), Art. 737168, 10 pp.
ISSN: 2314-7156
ISSN: 2314-8861
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer SCAI ()

Neurodegenerative as well as autoimmune diseases have unclear aetiologies, but an increasing number of evidences report for a combination of genetic and epigenetic alterations that predispose for the development of disease. This review examines the major milestones in epigenetics research in the context of diseases and various computational approaches developed in the last decades to unravel new epigenetic modifications. However, there are limited studies that systematically link genetic and epigenetic alterations of DNA to the aetiology of diseases. In this work, we demonstrate how disease-related epigenetic knowledge can be systematically captured and integrated with heterogeneous information into a functional context using Biological Expression Language (BEL). This novel methodology, based on BEL, enables us to integrate epigenetic modifications such as DNA methylation or acetylation of histones into a specific disease network. As an example, we depict the integration of epigenetic and genetic factors in a functional context specific to Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).