Office of Research and Development Publications

Bioinformatic Integration of in vivo Data and Literature-based Gene Associations for Prioritization of Adverse Outcome Pathway Development


Brown, JasonM, S. Watford, AND K. Paul-Friedman. Bioinformatic Integration of in vivo Data and Literature-based Gene Associations for Prioritization of Adverse Outcome Pathway Development. Presented at Society of Toxicology annual meeting, Baltimore, MD, March 10 - 14, 2019.


Abstract and Poster for 2019 Society of Toxicology annual meeting in March 2019


Adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) describe a sequence of events, beginning with a molecular initiating event (MIE), proceeding via key events (KEs), and culminating in an adverse outcome (AO). A challenge for use of AOPs in a safety evaluation context has been identification of MIEs and KEs relevant for AOs observed in regulatory toxicity studies. In this work, we implemented a bioinformatic approach that leverages mechanistic information in the literature and the AOs measured in regulatory toxicity studies to prioritize putative MIEs and/or early KEs for AOP development relevant to chemical safety evaluation. The US Environmental Protection Agency Toxicity Reference Database (ToxRefDB, v2.0) contains effect information for >1000 chemicals curated from >5000 studies or summaries from sources including data evaluation records from the US EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, the National Toxicology Program (NTP), peer-reviewed literature, and pharmaceutical preclinical studies. To increase ToxRefDB interoperability, endpoint and effect information were cross-referenced with codes from the United Medical Language System, which enabled mapping of in vivo pathological effects from ToxRefDB to PubMed (via Medical Subject Headings or MeSH). This enabled linkage to any resource that is also connected to PubMed or indexed with MeSH. A publicly available bioinformatic tool, the Entity-MeSH Co-occurrence Network (EMCON), uses multiple data sources and a measure of mutual information to identify genes most related to a MeSH term. Using EMCON, gene sets were generated for endpoints of toxicological relevance in ToxRefDB linking putative KEs and/or MIEs. The Comparative Toxicogenomics Database was used to further filter important associations. As a proof of concept, thyroid-related effects and their highly associated genes were examined, and demonstrated relevant MIEs and early KEs for AOPs to describe thyroid-related AOs. The ToxRefDB to gene mapping for thyroid resulted in >50 unique gene to chemical relationships. Integrated use of EMCON and ToxRefDB data provides a basis for rapid and robust putative AOP development, as well as a novel means to generate mechanistic hypotheses for specific chemicals. This abstract does not necessarily reflect U.S. EPA policy.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:03/14/2019
Record Last Revised:04/08/2019
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 344452