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Learning causal networks using inducible transcription factors and transcriptome‐wide time series

Minjie Fan
R. Scott McIsaac
Sean Hackett
Google Scholar


We present IDEA (the Induction Dynamics gene Expression Atlas), a dataset constructed by independently inducing hundreds of transcription factors (TFs) and measuring timecourses of the resulting gene expression responses in budding yeast. Each experiment captures a regulatory cascade connecting a single induced regulator to the genes it causally regulates. We discuss the regulatory cascade of a single TF, Aft1, in detail; however, IDEA contains > 200 TF induction experiments with 20 million individual observations and 100,000 signal‐containing dynamic responses. As an application of IDEA, we integrate all timecourses into a whole‐cell transcriptional model, which is used to predict and validate multiple new and underappreciated transcriptional regulators. We also find that the magnitudes of coefficients in this model are predictive of genetic interaction profile similarities. In addition to being a resource for exploring regulatory connectivity between TFs and their target genes, our modeling approach shows that combining rapid perturbations of individual genes with genome‐scale time‐series measurements is an effective strategy for elucidating gene regulatory networks.