Systems biology approaches to study exosomes and colorectal cancer

Constant dynamic interactions between a cell and its surrounding tissue microenvironment are important in maintaining the differentiated state of a cell. While such organised intercellular signalling cascades are pivotal in cellular proliferation, sustained disruption of key signalling events render the cells susceptible to malignancy. Our group uses systems biology approaches with strong emphasis in bioinformatics to study the molecular mechanisms of colorectal cancer progression. We use proteomic and genomic technologies to study colorectal cancer cells and integrate bioinformatics methods to make biological sense of the obtained data.

With the explosion of datasets from high-throughput techniques, systems biology approaches hold immense promise to investigate such data and present them at the context of the disease. It has to be noted that high-throughput data should be dealt with carefully owing to the noise and systemic pitfalls. Our group develops computational tools to analyse such datasets and integrate them with heterogeneous datasets obtained from similar biological experiments using statistics and computation. We have previously built the following tools for such analysis:

ExoCarta – Compendium of exosomal cargo

Vesiclepedia – Community annotation of extracellular vesicles cargo

FunRich – Functional enrichment analysis tool

Colorectal Cancer Atlas – Compendium of genomic and proteomic data for colorectal cancer tissues and cell lines