KEGG2Net: Deducing gene interaction networks and acyclic graphs from KEGG pathways

Sree K Chanumolu, Mustafa Albahrani, Handan Can, Hasan H Otu


The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway database provides a manual curation of biological pathways that involve genes (or gene products), metabolites, chemical compounds, maps, and other entries. However, most applications and datasets involved in omics are gene or protein-centric requiring pathway representations that include direct and indirect interactions only between genes. Furthermore, special methodologies, such as Bayesian networks, require acyclic representations of graphs. We developed KEGG2Net, a web resource that generates a network involving only the genes represented on a KEGG pathway with all of the direct and indirect gene-gene interactions deduced from the pathway. KEGG2Net offers four different methods to remove cycles from the resulting gene interaction network, converting them into directed acyclic graphs (DAGs).  We generated synthetic gene expression data using the gene interaction networks deduced from the KEGG pathways and performed a comparative analysis of different cycle removal methods by testing the fitness of their DAGs to the data and by the number of edges they eliminate. Our results indicate that an ensemble method for cycle removal performs as the best approach to convert the gene interaction networks into DAGs. Resulting gene interaction networks and DAGs are represented in multiple user-friendly formats that can be used in other applications, and as images for quick and easy visualisation. The KEGG2Net web portal converts KEGG maps for any organism into gene-gene interaction networks and corresponding DAGs representing all of the direct and indirect interactions among the genes.

Availability: KEGG2Net is freely available at


biological pathways; gene interaction networks; bayesian networks; cycle removal

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