MPTP’s Pathway of Toxicity Indicates Central Role of Transcription Factor SP1

Alexandra Maertens, Thomas Luechtefeld, Andre Kleensang, Thomas Hartung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Deriving a Pathway of Toxicity from transcriptomic data remains a challenging task. We explore the use of weighted gene correlation network analysis (WGCNA) to extract an initial network from a small microarray study of MPTP toxicity in mice. Five modules were statistically significant; each module was analyzed for gene signatures in the Chemical and Genetic Perturbation subset of the Molecular Signatures Database as well as for over-represented transcription factor binding sites and WGCNA clustered probes by function and captured pathways relevant to neurodegenerative disorders. The resulting network was analyzed for transcription factor candidates, which were narrowed down via text-mining for relevance to the disease model, and then combined with the large-scale interaction FANTOM4 database to generate a genetic regulatory network. Modules were enriched for transcription factors relevant to Parkinson’s disease. Transcription factors significantly improved the number of genes that could be connected in a given component. For each module, the transcription factor that had, by far, the highest number of interactions was SP1, and it also had substantial experimental evidence of interactions. This analysis both captures much of the known biology of MPTP toxicity and suggests several candidates for further study. Furthermore, the analysis strongly suggests that SP1 plays a central role in coordinating the cellular response to MPTP toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-755
Number of pages13
JournalArchives of Toxicology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • GRN
  • MPTP
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Pathway of toxicity
  • SP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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