Immune system and zinc are associated with recurrent aphthous stomatitis. An assessment using a network-based approach.
Objective: The aim of this research was to identify genes, proteins and processes from the biomedical information published on recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) using network-based foci. Methods: The clinical context was defined using MeSH terms for RAS and biomarkers, combined with words associated with risk. A set of protein coding genes was prioritized using the Génie web server and classified with PANTHER. For defining biologically relevant proteins, protein-protein interaction networks were constructed using Reactome database and Cytoscape. Top 20 proteins were then subjected to functional enrichment using STRING. Results: From 1,075,576 gene-abstract links, 1,491 genes were prioritized. Proteins were related to signaling molecule proteins (n=221), receptor proteins (n=221) and nucleic acid binding proteins (n=169). The network constructed with these proteins included 3,963 nodes and functional analysis showed that main processes involved immune system and zinc ion binding function. Conclusions: For the first time, bioinformatics tools were used for integrating pathways and networks associated with RAS. Molecules and processes associated with immune system recur robustly in all analyzed information. The molecular zinc ion binding function could be an area for exploring more specific and effective therapeutic interventions.