BMC Bioinformatics (Mar 2010)

Integrating gene expression and GO classification for PCA by preclustering

  • Bauerschmidt Susanne,
  • de Vlieg Jacob,
  • van Schaik Rene C,
  • Piek Ester,
  • De Haan Jorn R,
  • Buydens Lutgarde MC,
  • Wehrens Ron

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
p. 158


Read online

Abstract Background Gene expression data can be analyzed by summarizing groups of individual gene expression profiles based on GO annotation information. The mean expression profile per group can then be used to identify interesting GO categories in relation to the experimental settings. However, the expression profiles present in GO classes are often heterogeneous, i.e., there are several different expression profiles within one class. As a result, important experimental findings can be obscured because the summarizing profile does not seem to be of interest. We propose to tackle this problem by finding homogeneous subclasses within GO categories: preclustering. Results Two microarray datasets are analyzed. First, a selection of genes from a well-known Saccharomyces cerevisiae dataset is used. The GO class "cell wall organization and biogenesis" is shown as a specific example. After preclustering, this term can be associated with different phases in the cell cycle, where it could not be associated with a specific phase previously. Second, a dataset of differentiation of human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC) into osteoblasts is used. For this dataset results are shown in which the GO term "skeletal development" is a specific example of a heterogeneous GO class for which better associations can be made after preclustering. The Intra Cluster Correlation (ICC), a measure of cluster tightness, is applied to identify relevant clusters. Conclusions We show that this method leads to an improved interpretability of results in Principal Component Analysis.