An empirical Bayes approach for analysis of diverse periodic trends in time-course gene expression data


Motivation: There is a substantial body of works in the biology literature that seeks to characterize the cyclic behavior of genes during cell division. Gene expression microarrays made it possible to measure the expression profiles of thousands of genes simultaneously in time-course experiments to assess changes in the expression levels of genes over time. In this context, the commonly used procedures for testing include the permutation test by de Lichtenberg et al. and the Fisher's G-test, both of which are designed to evaluate periodicity against noise. However, it is possible that a gene of interest may have expression that is neither cyclic nor just noise. Thus, there is a need for a new test for periodicity that can identify cyclic patterns against not only noise but also other non-cyclic patterns such as linear, quadratic or higher order polynomial patterns.Results: To address this weakness, we have introduced an empirical Bayes approach to test for periodicity and compare its performance in terms of sensitivity and specificity with that of the permutation test and Fisher's G-test through extensive simulations and by application to a set of time-course experiments on the Schizosaccharomyces pombe cell-cycle gene expression. We use 'conserved' and 'cycling' genes by Lu et al. to assess the sensitivity and CESR genes by Chenet al. to assess the specificity of our new empirical Bayes method. © 2012 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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