The concordance between RNA-seq and microarray data depends on chemical treatment and transcript abundance

The concordance of RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) with microarrays for genome-wide analysis of differential gene expression has not been rigorously assessed using a range of chemical treatment conditions. Here a team led by researchers atuse at the US FDA comprehensive study design to generate Illumina RNA-seq and Affymetrix microarray data from the same liver samples of rats exposed in triplicate to varying degrees of perturbation by 27 chemicals representing multiple modes of action (MOAs). The cross-platform concordance in terms of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) or enriched pathways is linearly correlated with treatment effect size (R20.8). Furthermore, the concordance is also affected by transcript abundance and biological complexity of the MOA. RNA-seq outperforms microarray (93% versus 75%) in DEG verification as assessed by quantitative PCR, with the gain mainly due to its improved accuracy for low-abundance transcripts. Nonetheless, classifiers to predict MOAs perform similarly when developed using data from either platform. Therefore, the endpoint studied and its biological complexity, transcript abundance and the genomic application are important factors in transcriptomic research and for clinical and regulatory decision making.

rna-seq

Data Availability –

RNA-Seq Data – The processed data from pipeline P1 were deposited in Gene Expression Omnibus (NCBI) under accession number GSE55347.

Microarray Data – Raw data and MAS5 normalized data were also deposited to Gene Expression Omnibus (NCBI) under the accession number GSE47875.

Wang et al. (2014) The concordance between RNA-seq and microarray data depends on chemical treatment and transcript abundance. Nat Biotechnol [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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