How to normalize gene expression values for finding similar genes
0
0
Entering edit mode
6.0 years ago
ciclustigu ▴ 10

I am a bit confused on the kind of data transformation I have to use for analyzing gene expression data.

I have a matrix X, where rows are genes, columns are individuals, and entry X_{i,j} is a value of expression for gene i in individual j. I want to compare pairwise similarity between genes X_{i,:} and X_{j,:}.

Since values can vary a lot among individuals, and one individual could have high values for all the genes, that individual could have in general a higher impact on the similarities/dissimilarities between genes than other individuals.
Therefore, I think I have to "transform" my data somehow. However, it is not clear how to proceed.

Log transformation seems to be quite common in bioinformatics. It simply transforms each entry in the matrix $X$ considering the logarithm.

Another idea is to normalize the data matrix. But I do not understand if I have to impose norm 1 on each row or on each column.

On the one hand, if I impose norm one for each row, I am forcing each gene to have the same norm, or in biological term, the same magnitude of expressiveness along individuals.

On the other hand, if I impose norm one for each column, I am forcing each individual to have the same norm, or in biological term, the same magnitude of expressiveness along genes. That seems to be more reasonable to me, because if I compute the Euclidean distance between gene 1 and gene 2 I have to map their expression values to the same "order of magnitude", so that a distance along individuals should have approximately the same "influence" to the overall distance between the two genes.

So, how do you transform gene expression values to compare gene similarities?

Should I normalize the rows (same norm for all genes) or the columns (same norm for all individuals)?

gene RNA-Seq • 5.1k views
ADD COMMENT
0
Entering edit mode

What do you want to do downstream with the data? There are a number of common normalization schemes currently in use, you'd be advised to use them rather than rolling your own method unless you really have a good reason.

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

I want to compute "similarity" between genes, that could be a distance or co-expression.

 

Could you make explicit the normalization schemes?

ADD REPLY
1
Entering edit mode

You'll need to think about how your distance metric is affected by your "normalization".  Here is a little discussion of distance metrics and a graphical example of how the concept of distance is important.  

https://youtu.be/tln64P-w_8c?t=19m24s

In practice, using correlation between genes is often a good choice since we do not care about the absolute differences between gene expression measures, only relative changes.  Normalizing by row for visualization purposes is also a common approach.

ADD REPLY
0
Entering edit mode

You might take an approach like that recommended by WGCNA, which you might also want to use. In short, you take normalized values from DESeq2 or similar and compute covariation with those. I'm guessing that you want to build a network or cluster things into modules, thus the WGCNA mention.

ADD REPLY

Login before adding your answer.

Traffic: 1938 users visited in the last hour
Help About
FAQ
Access RSS
API
Stats

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

Powered by the version 2.3.6