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1.  The Genopolis Microarray Database 
BMC Bioinformatics  2007;8(Suppl 1):S21.
Background
Gene expression databases are key resources for microarray data management and analysis and the importance of a proper annotation of their content is well understood.
Public repositories as well as microarray database systems that can be implemented by single laboratories exist. However, there is not yet a tool that can easily support a collaborative environment where different users with different rights of access to data can interact to define a common highly coherent content. The scope of the Genopolis database is to provide a resource that allows different groups performing microarray experiments related to a common subject to create a common coherent knowledge base and to analyse it. The Genopolis database has been implemented as a dedicated system for the scientific community studying dendritic and macrophage cells functions and host-parasite interactions.
Results
The Genopolis Database system allows the community to build an object based MIAME compliant annotation of their experiments and to store images, raw and processed data from the Affymetrix GeneChip® platform. It supports dynamical definition of controlled vocabularies and provides automated and supervised steps to control the coherence of data and annotations. It allows a precise control of the visibility of the database content to different sub groups in the community and facilitates exports of its content to public repositories. It provides an interactive users interface for data analysis: this allows users to visualize data matrices based on functional lists and sample characterization, and to navigate to other data matrices defined by similarity of expression values as well as functional characterizations of genes involved. A collaborative environment is also provided for the definition and sharing of functional annotation by users.
Conclusion
The Genopolis Database supports a community in building a common coherent knowledge base and analyse it. This fills a gap between a local database and a public repository, where the development of a common coherent annotation is important. In its current implementation, it provides a uniform coherently annotated dataset on dendritic cells and macrophage differentiation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-S1-S21
PMCID: PMC1885851  PMID: 17430566
2.  How to decide? Different methods of calculating gene expression from short oligonucleotide array data will give different results 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:137.
Background
Short oligonucleotide arrays for transcript profiling have been available for several years. Generally, raw data from these arrays are analysed with the aid of the Microarray Analysis Suite or GeneChip Operating Software (MAS or GCOS) from Affymetrix. Recently, more methods to analyse the raw data have become available. Ideally all these methods should come up with more or less the same results. We set out to evaluate the different methods and include work on our own data set, in order to test which method gives the most reliable results.
Results
Calculating gene expression with 6 different algorithms (MAS5, dChip PMMM, dChip PM, RMA, GC-RMA and PDNN) using the same (Arabidopsis) data, results in different calculated gene expression levels. Consequently, depending on the method used, different genes will be identified as differentially regulated. Surprisingly, there was only 27 to 36% overlap between the different methods. Furthermore, 47.5% of the genes/probe sets showed good correlation between the mismatch and perfect match intensities.
Conclusion
After comparing six algorithms, RMA gave the most reproducible results and showed the highest correlation coefficients with Real Time RT-PCR data on genes identified as differentially expressed by all methods. However, we were not able to verify, by Real Time RT-PCR, the microarray results for most genes that were solely calculated by RMA. Furthermore, we conclude that subtraction of the mismatch intensity from the perfect match intensity results most likely in a significant underestimation for at least 47.5% of the expression values. Not one algorithm produced significant expression values for genes present in quantities below 1 pmol. If the only purpose of the microarray experiment is to find new candidate genes, and too many genes are found, then mutual exclusion of the genes predicted by contrasting methods can be used to narrow down the list of new candidate genes by 64 to 73%.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-137
PMCID: PMC1431565  PMID: 16539732
3.  The Medicago truncatula gene expression atlas web server 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10:441.
Background
Legumes (Leguminosae or Fabaceae) play a major role in agriculture. Transcriptomics studies in the model legume species, Medicago truncatula, are instrumental in helping to formulate hypotheses about the role of legume genes. With the rapid growth of publically available Affymetrix GeneChip Medicago Genome Array GeneChip data from a great range of tissues, cell types, growth conditions, and stress treatments, the legume research community desires an effective bioinformatics system to aid efforts to interpret the Medicago genome through functional genomics. We developed the Medicago truncatula Gene Expression Atlas (MtGEA) web server for this purpose.
Description
The Medicago truncatula Gene Expression Atlas (MtGEA) web server is a centralized platform for analyzing the Medicago transcriptome. Currently, the web server hosts gene expression data from 156 Affymetrix GeneChip® Medicago genome arrays in 64 different experiments, covering a broad range of developmental and environmental conditions. The server enables flexible, multifaceted analyses of transcript data and provides a range of additional information about genes, including different types of annotation and links to the genome sequence, which help users formulate hypotheses about gene function. Transcript data can be accessed using Affymetrix probe identification number, DNA sequence, gene name, functional description in natural language, GO and KEGG annotation terms, and InterPro domain number. Transcripts can also be discovered through co-expression or differential expression analysis. Flexible tools to select a subset of experiments and to visualize and compare expression profiles of multiple genes have been implemented. Data can be downloaded, in part or full, in a tabular form compatible with common analytical and visualization software. The web server will be updated on a regular basis to incorporate new gene expression data and genome annotation, and is accessible at: http://bioinfo.noble.org/gene-atlas/.
Conclusions
The MtGEA web server has a well managed rich data set, and offers data retrieval and analysis tools provided in the web platform. It's proven to be a powerful resource for plant biologists to effectively and efficiently identify Medicago transcripts of interest from a multitude of aspects, formulate hypothesis about gene function, and overall interpret the Medicago genome from a systematic point of view.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-441
PMCID: PMC2804685  PMID: 20028527
4.  Microarray meta-analysis database (M2DB): a uniformly pre-processed, quality controlled, and manually curated human clinical microarray database 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:421.
Background
Over the past decade, gene expression microarray studies have greatly expanded our knowledge of genetic mechanisms of human diseases. Meta-analysis of substantial amounts of accumulated data, by integrating valuable information from multiple studies, is becoming more important in microarray research. However, collecting data of special interest from public microarray repositories often present major practical problems. Moreover, including low-quality data may significantly reduce meta-analysis efficiency.
Results
M2DB is a human curated microarray database designed for easy querying, based on clinical information and for interactive retrieval of either raw or uniformly pre-processed data, along with a set of quality-control metrics. The database contains more than 10,000 previously published Affymetrix GeneChip arrays, performed using human clinical specimens. M2DB allows online querying according to a flexible combination of five clinical annotations describing disease state and sampling location. These annotations were manually curated by controlled vocabularies, based on information obtained from GEO, ArrayExpress, and published papers. For array-based assessment control, the online query provides sets of QC metrics, generated using three available QC algorithms. Arrays with poor data quality can easily be excluded from the query interface. The query provides values from two algorithms for gene-based filtering, and raw data and three kinds of pre-processed data for downloading.
Conclusion
M2DB utilizes a user-friendly interface for QC parameters, sample clinical annotations, and data formats to help users obtain clinical metadata. This database provides a lower entry threshold and an integrated process of meta-analysis. We hope that this research will promote further evolution of microarray meta-analysis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-421
PMCID: PMC2928207  PMID: 20698961
5.  A statistical method for predicting splice variants between two groups of samples using GeneChip® expression array data 
Background
Alternative splicing of pre-messenger RNA results in RNA variants with combinations of selected exons. It is one of the essential biological functions and regulatory components in higher eukaryotic cells. Some of these variants are detectable with the Affymetrix GeneChip® that uses multiple oligonucleotide probes (i.e. probe set), since the target sequences for the multiple probes are adjacent within each gene. Hybridization intensity from a probe correlates with abundance of the corresponding transcript. Although the multiple-probe feature in the current GeneChip® was designed to assess expression values of individual genes, it also measures transcriptional abundance for a sub-region of a gene sequence. This additional capacity motivated us to develop a method to predict alternative splicing, taking advance of extensive repositories of GeneChip® gene expression array data.
Results
We developed a two-step approach to predict alternative splicing from GeneChip® data. First, we clustered the probes from a probe set into pseudo-exons based on similarity of probe intensities and physical adjacency. A pseudo-exon is defined as a sequence in the gene within which multiple probes have comparable probe intensity values. Second, for each pseudo-exon, we assessed the statistical significance of the difference in probe intensity between two groups of samples. Differentially expressed pseudo-exons are predicted to be alternatively spliced. We applied our method to empirical data generated from GeneChip® Hu6800 arrays, which include 7129 probe sets and twenty probes per probe set. The dataset consists of sixty-nine medulloblastoma (27 metastatic and 42 non-metastatic) samples and four cerebellum samples as normal controls. We predicted that 577 genes would be alternatively spliced when we compared normal cerebellum samples to medulloblastomas, and predicted that thirteen genes would be alternatively spliced when we compared metastatic medulloblastomas to non-metastatic ones. We checked the consistency of some of our findings with information in UCSC Human Genome Browser.
Conclusion
The two-step approach described in this paper is capable of predicting some alternative splicing from multiple oligonucleotide-based gene expression array data with GeneChip® technology. Our method employs the extensive repositories of gene expression array data available and generates alternative splicing hypotheses, which can be further validated by experimental studies.
doi:10.1186/1742-4682-3-19
PMCID: PMC1502129  PMID: 16603076
6.  easyExon – A Java-based GUI tool for processing and visualization of Affymetrix exon array data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:432.
Background
Alternative RNA splicing greatly increases proteome diversity and thereby contribute to species- or tissue-specific functions. The possibility to study alternative splicing (AS) events on a genomic scale using splicing-sensitive microarrays, including the Affymetrix GeneChip Exon 1.0 ST microarray (exon array), has appeared very recently. However, the application of this new technology is hindered by the lack of free and user-friendly software devoted to these novel platforms.
Results
In this study we present a Java-based freeware, easyExon , to process, filtrate and visualize exon array data with an analysis pipeline. This tool implements the most commonly used probeset summarization methods as well as AS-orientated filtration algorithms, e.g. MIDAS and PAC, for the detection of alternative splicing events. We include a biological filtration function according to GO terms, and provide a module to visualize and interpret the selected exons and transcripts. Furthermore, easyExon can integrate with other related programs, such as Integrate Genome Browser (IGB) and Affymetrix Power Tools (APT), to make the whole analysis more comprehensive. We applied easyExon on a public accessible colon cancer dataset as an example to illustrate the analysis pipeline of this tool.
Conclusion
EasyExon can efficiently process and analyze the Affymetrix exon array data. The simplicity, flexibility and brevity of easyExon make it a valuable tool for AS event identification in genomic research.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-432
PMCID: PMC2579307  PMID: 18851762
7.  SIGMA: A System for Integrative Genomic Microarray Analysis of Cancer Genomes 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:324.
Background
The prevalence of high resolution profiling of genomes has created a need for the integrative analysis of information generated from multiple methodologies and platforms. Although the majority of data in the public domain are gene expression profiles, and expression analysis software are available, the increase of array CGH studies has enabled integration of high throughput genomic and gene expression datasets. However, tools for direct mining and analysis of array CGH data are limited. Hence, there is a great need for analytical and display software tailored to cross platform integrative analysis of cancer genomes.
Results
We have created a user-friendly java application to facilitate sophisticated visualization and analysis such as cross-tumor and cross-platform comparisons. To demonstrate the utility of this software, we assembled array CGH data representing Affymetrix SNP chip, Stanford cDNA arrays and whole genome tiling path array platforms for cross comparison. This cancer genome database contains 267 profiles from commonly used cancer cell lines representing 14 different tissue types.
Conclusion
In this study we have developed an application for the visualization and analysis of data from high resolution array CGH platforms that can be adapted for analysis of multiple types of high throughput genomic datasets. Furthermore, we invite researchers using array CGH technology to deposit both their raw and processed data, as this will be a continually expanding database of cancer genomes. This publicly available resource, the System for Integrative Genomic Microarray Analysis (SIGMA) of cancer genomes, can be accessed at .
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-324
PMCID: PMC1764892  PMID: 17192189
8.  Novel markers for differentiation of lobular and ductal invasive breast carcinomas by laser microdissection and microarray analysis 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:55.
Background
Invasive ductal and lobular carcinomas (IDC and ILC) are the most common histological types of breast cancer. Clinical follow-up data and metastatic patterns suggest that the development and progression of these tumors are different. The aim of our study was to identify gene expression profiles of IDC and ILC in relation to normal breast epithelial cells.
Methods
We examined 30 samples (normal ductal and lobular cells from 10 patients, IDC cells from 5 patients, ILC cells from 5 patients) microdissected from cryosections of ten mastectomy specimens from postmenopausal patients. Fifty nanograms of total RNA were amplified and labeled by PCR and in vitro transcription. Samples were analysed upon Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 Arrays. The expression of seven differentially expressed genes (CDH1, EMP1, DDR1, DVL1, KRT5, KRT6, KRT17) was verified by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. Expression of ASPN mRNA was validated by in situ hybridization on frozen sections, and CTHRC1, ASPN and COL3A1 were tested by PCR.
Results
Using GCOS pairwise comparison algorithm and rank products we have identified 84 named genes common to ILC versus normal cell types, 74 named genes common to IDC versus normal cell types, 78 named genes differentially expressed between normal ductal and lobular cells, and 28 named genes between IDC and ILC. Genes distinguishing between IDC and ILC are involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition, TGF-beta and Wnt signaling. These changes were present in both tumor types but appeared to be more prominent in ILC. Immunohistochemistry for several novel markers (EMP1, DVL1, DDR1) distinguished large sets of IDC from ILC.
Conclusion
IDC and ILC can be differentiated both at the gene and protein levels. In this study we report two candidate genes, asporin (ASPN) and collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1) which might be significant in breast carcinogenesis. Besides E-cadherin, the proteins validated on tissue microarrays (EMP1, DVL1, DDR1) may represent novel immunohistochemical markers helpful in distinguishing between IDC and ILC. Further studies with larger sets of patients are needed to verify the gene expression profiles of various histological types of breast cancer in order to determine molecular subclassifications, prognosis and the optimum treatment strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-55
PMCID: PMC1852112  PMID: 17389037
9.  MIMAS 3.0 is a Multiomics Information Management and Annotation System 
BMC Bioinformatics  2009;10:151.
Background
DNA sequence integrity, mRNA concentrations and protein-DNA interactions have been subject to genome-wide analyses based on microarrays with ever increasing efficiency and reliability over the past fifteen years. However, very recently novel technologies for Ultra High-Throughput DNA Sequencing (UHTS) have been harnessed to study these phenomena with unprecedented precision. As a consequence, the extensive bioinformatics environment available for array data management, analysis, interpretation and publication must be extended to include these novel sequencing data types.
Description
MIMAS was originally conceived as a simple, convenient and local Microarray Information Management and Annotation System focused on GeneChips for expression profiling studies. MIMAS 3.0 enables users to manage data from high-density oligonucleotide SNP Chips, expression arrays (both 3'UTR and tiling) and promoter arrays, BeadArrays as well as UHTS data using MIAME-compliant standardized vocabulary. Importantly, researchers can export data in MAGE-TAB format and upload them to the EBI's ArrayExpress certified data repository using a one-step procedure.
Conclusion
We have vastly extended the capability of the system such that it processes the data output of six types of GeneChips (Affymetrix), two different BeadArrays for mRNA and miRNA (Illumina) and the Genome Analyzer (a popular Ultra-High Throughput DNA Sequencer, Illumina), without compromising on its flexibility and user-friendliness. MIMAS, appropriately renamed into Multiomics Information Management and Annotation System, is currently used by scientists working in approximately 50 academic laboratories and genomics platforms in Switzerland and France. MIMAS 3.0 is freely available via .
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-151
PMCID: PMC2694794  PMID: 19450266
10.  The MetabolomeExpress Project: enabling web-based processing, analysis and transparent dissemination of GC/MS metabolomics datasets 
BMC Bioinformatics  2010;11:376.
Background
Standardization of analytical approaches and reporting methods via community-wide collaboration can work synergistically with web-tool development to result in rapid community-driven expansion of online data repositories suitable for data mining and meta-analysis. In metabolomics, the inter-laboratory reproducibility of gas-chromatography/mass-spectrometry (GC/MS) makes it an obvious target for such development. While a number of web-tools offer access to datasets and/or tools for raw data processing and statistical analysis, none of these systems are currently set up to act as a public repository by easily accepting, processing and presenting publicly submitted GC/MS metabolomics datasets for public re-analysis.
Description
Here, we present MetabolomeExpress, a new File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server and web-tool for the online storage, processing, visualisation and statistical re-analysis of publicly submitted GC/MS metabolomics datasets. Users may search a quality-controlled database of metabolite response statistics from publicly submitted datasets by a number of parameters (eg. metabolite, species, organ/biofluid etc.). Users may also perform meta-analysis comparisons of multiple independent experiments or re-analyse public primary datasets via user-friendly tools for t-test, principal components analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis and correlation analysis. They may interact with chromatograms, mass spectra and peak detection results via an integrated raw data viewer. Researchers who register for a free account may upload (via FTP) their own data to the server for online processing via a novel raw data processing pipeline.
Conclusions
MetabolomeExpress https://www.metabolome-express.org provides a new opportunity for the general metabolomics community to transparently present online the raw and processed GC/MS data underlying their metabolomics publications. Transparent sharing of these data will allow researchers to assess data quality and draw their own insights from published metabolomics datasets.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-376
PMCID: PMC2912306  PMID: 20626915
11.  A Grid-based solution for management and analysis of microarrays in distributed experiments 
BMC Bioinformatics  2007;8(Suppl 1):S7.
Several systems have been presented in the last years in order to manage the complexity of large microarray experiments. Although good results have been achieved, most systems tend to lack in one or more fields. A Grid based approach may provide a shared, standardized and reliable solution for storage and analysis of biological data, in order to maximize the results of experimental efforts. A Grid framework has been therefore adopted due to the necessity of remotely accessing large amounts of distributed data as well as to scale computational performances for terabyte datasets. Two different biological studies have been planned in order to highlight the benefits that can emerge from our Grid based platform. The described environment relies on storage services and computational services provided by the gLite Grid middleware. The Grid environment is also able to exploit the added value of metadata in order to let users better classify and search experiments. A state-of-art Grid portal has been implemented in order to hide the complexity of framework from end users and to make them able to easily access available services and data. The functional architecture of the portal is described. As a first test of the system performances, a gene expression analysis has been performed on a dataset of Affymetrix GeneChip® Rat Expression Array RAE230A, from the ArrayExpress database. The sequence of analysis includes three steps: (i) group opening and image set uploading, (ii) normalization, and (iii) model based gene expression (based on PM/MM difference model). Two different Linux versions (sequential and parallel) of the dChip software have been developed to implement the analysis and have been tested on a cluster. From results, it emerges that the parallelization of the analysis process and the execution of parallel jobs on distributed computational resources actually improve the performances. Moreover, the Grid environment have been tested both against the possibility of uploading and accessing distributed datasets through the Grid middleware and against its ability in managing the execution of jobs on distributed computational resources. Results from the Grid test will be discussed in a further paper.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC1885859  PMID: 17430574
12.  ITTACA: a new database for integrated tumor transcriptome array and clinical data analysis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;34(Database issue):D613-D616.
Transcriptome microarrays have become one of the tools of choice for investigating the genes involved in tumorigenesis and tumor progression, as well as finding new biomarkers and gene expression signatures for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. Here, we describe a new database for Integrated Tumor Transcriptome Array and Clinical data Analysis (ITTACA). ITTACA centralizes public datasets containing both gene expression and clinical data. ITTACA currently focuses on the types of cancer that are of particular interest to research teams at Institut Curie: breast carcinoma, bladder carcinoma and uveal melanoma. A web interface allows users to carry out different class comparison analyses, including the comparison of expression distribution profiles, tests for differential expression and patient survival analyses. ITTACA is complementary to other databases, such as GEO and SMD, because it offers a better integration of clinical data and different functionalities. It also offers more options for class comparison analyses when compared with similar projects such as Oncomine. For example, users can define their own patient groups according to clinical data or gene expression levels. This added flexibility and the user-friendly web interface makes ITTACA especially useful for comparing personal results with the results in the existing literature. ITTACA is accessible online at .
doi:10.1093/nar/gkj022
PMCID: PMC1347385  PMID: 16381943
13.  MIMAS: an innovative tool for network-based high density oligonucleotide microarray data management and annotation 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:190.
Background
The high-density oligonucleotide microarray (GeneChip) is an important tool for molecular biological research aiming at large-scale detection of small nucleotide polymorphisms in DNA and genome-wide analysis of mRNA concentrations. Local array data management solutions are instrumental for efficient processing of the results and for subsequent uploading of data and annotations to a global certified data repository at the EBI (ArrayExpress) or the NCBI (GeneOmnibus).
Description
To facilitate and accelerate annotation of high-throughput expression profiling experiments, the Microarray Information Management and Annotation System (MIMAS) was developed. The system is fully compliant with the Minimal Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) convention. MIMAS provides life scientists with a highly flexible and focused GeneChip data storage and annotation platform essential for subsequent analysis and interpretation of experimental results with clustering and mining tools. The system software can be downloaded for academic use upon request.
Conclusion
MIMAS implements a novel concept for nation-wide GeneChip data management whereby a network of facilities is centered on one data node directly connected to the European certified public microarray data repository located at the EBI. The solution proposed may serve as a prototype approach to array data management between research institutes organized in a consortium.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-190
PMCID: PMC1459208  PMID: 16597336
14.  LegumeGRN: A Gene Regulatory Network Prediction Server for Functional and Comparative Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67434.
Building accurate gene regulatory networks (GRNs) from high-throughput gene expression data is a long-standing challenge. However, with the emergence of new algorithms combined with the increase of transcriptomic data availability, it is now reachable. To help biologists to investigate gene regulatory relationships, we developed a web-based computational service to build, analyze and visualize GRNs that govern various biological processes. The web server is preloaded with all available Affymetrix GeneChip-based transcriptomic and annotation data from the three model legume species, i.e., Medicago truncatula, Lotus japonicus and Glycine max. Users can also upload their own transcriptomic and transcription factor datasets from any other species/organisms to analyze their in-house experiments. Users are able to select which experiments, genes and algorithms they will consider to perform their GRN analysis. To achieve this flexibility and improve prediction performance, we have implemented multiple mainstream GRN prediction algorithms including co-expression, Graphical Gaussian Models (GGMs), Context Likelihood of Relatedness (CLR), and parallelized versions of TIGRESS and GENIE3. Besides these existing algorithms, we also proposed a parallel Bayesian network learning algorithm, which can infer causal relationships (i.e., directionality of interaction) and scale up to several thousands of genes. Moreover, this web server also provides tools to allow integrative and comparative analysis between predicted GRNs obtained from different algorithms or experiments, as well as comparisons between legume species. The web site is available at http://legumegrn.noble.org.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067434
PMCID: PMC3701055  PMID: 23844010
15.  Evaluation of Microarray Performance for Two RNA Amplification Methodologies 
RP-71
Advances in high-throughput gene expression technologies such as microarrays have transformed our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying various types of biological processes and diseases. The Applause™ line of products (3'-Amp, WT-Amp ST, and WT-Amp Plus ST) addresses requirements of gene expression microarray users with high-quality RNA (50 nanograms) that want a low-cost, single-day, and reliable sample preparation solution. A comparison was made between the Applause line of amplification products and available vendor data for the GeneChip® WT cDNA Synthesis and Amplification and GeneChip3' IVT Express products. Data generated from 50 ng HeLa, MAQC A, and MAQC B RNA using the Applause 3'-Amp kit were compared to equivalent reported vendor data for the GeneChip 3' IVT Express amplification kit. NuGEN's Applause 3'-Amp outperformed the GeneChip 3' IVT Express with amplifications and labeling completed within 6 hours. It also did better than the GeneChip 3' IVT Express platform on HGU133 Plus 2.0 by percent Present Calls (%P). Differential expression analysis of MAQC samples demonstrated high correlation between the Applause 3'-Amp array data and data generated by quantitative PCR (qPCR) for the MAQC Project (Nature Biotech, 24:1151-1161 (2006)), with an R value of 0.96. Data generated from 50 ng brain and skeletal muscle RNA with the Applause WT-Amp ST and WT-Amp Plus ST kits were compared to equivalent 1 μg vendor data for GeneChip WT cDNA Synthesis and Amplification Kit. In addition to the improved speed (9 hours), the Applause WT-Amp kits also showed better QC array metrics (Pos-vs-Neg AUC, All-Probe-Set-Mean, All-Probe-Set-RLE-Mean) than the GeneChip WT cDNA Synthesis and Amplification kit. The Applause amplification system provides researchers with a fast, economical, and high-quality solution to everyday microarray needs.
PMCID: PMC2918120
16.  Using MATLAB software with Tomcat server and Java platform for remote image analysis in pathology 
Diagnostic Pathology  2011;6(Suppl 1):S18.
Background
The Matlab software is a one of the most advanced development tool for application in engineering practice. From our point of view the most important is the image processing toolbox, offering many built-in functions, including mathematical morphology, and implementation of a many artificial neural networks as AI. It is very popular platform for creation of the specialized program for image analysis, also in pathology. Based on the latest version of Matlab Builder Java toolbox, it is possible to create the software, serving as a remote system for image analysis in pathology via internet communication. The internet platform can be realized based on Java Servlet Pages with Tomcat server as servlet container.
Methods
In presented software implementation we propose remote image analysis realized by Matlab algorithms. These algorithms can be compiled to executable jar file with the help of Matlab Builder Java toolbox. The Matlab function must be declared with the set of input data, output structure with numerical results and Matlab web figure. Any function prepared in that manner can be used as a Java function in Java Servlet Pages (JSP). The graphical user interface providing the input data and displaying the results (also in graphical form) must be implemented in JSP. Additionally the data storage to database can be implemented within algorithm written in Matlab with the help of Matlab Database Toolbox directly with the image processing. The complete JSP page can be run by Tomcat server.
Results
The proposed tool for remote image analysis was tested on the Computerized Analysis of Medical Images (CAMI) software developed by author. The user provides image and case information (diagnosis, staining, image parameter etc.). When analysis is initialized, input data with image are sent to servlet on Tomcat. When analysis is done, client obtains the graphical results as an image with marked recognized cells and also the quantitative output. Additionally, the results are stored in a server database. The internet platform was tested on PC Intel Core2 Duo T9600 2.8GHz 4GB RAM server with 768x576 pixel size, 1.28Mb tiff format images reffering to meningioma tumour (x400, Ki-67/MIB-1). The time consumption was as following: at analysis by CAMI, locally on a server – 3.5 seconds, at remote analysis – 26 seconds, from which 22 seconds were used for data transfer via internet connection. At jpg format image (102 Kb) the consumption time was reduced to 14 seconds.
Conclusions
The results have confirmed that designed remote platform can be useful for pathology image analysis. The time consumption is depended mainly on the image size and speed of the internet connections. The presented implementation can be used for many types of analysis at different staining, tissue, morphometry approaches, etc. The significant problem is the implementation of the JSP page in the multithread form, that can be used parallelly by many users. The presented platform for image analysis in pathology can be especially useful for small laboratory without its own image analysis system.
doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-S1-S18
PMCID: PMC3073211  PMID: 21489188
17.  Gene regulation induced in the C57BL/6J mouse retina by hyperoxia: a temporal microarray study 
Molecular Vision  2008;14:1983-1994.
Purpose
Hyperoxia is specifically toxic to photoreceptors, and this toxicity may be important in the progress of retinal dystrophies. This study examines gene expression induced in the C57BL/6J mouse retina by hyperoxia over the 14-day period during which photoreceptors first resist, then succumb to, hyperoxia.
Methods
Young adult C57BL/6J mice were exposed to hyperoxia (75% oxygen) for up to 14 days. On day 0 (control), day 3, day 7, and day 14, retinal RNA was extracted and processed on Affymetrix GeneChip® Mouse Genome 430 2.0 arrays. Microarray data were analyzed using GCOS Version 1.4 and GeneSpring Version 7.3.1. For 15 genes, microarray data were confirmed using relative quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction techniques.
Results
The overall numbers of hyperoxia-regulated genes increased monotonically with exposure. Within that increase, however, a distinctive temporal pattern was apparent. At 3 days exposure, there was prominent upregulation of genes associated with neuroprotection. By day 14, these early-responsive genes were downregulated, and genes related to cell death were strongly expressed. At day 7, the regulation of these genes was mixed, indicating a possible “transition period” from stability at day 3 to degeneration at day 14. When functional groupings of genes were analyzed separately, there was significant regulation in genes responsive to stress, genes known to cause human photoreceptor dystrophies and genes associated with apoptosis.
Conclusions
Microarray analysis of the response of the retina to prolonged hyperoxia demonstrated a temporal pattern involving early neuroprotection and later cell death, and provided insight into the mechanisms involved in the two phases of response. As hyperoxia is a consistent feature of the late stages of photoreceptor degenerations, understanding the mechanisms of oxygen toxicity may be important therapeutically.
PMCID: PMC2579940  PMID: 18989387
18.  Identification of Candidate Genes in Scleroderma-Related Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
We hypothesize that pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)-associated genes identified by expression profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) can also be identified in PBMCs from scleroderma patients with PAH (PAH-SSc). Gene expression profiles of PBMCs collected from IPAH (n=9), PAH-SSc (n=10) patients and healthy controls (n=5) were generated using HG_U133A_2.0 GeneChips and processed by RMA/GCOS_1.4/SAM_1.21 data analysis pipeline. Disease severity in consecutive patients was assessed by functional status and hemodynamic measurements. The expression profiles were analyzed using PAH severity-stratification, and identified candidate genes were validated with real time PCR (rtPCR). Transcriptomics of PBMCs from IPAH patients was highly comparable with that of PMBCs from PAH-SSc patients. The PBMC gene expression patterns significantly correlate with right atrium pressure (RA) and cardiac index (CI), known predictors of survival in PAH. Array stratification by RA and CI identified 364 PAH-associated candidate genes. Gene ontology analysis revealed significant (Zscore > 1.96) alterations in angiogenesis genes according to PAH severity: MMP9 and VEGF were significantly upregulated in mild as compared to severe PAH and healthy controls, as confirmed by rtPCR. These data demonstrate that PBMCs from patients with PAH-SSc carry distinct transcriptional expression. Furthermore, our findings suggest an association between angiogenesis-related gene expression and severity of PAH in PAH-SSc patients. Deciphering the role of genes involved in vascular remodeling and PAH development may reveal new treatment targets for this devastating disorder.
doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2007.12.010
PMCID: PMC2359723  PMID: 18355767
19.  B2G-FAR, a species-centered GO annotation repository 
Bioinformatics  2011;27(7):919-924.
Motivation: Functional genomics research has expanded enormously in the last decade thanks to the cost reduction in high-throughput technologies and the development of computational tools that generate, standardize and share information on gene and protein function such as the Gene Ontology (GO). Nevertheless, many biologists, especially working with non-model organisms, still suffer from non-existing or low-coverage functional annotation, or simply struggle retrieving, summarizing and querying these data.
Results: The Blast2GO Functional Annotation Repository (B2G-FAR) is a bioinformatics resource envisaged to provide functional information for otherwise uncharacterized sequence data and offers data mining tools to analyze a larger repertoire of species than currently available. This new annotation resource has been created by applying the Blast2GO functional annotation engine in a strongly high-throughput manner to the entire space of public available sequences. The resulting repository contains GO term predictions for over 13.2 million non-redundant protein sequences based on BLAST search alignments from the SIMAP database. We generated GO annotation for approximately 150 000 different taxa making available 2000 species with the highest coverage through B2G-FAR. A second section within B2G-FAR holds functional annotations for 17 non-model organism Affymetrix GeneChips.
Conclusions: B2G-FAR provides easy access to exhaustive functional annotation for 2000 species offering a good balance between quality and quantity, thereby supporting functional genomics research especially in the case of non-model organisms.
Availability: The annotation resource is available at http://www.b2gfar.org.
Contact: aconesa@cipf.es; sgoetz@cipf.es
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btr059
PMCID: PMC3065692  PMID: 21335611
20.  Arabidopsis Gene Family Profiler (aGFP) – user-oriented transcriptomic database with easy-to-use graphic interface 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:39.
Background
Microarray technologies now belong to the standard functional genomics toolbox and have undergone massive development leading to increased genome coverage, accuracy and reliability. The number of experiments exploiting microarray technology has markedly increased in recent years. In parallel with the rapid accumulation of transcriptomic data, on-line analysis tools are being introduced to simplify their use. Global statistical data analysis methods contribute to the development of overall concepts about gene expression patterns and to query and compose working hypotheses. More recently, these applications are being supplemented with more specialized products offering visualization and specific data mining tools. We present a curated gene family-oriented gene expression database, Arabidopsis Gene Family Profiler (aGFP; ), which gives the user access to a large collection of normalised Affymetrix ATH1 microarray datasets. The database currently contains NASC Array and AtGenExpress transcriptomic datasets for various tissues at different developmental stages of wild type plants gathered from nearly 350 gene chips.
Results
The Arabidopsis GFP database has been designed as an easy-to-use tool for users needing an easily accessible resource for expression data of single genes, pre-defined gene families or custom gene sets, with the further possibility of keyword search. Arabidopsis Gene Family Profiler presents a user-friendly web interface using both graphic and text output. Data are stored at the MySQL server and individual queries are created in PHP script. The most distinguishable features of Arabidopsis Gene Family Profiler database are: 1) the presentation of normalized datasets (Affymetrix MAS algorithm and calculation of model-based gene-expression values based on the Perfect Match-only model); 2) the choice between two different normalization algorithms (Affymetrix MAS4 or MAS5 algorithms); 3) an intuitive interface; 4) an interactive "virtual plant" visualizing the spatial and developmental expression profiles of both gene families and individual genes.
Conclusion
Arabidopsis GFP gives users the possibility to analyze current Arabidopsis developmental transcriptomic data starting with simple global queries that can be expanded and further refined to visualize comparative and highly selective gene expression profiles.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-7-39
PMCID: PMC1963329  PMID: 17645793
21.  BEAT: Bioinformatics Exon Array Tool to store, analyze and visualize Affymetrix GeneChip Human Exon Array data from disease experiments 
BMC Bioinformatics  2012;13(Suppl 4):S21.
Background
It is known from recent studies that more than 90% of human multi-exon genes are subject to Alternative Splicing (AS), a key molecular mechanism in which multiple transcripts may be generated from a single gene. It is widely recognized that a breakdown in AS mechanisms plays an important role in cellular differentiation and pathologies. Polymerase Chain Reactions, microarrays and sequencing technologies have been applied to the study of transcript diversity arising from alternative expression. Last generation Affymetrix GeneChip Human Exon 1.0 ST Arrays offer a more detailed view of the gene expression profile providing information on the AS patterns. The exon array technology, with more than five million data points, can detect approximately one million exons, and it allows performing analyses at both gene and exon level. In this paper we describe BEAT, an integrated user-friendly bioinformatics framework to store, analyze and visualize exon arrays datasets. It combines a data warehouse approach with some rigorous statistical methods for assessing the AS of genes involved in diseases. Meta statistics are proposed as a novel approach to explore the analysis results. BEAT is available at http://beat.ba.itb.cnr.it.
Results
BEAT is a web tool which allows uploading and analyzing exon array datasets using standard statistical methods and an easy-to-use graphical web front-end. BEAT has been tested on a dataset with 173 samples and tuned using new datasets of exon array experiments from 28 colorectal cancer and 26 renal cell cancer samples produced at the Medical Genetics Unit of IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza.
To highlight all possible AS events, alternative names, accession Ids, Gene Ontology terms and biochemical pathways annotations are integrated with exon and gene level expression plots. The user can customize the results choosing custom thresholds for the statistical parameters and exploiting the available clinical data of the samples for a multivariate AS analysis.
Conclusions
Despite exon array chips being widely used for transcriptomics studies, there is a lack of analysis tools offering advanced statistical features and requiring no programming knowledge. BEAT provides a user-friendly platform for a comprehensive study of AS events in human diseases, displaying the analysis results with easily interpretable and interactive tables and graphics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-13-S4-S21
PMCID: PMC3314565  PMID: 22536968
22.  Comparative transcriptomics in the Triticeae 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:285.
Background
Barley and particularly wheat are two grass species of immense agricultural importance. In spite of polyploidization events within the latter, studies have shown that genotypically and phenotypically these species are very closely related and, indeed, fertile hybrids can be created by interbreeding. The advent of two genome-scale Affymetrix GeneChips now allows studies of the comparison of their transcriptomes.
Results
We have used the Wheat GeneChip to create a "gene expression atlas" for the wheat transcriptome (cv. Chinese Spring). For this, we chose mRNA from a range of tissues and developmental stages closely mirroring a comparable study carried out for barley (cv. Morex) using the Barley1 GeneChip. This, together with large-scale clustering of the probesets from the two GeneChips into "homologous groups", has allowed us to perform a genomic-scale comparative study of expression patterns in these two species. We explore the influence of the polyploidy of wheat on the results obtained with the Wheat GeneChip and quantify the correlation between conservation in gene sequence and gene expression in wheat and barley. In addition, we show how the conservation of expression patterns can be used to elucidate, probeset by probeset, the reliability of the Wheat GeneChip.
Conclusion
While there are many differences in expression on the level of individual genes and tissues, we demonstrate that the wheat and barley transcriptomes appear highly correlated. This finding is significant not only because given small evolutionary distance between the two species it is widely expected, but also because it demonstrates that it is possible to use the two GeneChips for comparative studies. This is the case even though their probeset composition reflects rather different design principles as well as, of course, the present incomplete knowledge of the gene content of the two species. We also show that, in general, the Wheat GeneChip is not able to distinguish contributions from individual homoeologs. Furthermore, the comparison between the two species leads us to conclude that the conservation of both gene sequence as well as gene expression is positively correlated with absolute expression levels, presumably reflecting increased selection pressure on genes coding for proteins present at high levels. In addition, the results indicate the presence of a correlation between sequence and expression conservation within the Triticeae.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-285
PMCID: PMC2717122  PMID: 19558723
23.  A Brassica Exon Array for Whole-Transcript Gene Expression Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12812.
Affymetrix GeneChip® arrays are used widely to study transcriptional changes in response to developmental and environmental stimuli. GeneChip® arrays comprise multiple 25-mer oligonucleotide probes per gene and retain certain advantages over direct sequencing. For plants, there are several public GeneChip® arrays whose probes are localised primarily in 3′ exons. Plant whole-transcript (WT) GeneChip® arrays are not yet publicly available, although WT resolution is needed to study complex crop genomes such as Brassica, which are typified by segmental duplications containing paralogous genes and/or allopolyploidy. Available sequence data were sampled from the Brassica A and C genomes, and 142,997 gene models identified. The assembled gene models were then used to establish a comprehensive public WT exon array for transcriptomics studies. The Affymetrix GeneChip® Brassica Exon 1.0 ST Array is a 5 µM feature size array, containing 2.4 million 25-base oligonucleotide probes representing 135,201 gene models, with 15 probes per gene distributed among exons. Discrimination of the gene models was based on an E-value cut-off of 1E−5, with ≤98% sequence identity. The 135 k Brassica Exon Array was validated by quantifying transcriptome differences between leaf and root tissue from a reference Brassica rapa line (R-o-18), and categorisation by Gene Ontologies (GO) based on gene orthology with Arabidopsis thaliana. Technical validation involved comparison of the exon array with a 60-mer array platform using the same starting RNA samples. The 135 k Brassica Exon Array is a robust platform. All data relating to the array design and probe identities are available in the public domain and are curated within the BrassEnsembl genome viewer at http://www.brassica.info/BrassEnsembl/index.html.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012812
PMCID: PMC2940909  PMID: 20862292
24.  Comparison of Affymetrix Gene Array with the Exon Array shows potential application for detection of transcript isoform variation 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:519.
Background
The emergence of isoform-sensitive microarrays has helped fuel in-depth studies of the human transcriptome. The Affymetrix GeneChip Human Exon 1.0 ST Array (Exon Array) has been previously shown to be effective in profiling gene expression at the isoform level. More recently, the Affymetrix GeneChip Human Gene 1.0 ST Array (Gene Array) has been released for measuring gene expression and interestingly contains a large subset of probes from the Exon Array. Here, we explore the potential of using Gene Array probes to assess expression variation at the sub-transcript level. Utilizing datasets of the high quality Microarray Quality Control (MAQC) RNA samples previously assayed on the Exon Array and Gene Array, we compare the expression measurements of the two platforms to determine the performance of the Gene Array in detecting isoform variations.
Results
Overall, we show that the Gene Array is comparable to the Exon Array in making gene expression calls. Moreover, to examine expression of different isoforms, we modify the Gene Array probe set definition file to enable summarization of probe intensity values at the exon level and show that the expression profiles between the two platforms are also highly correlated. Next, expression calls of previously known differentially spliced genes were compared and also show concordant results. Splicing index analysis, representing estimates of exon inclusion levels, shows a lower but good correlation between platforms. As the Gene Array contains a significant subset of probes from the Exon Array, we note that, in comparison, the Gene Array overlaps with fewer but still a high proportion of splicing events annotated in the Known Alt Events UCSC track, with abundant coverage of cassette exons. We discuss the ability of the Gene Array to detect alternative splicing and isoform variation and address its limitations.
Conclusion
The Gene Array is an effective expression profiling tool at gene and exon expression level, the latter made possible by probe set annotation modifications. We demonstrate that the Gene Array is capable of detecting alternative splicing and isoform variation. As expected, in comparison to the Exon Array, it is limited by reduced gene content coverage and is not able to detect as wide a range of alternative splicing events. However, for the events that can be monitored by both platforms, we estimate that the selectivity and sensitivity levels are comparable. We hope our findings will shed light on the potential extension of the Gene Array to detect alternative splicing. It should be particularly suitable for researchers primarily interested in gene expression analysis, but who may be willing to look for splicing and isoform differences within their dataset. However, we do not suggest it to be an equivalent substitute to the more comprehensive Exon Array.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-519
PMCID: PMC2780461  PMID: 19909511
25.  Effects of filtering by Present call on analysis of microarray experiments 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:49.
Background
Affymetrix GeneChips® are widely used for expression profiling of tens of thousands of genes. The large number of comparisons can lead to false positives. Various methods have been used to reduce false positives, but they have rarely been compared or quantitatively evaluated. Here we describe and evaluate a simple method that uses the detection (Present/Absent) call generated by the Affymetrix microarray suite version 5 software (MAS5) to remove data that is not reliably detected before further analysis, and compare this with filtering by expression level. We explore the effects of various thresholds for removing data in experiments of different size (from 3 to 10 arrays per treatment), as well as their relative power to detect significant differences in expression.
Results
Our approach sets a threshold for the fraction of arrays called Present in at least one treatment group. This method removes a large percentage of probe sets called Absent before carrying out the comparisons, while retaining most of the probe sets called Present. It preferentially retains the more significant probe sets (p ≤ 0.001) and those probe sets that are turned on or off, and improves the false discovery rate. Permutations to estimate false positives indicate that probe sets removed by the filter contribute a disproportionate number of false positives. Filtering by fraction Present is effective when applied to data generated either by the MAS5 algorithm or by other probe-level algorithms, for example RMA (robust multichip average). Experiment size greatly affects the ability to reproducibly detect significant differences, and also impacts the effect of filtering; smaller experiments (3–5 samples per treatment group) benefit from more restrictive filtering (≥50% Present).
Conclusion
Use of a threshold fraction of Present detection calls (derived by MAS5) provided a simple method that effectively eliminated from analysis probe sets that are unlikely to be reliable while preserving the most significant probe sets and those turned on or off; it thereby increased the ratio of true positives to false positives.
doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-49
PMCID: PMC1409797  PMID: 16448562

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