Transcript features alone enable accurate prediction and understanding of gene expression in S. cerevisiae.

Hadas Zur, Tamir Tuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gene expression is a central process in all living organisms. Central questions in the field are related to the way the expression levels of genes are encoded in the transcripts and affect their evolution, and the potential to predict expression levels solely by transcript features. In this study we analyze S. cerevisiae, a model organism with the most abundant relevant cellular and genomic measurements, to evaluate the accuracy in which expression levels can be predicted by different parts of the transcript. To this end, we perform various types of regression analyses based on a total of 5323 features of the transcript. The main advantage of the proposed predictors over previous ones is related to the accurate and comprehensive definitions of the relevant transcript features, which are based on biophysical knowledge of the gene transcription and translation processes, their modeling and evolution. Cross validation analyses of our predictors demonstrate that they achieve a correlation of 0.68/0.68/0.70/0.61/0.81 with mRNA levels, ribosomal density, protein levels, proteins per mRNA molecule (PPR), and ribosomal load (RL) respectively (all p-values <10(-140)). When we consider predictors that are based exclusively on the features related to different parts of the transcript (5'UTR, ORF, 3'UTR), the correlations with protein levels were 0.27/0.71/0.25 (all p-values <10(-5)), suggesting that the information in the UTRs is redundant, and features of the ORF alone yield similar predictions to the ones obtained based on the entire transcript. The reported results demonstrate that in the analyzed model organism the expression levels of a gene are encoded in the transcript. Specifically, the prediction of a large fraction of the variance of the different gene expression steps based on transcript features alone is feasible in S. cerevisiae. We report dozens of novel transcript features related to expression levels predictions, demonstrating how such analyses can aid in understanding the gene expression process and its evolution, and how such predictors can be designed for other organisms in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS1
Pages (from-to)S1
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Volume14 Suppl 15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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