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Measuring and analyzing tissue specificity of human genes and protein complexes

Dorothea Emig*, Tim Kacprowski and Mario Albrecht

Author Affiliations

Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Campus E1.4, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany

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EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology 2011, 2011:5  doi:10.1186/1687-4153-2011-5

Published: 4 August 2011


Proteins and their interactions are essential for the survival of each human cell. Knowledge of their tissue occurrence is important for understanding biological processes. Therefore, we analyzed microarray and high-throughput RNA-sequencing data to identify tissue-specific and universally expressed genes. Gene expression data were used to investigate the presence of proteins, protein interactions and protein complexes in different tissues. Our comparison shows that the detection of tissue-specific genes and proteins strongly depends on the applied measurement technique. We found that microarrays are less sensitive for low expressed genes than high-throughput sequencing. Functional analyses based on microarray data are thus biased towards high expressed genes. This also means that previous biological findings based on microarrays might have to be re-examined using high-throughput sequencing results.

gene expression; protein interaction; tissue specificity