Differential expression analysis of RNA sequencing data by incorporating non-exonic mapped reads
Hung-I Harry Chen , Yuanhang Liu , Yi Zou , Zhao Lai , Devanand Sarkar , Yufei Huang , Yidong Chen
Background RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) is a powerful tool for genome-wide expression profiling of biological samples with the advantage of high-throughput and high resolution. There are many existing algorithms nowadays for quantifying expression levels and detecting differential gene expression, but none of them takes the misaligned reads that are mapped to non-exonic regions into account. We developed a novel algorithm, XBSeq, where a statistical model was established based on the assumption that observed signals are the convolution of true expression signals and sequencing noises. The mapped reads in non-exonic regions are considered as sequencing noises, which follows a Poisson distribution. Given measureable observed and noise signals from RNA-seq data, true expression signals, assuming governed by the negative binomial distribution, can be delineated and thus the accurate detection of differential expressed genes. Results We implemented our novel XBSeq algorithm and evaluated it by using a set of simulated expression datasets under different conditions, using a combination of negative binomial and Poisson distributions with parameters derived from real RNA-seq data. We compared the performance of our method with other commonly used differential expression analysis algorithms. We also evaluated the changes in true and false positive rates with variations in biological replicates, differential fold changes, and expression levels in non-exonic regions. We also tested the algorithm on a set of real RNA-seq data where the common and different detection results from different algorithms were reported. Conclusions In this paper, we proposed a novel XBSeq, a differential expression analysis algorithm for RNA-seq data that takes non-exonic mapped reads into consideration. When background noise is at baseline level, the performance of XBSeq and DESeq are mostly equivalent. However, our method surpasses DESeq and other algorithms with the increase of non-exonic mapped reads. Only in very low read count condition XBSeq had a slightly higher false discovery rate, which may be improved by adjusting the background noise effect in this situation. Taken together, by considering non-exonic mapped reads, XBSeq can provide accurate expression measurement and thus detect differential expressed genes even in noisy conditions.