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J Bioinform Comput Biol. 2003 Oct;1(3):447-58.

Cluster analysis of dynamic parameters of gene expression.

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Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, Claremont, California 91711, USA.


Cluster analysis has proven to be a valuable statistical method for analyzing whole genome expression data. Although clustering methods have great utility, they do represent a lower level statistical analysis that is not directly tied to a specific model. To extend such methods and to allow for more sophisticated lines of inference, we use cluster analysis in conjunction with a specific model of gene expression dynamics. This model provides phenomenological dynamic parameters on both linear and non-linear responses of the system. This analysis determines the parameters of two different transition matrices (linear and nonlinear) that describe the influence of one gene expression level on another. Using yeast cell cycle microarray data as test set, we calculated the transition matrices and used these dynamic parameters as a metric for cluster analysis. Hierarchical cluster analysis of this transition matrix reveals how a set of genes influence the expression of other genes activated during different cell cycle phases. Most strikingly, genes in different stages of cell cycle preferentially activate or inactivate genes in other stages of cell cycle, and this relationship can be readily visualized in a two-way clustering image. The observation is prior to any knowledge of the chronological characteristics of the cell cycle process. This method shows the utility of using model parameters as a metric in cluster analysis.

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