Using Poisson mixed-effects model to quantify transcript-level gene expression in RNA-Seq.
RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) is a powerful new technology for mapping and quantifying transcriptomes using ultra high-throughput next-generation sequencing technologies. Using deep sequencing, gene expression levels of all transcripts including novel ones can be quantified digitally. Although extremely promising, the massive amounts of data generated by RNA-Seq, substantial biases and uncertainty in short read alignment pose challenges for data analysis. In particular, large base-specific variation and between-base dependence make simple approaches, such as those that use averaging to normalize RNA-Seq data and quantify gene expressions, ineffective. In this study, we propose a Poisson mixed-effects (POME) model to characterize base-level read coverage within each transcript. The underlying expression level is included as a key parameter in this model. Since the proposed model is capable of incorporating base-specific variation as well as between-base dependence that affect read coverage profile throughout the transcript, it can lead to improved quantification of the true underlying expression level. Availability and implementation: POME can be freely downloaded at http://www.stat.purdue.edu/~yuzhu/pome.html. email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.