The methodology used to measure differential gene expression affects the outcome

J Biomol Tech. 2007 Dec;18(5):321-30.


Confirmation of gene expression by a second methodology is critical in order to detect false-positive findings associated with microarrays. However, the impact of methodology upon the measurement of gene expression has not been rigorously evaluated. In the current study, we compared differential gene expression between PC3 and PC3-M human prostate cancer cell lines using three separate methods: microarray, quantitative RT/PCR (qRT/PCR), and Northern blotting. The PC3 to PC3-M ratio of gene expression was determined for each of 24 different genes evaluated, by each of the three methods. Comparison of gene expression ratios between Northern and microarray, Northern and qRT/PCR, and microarray and qRT/PCR, gave correlation coefficients (r) of 0.72, 0.39, and 0.63, respectively. In each instance, one to two outlier genes were apparent. Their exclusion from analysis gave r values of 0.79, 0.72, and 0.83, respectively. These findings demonstrate that the assessment of differential gene expression is dependent upon the methodology used in each situation where outcome between different methodologies was compared, the presence of a relatively limited number of outlier genes precludes high overall correlation between the methods. Validation of gene expression by different methods should be performed whenever possible.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern* / methods
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis* / methods
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction* / methods