Motivation: High-throughput sequencing enables expression analysis at the level of individual transcripts. The analysis of transcriptome expression levels and differential expression (DE) estimation requires a probabilistic approach to properly account for ambiguity caused by shared exons and finite read sampling as well as the intrinsic biological variance of transcript expression.
Results: We present Bayesian inference of transcripts from sequencing data (BitSeq), a Bayesian approach for estimation of transcript expression level from RNA-seq experiments. Inferred relative expression is represented by Markov chain Monte Carlo samples from the posterior probability distribution of a generative model of the read data. We propose a novel method for DE analysis across replicates which propagates uncertainty from the sample-level model while modelling biological variance using an expression-level-dependent prior. We demonstrate the advantages of our method using simulated data as well as an RNA-seq dataset with technical and biological replication for both studied conditions.
Availability: The implementation of the transcriptome expression estimation and differential expression analysis, BitSeq, has been written in C++ and Python. The software is available online from http://code.google.com/p/bitseq/, version 0.4 was used for generating results presented in this article.