Metabolic phenotyping technologies based on Nuclear Magnetic Spectroscopy (NMR) and Mass Spectrometry (MS) generate vast amounts of unrefined data from biological samples. Clustering strategies are frequently employed to provide insight into patterns of relationships between samples and metabolites. Here, we propose the use of a non-negative matrix factorization driven bi-clustering strategy for metabolic phenotyping data in order to discover subsets of interrelated metabolites that exhibit similar behaviour across subsets of samples. The proposed strategy incorporates bi-cross validation and statistical segmentation techniques to automatically determine the number and structure of bi-clusters. This alternative approach is in contrast to the widely used conventional clustering approaches that incorporate all molecular peaks for clustering in metabolic studies and require a priori specification of the number of clusters. We perform the comparative analysis of the proposed strategy with other bi-clustering approaches, which were developed in the context of genomics and transcriptomics research. We demonstrate the superior performance of the proposed bi-clustering strategy on both simulated (NMR) and real (MS) bacterial metabolic data.
Keywords: Bi-clustering; Bi-cross validation; Matrix factorization; Metabolic data.
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