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Open Access Methodology article

Correlation and prediction of gene expression level from amino acid and dipeptide composition of its protein

Gajendra PS Raghava12* and Joon H Han1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, San 31 Hyo-Ja Dong, Pohang 790–784, Republic of Korea

2 Bioinformatics Centre, Institute of Microbial Technology, Sector 39A, Chandigarh-160036, India

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BMC Bioinformatics 2005, 6:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-6-59

Published: 17 March 2005



A large number of papers have been published on analysis of microarray data with particular emphasis on normalization of data, detection of differentially expressed genes, clustering of genes and regulatory network. On other hand there are only few studies on relation between expression level and composition of nucleotide/protein sequence, using expression data. There is a need to understand why particular genes/proteins express more in particular conditions. In this study, we analyze 3468 genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae obtained from Holstege et al., (1998) to understand the relationship between expression level and amino acid composition.


We compute the correlation between expression of a gene and amino acid composition of its protein. It was observed that some residues (like Ala, Gly, Arg and Val) have significant positive correlation (r > 0.20) and some other residues (Like Asp, Leu, Asn and Ser) have negative correlation (r < -0.15) with the expression of genes. A significant negative correlation (r = -0.18) was also found between length and gene expression. These observations indicate the relationship between percent composition and gene expression level. Thus, attempts have been made to develop a Support Vector Machine (SVM) based method for predicting the expression level of genes from its protein sequence. In this method the SVM is trained with proteins whose gene expression data is known in a given condition. Then trained SVM is used to predict the gene expression of other proteins of the same organism in the same condition. A correlation coefficient r = 0.70 was obtained between predicted and experimentally determined expression of genes, which improves from r = 0.70 to 0.72 when dipeptide composition was used instead of residue composition. The method was evaluated using 5-fold cross validation test. We also demonstrate that amino acid composition information along with gene expression data can be used for improving the function classification of proteins.


There is a correlation between gene expression and amino acid composition that can be used to predict the expression level of genes up to a certain extent. A web server based on the above strategy has been developed for calculating the correlation between amino acid composition and gene expression and prediction of expression level webcite. This server will allow users to study the evolution from expression data.