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Sep 09, 2015
PloS One
RNA-sequencing is rapidly becoming the method of choice for studying the full complexity of transcriptomes, however with increasing dimensionality, accurate gene ranking is becoming increasingly challenging. This paper proposes an accurate and sensitive gene ranking method that implements discriminant non-negative matrix factorization (DNMF) for RNA-seq data. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to explore the utility of DNMF for gene ranking. When incorporating Fisher's discriminant criteria and setting the reduced dimension as two, DNMF learns two factors to approximate the original gene expression data, abstracting the up-regulated or down-regulated metagene by using the sample label information. The first factor denotes all the genes' weights of two metagenes as the additive combination of all genes, while the second learned factor represents the expression values of two metagenes. In the gene ranking stage, all the genes are ranked as a descending sequence according to the differential values of the metagene weights. Leveraging the nature of NMF and Fisher's criterion, DNMF can robustly boost the gene ranking performance. The Area Under the Curve analysis of differential expression analysis on two benchmarking tests of four RNA-seq data sets with similar phenotypes showed that our proposed DNMF-based gene ranking method outperforms other widely used methods. Moreover, the Gene Set Enrichment Analysis also showed DNMF outweighs others. DNMF is also computationally efficient, substantially outperforming all other benchmarked methods. Consequently, we suggest DNMF is an effective method for the analysis of differential gene expression and gene ranking for RNA-seq data.

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