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  • #16
    dpryan, that's good advice. I want to input my results into SPIA, and a couple of pretty cool pathways pop up, but some of thse are fold changes of 1.3 or so (very highly expressed, which is why DESeq called it). I doubt I could get it to pop up on qPCR. Would you say its fair to then say that RNA-Seq has better resolution than qPCR?

    ThePresident, if you have fold changes over 2, you should do qPCR. You should be able to show fold changes and it strengthens your case. What I would say is that you do qPCR on your RNA samples, and assuming you have replicates, do qPCR on the replicates as well. Have it in triplicate, that way you are now doing technical noise (RNA-Seq vs. qPCR) and you are doing biological noise (from doing 3 replicates).

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    • #17
      Originally posted by billstevens View Post
      I am just about to embark on this for the first time, obviously using MIQE (and help from a post-doc), but everyone in my lab has told me that unless it has at least 2 fold differential expression, I won't able to determine any differences. Is this the experience of other people on here? If so, do you not do qPCR validation for some of these genes that are closer in expression and simply rely on the sequencing data?
      This depends on your experimental design. If you're just using two samples with technical triplicates, yes, >2x is about all you can hope to detect. The noise in qPCR is just that high. And if you step back and think about it, it is clear why. PCR relies on a doubling of the DNA with every round of replication, so its hard to pick up on differences less than 2x, even with triplicates. If you start using several biological replicates and expand to 5 technical triplicates you'll start see some real power.

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      • #18
        Thanks Wallysb01, that's what I figured. But here's the question, what is "real power"? I have 4-5 biological replicates, and I will be doing it in triplicate (5 technical triplicates, and I just wouldn't have any room left on my plate). Could I get down to 1.5X? What, quantitavely, is your experience?

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        • #19
          Originally posted by ThePresident View Post
          I was just about to ask for qPCR validation. What is the routine for RNA-seq , i.e. is it necessary to validate data by qPCR? If I'm about to publish those RNA-seq results, I'm afraid reviewers will ask for qPCR validation even for significantly (<0.01) DE genes (fold change > 2). And, as I see it, it is better to use new RNA samples in order to control for biological differences...?

          Thanks in advance,

          TP
          Whether or not an editor or reviewer will insist on diff. gene validation is entirely dependent on just what the publications is about. If this is a some sort of general genomic characterization experiment (eg. a chemical or other exposure experiment) then very likely no. Just like such an experiment conducted using gene microarrays, as long as the experiment was properly controlled and included sufficient biological replication for robust results, nobody will be expecting validation of quite likely hundreds of putative DE genes.

          However, if you are trying to characterize something more specific - a particular metabolic pathway, or you are trying to pick genes to base a bio-assay or clinical assay upon, then validation will likely be deemed a necessary step, at least for your final candidate gene selections.

          But it is impossible to say whether your study really needs DE validation without knowing the specifics of what question(s) you are specifically addressing in your publication. Once you've clarified what the publication is actually about, usually the answer to validate or not is pretty much self-evident.
          Michael Black, Ph.D.
          ScitoVation LLC. RTP, N.C.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by billstevens View Post
            Thanks Wallysb01, that's what I figured. But here's the question, what is "real power"? I have 4-5 biological replicates, and I will be doing it in triplicate (5 technical triplicates, and I just wouldn't have any room left on my plate). Could I get down to 1.5X? What, quantitavely, is your experience?
            Well, its hard to say exactly how much power you'll have without knowing what kind of biological and technical noise you're dealing with in your system. But in my experience ~15 biological x technical replicates and you have a good chance at 1.5x becoming statistically significant. It will help if your genes are fairly highly expressed and easy to amplify. When this many replicates fail for me, its often because the ct-values are up close to 30 or more and jump around too much. When ct-values are <25 the technical noise is usually quite low, at least in my experience.

            How many genes are you trying to do this with? I highly doubt anyone is going to expect this kind of validation across an entire RNA-seq experiment. Is the issue that a few of you genes of highest interest do not show much fold change?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mbblack View Post
              Once you've clarified what the publication is actually about, usually the answer to validate or not is pretty much self-evident.
              Yeah, you're 100% right...! I guess I already knew it but since it's all new for me, I needed a second opinion.

              Thanks!

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              • #22
                So I used SPIA, and I came up with a couple very interesting pathways. In the pathways, there are some genes that are fold changes of 1.3, 1.5 and some genes that are fold changes over 2. There are about 20 or so genes in this pathway. So I clearly can't get the ones that are not showing much fold change. What I'm thinking is that a the ones that are over 2 are of very high interest, and if I prove just those genes with qPCR, do you think that is enough to prove my statement?

                The crux of the paper will be that exposure to this antigen causes this pathway to be upregulated, and it is verified via RNA-Seq, and a couple of highest fold change genes are verified via qPCR, and then those translated proteins are also verified via ELIspot.

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                • #23
                  The ELIspot assay will be the lynchpin for your argument, so I would put most of my efforts there. How many (and which) of the genes you need to also show changed via qPCR will depend a lot on which journal you're sending things too.

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                  • #24
                    Thanks.

                    One very challenging aspect is to go from quantifying differential RNA to quantifying differential protein. I'm using epithelial cells, and I have a few popular cytokines that have differential expression. I tried ELISA's on these cytokines and I couldn't resolve any differences. ELISpot requires cells that can grow in suspension which my experiment is not. Does anyone know any other high-resolution assays to measure cytokines? One thing I'm thinking is maybe its producing more cytokines, but many are staying intracellularly, so I should lyse the cells?

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