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Correlation Analysis of mRNA and Protein Abundances in Human Tissues

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We analyzed the relationship between mRNA and protein abundances in samples of human blood, kidney, liver, heart, and colon tissues. We assessed publicly available mRNA abundance data from 2 oligonucleotide array platforms. The U95A array set consisted of 12,533 clones and 30 normal human tissues (blood, kidney, liver, and heart), the HuGeneFL set comprised 7,070 clones and 19 normal tissues (blood, kidney, liver, and colon). Protein abundance data for those tissues identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis were also obtained from public sources, corresponding clones were defined on the oligonucleotide arrays, and the distribution of mRNA abundance in clones expressed at the protein level was analyzed. We found that most of the clones expressed at the protein level exhibited high mRNA abundances. We also found 'housekeeping-like' mRNA expression profiles (ubiquitously expressed) across tissues for those clones. Indeed, many of the clones expressed at the protein level coincided with known housekeeping genes. The same trend for abundance was present in all examined tissues in the 2 array sets. Interestingly, the most abundant clones at the mRNA level were not necessarily expressed at the protein level. We concluded that while there is a positive correlation between mRNA and protein abundances, mRNA abundance is not a predictor of protein abundance, at least in multicellular organisms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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