< | > | glossary|All Topics

Gene Expression Assay and Data Analysis

index | previous question | next question

What 3'/5' ratio for control genes, for example GAPDH and Actin, should I anticipate to obtain on GeneChip probe arrays?

In addition to the conventional probe sets designed to be within the most 3' 600 bp of a transcript, additional probe sets in the 5' region and middle portion (M) of the transcript have also been selected for certain housekeeping genes, including GAPDH and Actin. Signal intensity ratio of the 3' probe set over the 5' probe set is often referred to as the 3'/5' ratio. This ratio gives an indication of the integrity of your starting RNA, efficiency of first strand cDNA synthesis, and/or in vitro transcription of cRNA. The signal of each probe set reflects the sequence of the probes and their hybridization properties. A 1:1 molar ratio of the 3' to 5' transcript regions will not necessarily give a signal ratio of 1.

There is no single threshold cutoff to assess sample quality for all of the diverse organisms and tissues. This is due to the presence of different isoforms of these house-keeping genes and their different expression patterns in various tissues and organisms. Although we routinely refer to a threshold ratio of less than 3 for the most common tissues, such as mammalian liver and brain, this may not be applicable to all situations. It may be more appropriate to document the 3'/5' ratios within a particular study and flag the results that deviate, therefore representing an unusual sample that deserves further investigation.