Recent advances in high-throughput technologies enable quantitative monitoring of the abundance of various biological molecules and allow determination of their variation between biological states on a genomic scale. Two popular platforms are DNA microarrays that measure messenger RNA transcript levels, and gel-free proteomic analyses that quantify protein abundance. Obviously, no single approach can fully unravel the complexities of fundamental biology and it is equally clear that integrative analysis of multiple levels of gene expression would be valuable in this endeavor. However, most integrative transcriptomic and proteomic studies have thus far either failed to find a correlation or only observed a weak correlation. In addition to various biological factors, it is suggested that the poor correlation could be quite possibly due to the inadequacy of available statistical tools to compensate for biases in the data collection methodologies. To address this issue, attempts have recently been made to systematically investigate the correlation patterns between transcriptomic and proteomic datasets, and to develop sophisticated statistical tools to improve the chances of capturing a relationship. The goal of these efforts is to enhance understanding of the relationship between transcriptomes and proteomes so that integrative analyses may be utilized to reveal new biological insights that are not accessible through one-dimensional datasets. In this review, we outline some of the challenges associated with integrative analyses and present some preliminary statistical solutions. In addition, some new applications of integrated transcriptomic and proteomic analysis to the investigation of post-transcriptional regulation are also discussed.
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