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My question relates to how to interpret TPM gene expression values, and what might be considered as "high" and "low" expression values, based on the gene type. For example, a receptor tyrosine kinase or an enzyme can catalyse many reactions and so only needs a relatively low gene expression to have a high effect, whereas something like a ligand may need a higher expression value. Does anyone know of any rule of thumb TPM expression values that have been defined in the literature e.g. 50-100 TPM is considered standard for a receptor, etc? Thanks in advance

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    $\begingroup$ This is very difficult to answer in absolute terms. Many factors influence expression. It is not just "how many proteins are needed" but also depends on e.g protein stability and translation efficiency, etc. I think terms such as high vs. low only make sense for a single gene when comparing expression across conditions. $\endgroup$
    – Niklas
    Commented May 10 at 16:00

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No.

High and low gene expression are not absolute concepts, as the poster himself would seem to recognize in his speculations about different types of protein. In science you can only talk about “high” and low in relation to some reference normal situation, and this means making a measurement on some appropriate control.

What control is appropriate will depend on your biological system, and that requires careful consideration, followed by the necessary work. Is it appropriate to compare different tissues, ages, stimuli, organisms? What is not appropriate is to make a declaration in a vacuum.

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