HPAStainR: A Bioconductor and Shiny app to query protein expression patterns in the Human Protein Atlas

Tim O. Nieuwenhuis, Marc K. Halushka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Human Protein Atlas is a website of protein expression in human tissues. It is an excellent resource of tissue and cell type protein localization, but only allows the query of a single protein at a time. We introduce HPAStainR as a new Shiny app and Bioconductor/R package used to query the scored staining patterns in the Human Protein Atlas with multiple proteins/genes of interest. This allows the user to determine if an experimentally-generated protein/gene list associates with a particular cell type. We validated the tool using the Panglao Database cell type specific marker genes and a Genotype Expression (GTEx) tissue deconvolution dataset. HPAStainR identified 92% of the Panglao cell types in the top quartile of confidence scores limited to tissue type of origin results. It also appropriately identified the correct cell types from the GTEx dataset. HPAStainR fills a gap in available bioinformatics tools to identify cell type protein expression patterns and can assist in establishing ground truths and exploratory analysis. HPAStainR is available from: https://32tim32.shinyapps.io/HPAStainR/

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1210
StatePublished - 2020


  • Exploratory analysis
  • Human Protein Atlas
  • Marker genes
  • Marker proteins
  • Protein staining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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