readPlateList: Read a collection of plate reader data files

Description Usage Arguments Details Value Author(s) References See Also Examples

View source: R/readPlateList.R


Reads a collection of plate reader data files into a cellHTS object. The names of the files, plus additional information (plate number, repeat number, assay/treatment/condition) is expected to be stored in a tab-delimited table specified by the argument filename. Alternatively, the data can be provided directly from non file-based sources, e.g. a data base (see details).


readPlateList(filename, path=NA, name="anonymous", importFun,
dec=".", verbose=interactive(), ...)



the name of the plate list file (see details). This argument is just passed on to the read.table function, so any of the valid argument types for the file argument of read.table are valid here, too. Alternatively, a user-defined function which is supposed to create a table-like R object of the plate list. Additional arguments to readPlateList in ... will be passed on to this function.


a character of length 1 indicating the path in which to find the plate reader files. If the importFun argument is supplied, the value of path will not be automatically prepended to the file names. This has to be explicitely dealt with in the importFun function. See details.


a character of length 1 with the experiment name.


a function to read the data files. The default function works for a certain file format, such as that of the example files provided with this package. If your plate reader software produces files with a different format or if you want to import data from a non file-based source, the import function needs to be adapted. See details and examples.


Optional argument that is passed to importFun, and can be used to accommodate for data files that use characters different from . to represent the decimal point (e.g., the comma ,).


a logical value, if TRUE, the function reports some of its intermediate progress.


additional arguments that are being passed on to filename if it is a function.


The plate list is expected to be a tab-delimited file with at least three columns named Filename, Plate, and Replicate. The contents of the columns Plate and Replicate are expected to be integers. Filename should be a vector of file names of the respective raw data files. If the path argument is supplied and importFun is missing, its value will automatically be prepended to the file names. The optional Batch column can be used to supply batch information for an experiment, e.g., when a reagent has been changed or the experiment has been run over several days.

Further columns are allowed, and can be used to denote, for example, different variants of the assay, treatments, incubation times, conditions, etc.

Alternatively, the value of filename can be a user-defined function which creates a data.frame similar to the one described before. This is for instance useful if the plate list information is directly imported from a data base. In order to allow for non-elementary data types, the output of the function can also be a named list, where each element has to be a vector of equal length. The aforementioned type restrictions still apply. The function will be called with all additional ... arguments, which allows to pass in additional information like experiment identifiers or data base queries.

importFun can be used to define a custom function to import data files. The importFun function should accept as its first argument names from the Filename column of the plate list (which in principle do not need to be individual files, they could also be handles for database entries, queries, or pointers into relevants parts of a file). As it second argument, the function should accept the value of the path argument, and the user needs to explicitely prepend this to the file names if needed. It should return a list with two components:

For example, to import plate data files from EnVision plate reader, set importFun=getEnVisionRawData or importFun=getEnvisionCrosstalkCorrectedData. See function getEnVisionRawData.

Direct data base import without the need for any flat files at all could for instance be achieved by:


An object of class cellHTS, which extends the class NChannelSet.

After calling this function, the content of the following slots is as follows:


an object of class AssayData containing the imported measurement data. Each matrix represents a single channel, and each run corresponds to a column. Thus, the total number of rows in each matrix corresponds to the product between the number of wells per plate and the number of assay plates.


information about the runs, inferred from the plateList file: which replicate, which variant of the assay, treatment, incubation times etc.


the information about the plate and well identifiers for each plate measurement are stored in columns plate and well of this slot.


a data.frame containing what was read from input file x, plus a column status of type character: it contains the string "OK" if the data import appeared to have gone well, and the respective error or warning message otherwise.


a list, where each component contains a copy of the imported input data files. Its length corresponds to the number of rows of plateList.


W. Huber [email protected], Ligia Bras [email protected], Florian Hahne [email protected]


Boutros, M., Bras, L.P. and Huber, W. (2006) Analysis of cell-based RNAi screens, Genome Biology 7, R66.

See Also

To read input files obtained in a HTanalyser plate reader, see readHTAnalystData. To build a cellHTS2 object from a data frame, see buildCellHTS2.


datadir <- system.file("KcViabSmall", package = "cellHTS2")
x <- readPlateList("Platelist.txt", "KcViabSmall", path=datadir)

## To read data files obtained from an EnVision plate reader:
datadir <- system.file("EnVisionExample", package = "cellHTS2")
x <- readPlateList("platelist.txt", name="EnVisionEx",
          importFun=getEnVisionRawData, path=datadir)

## to get the cross talk corrected data:
y <- readPlateList("platelist.txt", name="EnVisionEx",
          importFun=getEnVisionCrosstalkCorrectedData, path=datadir)

cellHTS2 documentation built on Nov. 17, 2017, 1:30 p.m.