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Genomics. 2002 May;79(5):671-8.

A partial transcriptome of human epidermis.

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  • 1Neurozintuigen Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, 1100 D Amsterdam, The Netherlands. F.vanRuissen@amc.uva.nl


Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) is a powerful technique for global expression profiling without prior knowledge of the genes of interest. We carried out SAGE analysis of purified keratinocytes derived from human skin biopsy specimens, resulting in a partial transcriptome of human epidermis. We identified 7645 unique SAGE tags with quantitative information from 15,131 collected SAGE tags obtained from approximately 3 x 10(6) epidermal cells. This catalog contains a large number of genes that were not previously known to be expressed by human epidermis. Comparison with the databases of all known human SAGE tags allowed us to identify a number of keratinocyte-specific tags that putatively correspond to formerly unknown genes. Surprisingly, human epidermal keratinocytes in vivo show relatively low expression levels of genes typically associated with epidermal differentiation, whereas the expression levels of housekeeping genes are considerably higher than in cultured keratinocytes. This study provides a first step toward a transcriptome of human epidermis and, as such, harbors a wealth of information to identify genes involved in skin function, and candidate genes for genetic skin disorders.

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