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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Jan 1;181(1):54-63. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200907-1063OC. Epub 2009 Oct 8.

Transcriptomic analysis of human lung development.

Author information

  • 1Children's Hospital Informatics Program, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Current understanding of the molecular regulation of lung development is limited and derives mostly from animal studies.

OBJECTIVES:

To define global patterns of gene expression during human lung development.

METHODS:

Genome-wide expression profiling was used to measure the developing lung transcriptome in RNA samples derived from 38 normal human lung tissues at 53 to 154 days post conception. Principal component analysis was used to characterize global expression variation and to identify genes and bioontologic attributes contributing to these variations. Individual gene expression patterns were verified by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:

Gene expression analysis identified attributes not previously associated with lung development, such as chemokine-immunologic processes. Lung characteristics attributes (e.g., surfactant function) were observed at an earlier-than-anticipated age. We defined a 3,223 gene developing lung characteristic subtranscriptome capable of describing a majority of the process. In gene expression space, the samples formed a time-contiguous trajectory with transition points correlating with histological stages and suggesting the existence of novel molecular substages. Induction of surfactant gene expression characterized a pseudoglandular "molecular phase" transition. Individual gene expression patterns were independently validated. We predicted the age of independent human lung transcriptome profiles with a median absolute error of 5 days, supporting the validity of the data and modeling approach.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study extends our knowledge of key gene expression patterns and bioontologic attributes underlying early human lung developmental processes. The data also suggest the existence of molecular phases of lung development.

Comment in

PMID:
19815808
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2797628
Free PMC Article

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