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J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Sep;92(3):433-44. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0312166. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Plenary perspective: the complexity of constitutive and inducible gene expression in mononuclear phagocytes.

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  • The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. David.Hume@roslin.ed.ac.uk


Monocytes and macrophages differentiate from progenitor cells under the influence of colony-stimulating factors. Genome-scale data have enabled the identification of the set of genes that distinguishes macrophages from other cell types and the ways in which thousands of genes are regulated in response to pathogen challenge. Although there has been a focus on a small subset of lineage-enriched transcription factors, such as PU.1, more than one-half of the transcription factors in the genome can be expressed in macrophage lineage cells under some state of activation, and they interact in a complex network. The network architecture is conserved across species, but many of the target genes evolve rapidly and differ between mouse and human. The data and publication deluge related to macrophage biology require the development of new analytical tools and ways of presenting information in an accessible form.

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