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Respir Res. 2011 May 2;12:61. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-12-61.

Genome-wide analysis of the mouse lung transcriptome reveals novel molecular gene interaction networks and cell-specific expression signatures.

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1
Department of Infection Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Inhoffenstr, Braunschweig, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Respir Res. 2012;13(1):5.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The lung is critical in surveillance and initial defense against pathogens. In humans, as in mice, individual genetic differences strongly modulate pulmonary responses to infectious agents, severity of lung disease, and potential allergic reactions. In a first step towards understanding genetic predisposition and pulmonary molecular networks that underlie individual differences in disease vulnerability, we performed a global analysis of normative lung gene expression levels in inbred mouse strains and a large family of BXD strains that are widely used for systems genetics. Our goal is to provide a key community resource on the genetics of the normative lung transcriptome that can serve as a foundation for experimental analysis and allow predicting genetic predisposition and response to pathogens, allergens, and xenobiotics.

METHODS:

Steady-state polyA+ mRNA levels were assayed across a diverse and fully genotyped panel of 57 isogenic strains using the Affymetrix M430 2.0 array. Correlations of expression levels between genes were determined. Global expression QTL (eQTL) analysis and network covariance analysis was performed using tools and resources in GeneNetwork http://www.genenetwork.org.

RESULTS:

Expression values were highly variable across strains and in many cases exhibited a high heritability factor. Several genes which showed a restricted expression to lung tissue were identified. Using correlations between gene expression values across all strains, we defined and extended memberships of several important molecular networks in the lung. Furthermore, we were able to extract signatures of immune cell subpopulations and characterize co-variation and shared genetic modulation. Known QTL regions for respiratory infection susceptibility were investigated and several cis-eQTL genes were identified. Numerous cis- and trans-regulated transcripts and chromosomal intervals with strong regulatory activity were mapped. The Cyp1a1 P450 transcript had a strong trans-acting eQTL (LOD 11.8) on Chr 12 at 36 ± 1 Mb. This interval contains the transcription factor Ahr that has a critical mis-sense allele in the DBA/2J haplotype and evidently modulates transcriptional activation by AhR.

CONCLUSIONS:

Large-scale gene expression analyses in genetic reference populations revealed lung-specific and immune-cell gene expression profiles and suggested specific gene regulatory interactions.

PMID:
21535883
PMCID:
PMC3105947
DOI:
10.1186/1465-9921-12-61
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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