Sensitivity issues in DNA array-based expression measurements and performance of nylon microarrays for small samples.
DNA or oligonucleotide arrays are widely used for large-scale expression measurements, using various implementations: macroarrays in which DNA is spotted onto nylon membranes of relatively large dimensions (with radioactive detection) on the one hand; microarrays on glass slides and oligonucleotide chips, both used with fluorescent probes, on the other hand. Nylon micro-arrays with colourimetric detection have also been described recently. The small physical dimensions of miniaturized systems allow small hybridization volumes (2-100 microl) and provide high probe concentrations, in contrast to macroarrays. We show, however, that actual sensitivity (defined as the amount of sample necessary for detection of a given mRNA species) is in fact similar for all these systems and that this is mostly due to the very different amounts of target material present on the respective arrays. We then demonstrate that the combination of nylon microarrays with(33)P-labelled radioactive probes provides 100-fold better sensitivity, making it possible to perform expression profiling experiments using submicrogram amounts of unamplified total RNA from small biological samples. This has important implications in basic and clinical research and makes this alternative approach particularly suitable for groups operating in an academic context. (+info)
On-line monitoring of gene expression.
Gene expression in cultures of Escherichia coli has been determined in situ and on-line by the use of an electrochemical sensor. Intact bacteria were used to monitor the induction of the lacZ gene; the onset of stationary phase was also monitored, using a reporter gene fused to the RpoS-dependent promoter of the osmY gene. The technique described can in principle be used to determine the activity of any promoter, with a variety of reporter genes. This technology is non-intrusive, allows real-time monitoring of gene expression, and will be useful in the study of growth regulation and development. (+info)
Computational methods for the identification of differential and coordinated gene expression.
With the first complete 'draft' of the human genome sequence expected for Spring 2000, the three basic challenges for today's bioinformatics are more than ever: (i) finding the genes; (ii) locating their coding regions; and (iii) predicting their functions. However, our capacity for interpreting vertebrate genomic and transcript (cDNA) sequences using experimental or computational means very much lags behind our raw sequencing power. If the performances of current programs in identifying internal coding exons are good, the precise 5'-->3' delineation of transcription units (and promoters) still requires additional experiments. Similarly, functional predictions made with reference to previously characterized homologues are leaving >50% of human genes unannotated or classified in uninformative categories ('kinase', 'ATP-binding', etc.). In the context of functional genomics, large-scale gene expression studies using massive cDNA tag sequencing, two-dimensional gel proteome analysis or microarray technologies are the only approaches providing genome-scale experimental information at a pace consistent with the progress of sequencing. Given the difficulty and cost of characterizing genes one by one, academic and industrial researchers are increasingly relying on those methods to prioritize their studies and choose their targets. The study of expression patterns can also provide some insight into the function, reveal regulatory pathways, indicate side effects of drugs or serve as a diagnostic tool. In this article, I review the theoretical and computational approaches used to: (i) identify genes differentially expressed (across cell types, developmental stages, pathological conditions, etc.); (ii) identify genes expressed in a coordinated manner across a set of conditions; and (iii) delineate clusters of genes sharing coherent expression features, eventually defining global biological pathways. (+info)
Genome-wide expression profiling in Escherichia coli K-12.
We have established high resolution methods for global monitoring of gene expression in Escherichia coli. Hybridization of radiolabeled cDNA to spot blots on nylon membranes was compared to hybridization of fluorescently-labeled cDNA to glass microarrays for efficiency and reproducibility. A complete set of PCR primers was created for all 4290 annotated open reading frames (ORFs) from the complete genome sequence of E.coli K-12 (MG1655). Glass- and nylon-based arrays of PCR products were prepared and used to assess global changes in gene expression. Full-length coding sequences for array printing were generated by two-step PCR amplification. In this study we measured changes in RNA levels after exposure to heat shock and following treatment with isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). Both radioactive and fluorescence-based methods showed comparable results. Treatment with IPTG resulted in high level induction of the lacZYA and melAB operons. Following heat shock treatment 119 genes were shown to have significantly altered expression levels, including 35 previously uncharacterized ORFs and most genes of the heat shock stimulon. Analysis of spot intensities from hybridization to replicate arrays identified sets of genes with signals consistently above background suggesting that at least 25% of genes were expressed at detectable levels during growth in rich media. (+info)
Yeast Upf proteins required for RNA surveillance affect global expression of the yeast transcriptome.
mRNAs are monitored for errors in gene expression by RNA surveillance, in which mRNAs that cannot be fully translated are degraded by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway (NMD). RNA surveillance ensures that potentially deleterious truncated proteins are seldom made. NMD pathways that promote surveillance have been found in a wide range of eukaryotes. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the proteins encoded by the UPF1, UPF2, and UPF3 genes catalyze steps in NMD and are required for RNA surveillance. In this report, we show that the Upf proteins are also required to control the total accumulation of a large number of mRNAs in addition to their role in RNA surveillance. High-density oligonucleotide arrays were used to monitor global changes in the yeast transcriptome caused by loss of UPF gene function. Null mutations in the UPF genes caused altered accumulation of hundreds of mRNAs. The majority were increased in abundance, but some were decreased. The same mRNAs were affected regardless of which of the three UPF gene was inactivated. The proteins encoded by UPF-dependent mRNAs were broadly distributed by function but were underrepresented in two MIPS (Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences) categories: protein synthesis and protein destination. In a UPF(+) strain, the average level of expression of UPF-dependent mRNAs was threefold lower than the average level of expression of all mRNAs in the transcriptome, suggesting that highly abundant mRNAs were underrepresented. We suggest a model for how the abundance of hundreds of mRNAs might be controlled by the Upf proteins. (+info)
NORF5/HUG1 is a component of the MEC1-mediated checkpoint response to DNA damage and replication arrest in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Analysis of global gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by the serial analysis of gene expression technique has permitted the identification of at least 302 previously unidentified transcripts from nonannotated open reading frames (NORFs). Transcription of one of these, NORF5/HUG1 (hydroxyurea and UV and gamma radiation induced), is induced by DNA damage, and this induction requires MEC1, a homolog of the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) gene. DNA damage-specific induction of HUG1, which is independent of the cell cycle stage, is due to the alleviation of repression by the Crt1p-Ssn6p-Tup1p complex. Overexpression of HUG1 is lethal in combination with a mec1 mutation in the presence of DNA damage or replication arrest, whereas a deletion of HUG1 rescues the lethality due to a mec1 null allele. HUG1 is the first example of a NORF with important biological functional properties and defines a novel component of the MEC1 checkpoint pathway. (+info)
Microarray analysis of replicative senescence.
BACKGROUND: Limited replicative capacity is a defining characteristic of most normal human cells and culminates in senescence, an arrested state in which cells remain viable but display an altered pattern of gene and protein expression. To survey widely the alterations in gene expression, we have developed a DNA microarray analysis system that contains genes previously reported to be involved in aging, as well as those involved in many of the major biochemical signaling pathways. RESULTS: Senescence-associated gene expression was assessed in three cell types: dermal fibroblasts, retinal pigment epithelial cells, and vascular endothelial cells. Fibroblasts demonstrated a strong inflammatory-type response, but shared limited overlap in senescent gene expression patterns with the other two cell types. The characteristics of the senescence response were highly cell-type specific. A comparison of early- and late-passage cells stimulated with serum showed specific deficits in the early and mid G1 response of senescent cells. Several genes that are constitutively overexpressed in senescent fibroblasts are regulated during the cell cycle in early-passage cells, suggesting that senescent cells are locked in an activated state that mimics the early remodeling phase of wound repair. CONCLUSIONS: Replicative senescence triggers mRNA expression patterns that vary widely and cell lineage strongly influences these patterns. In fibroblasts, the senescent state mimics inflammatory wound repair processes and, as such, senescent cells may contribute to chronic wound pathologies. (+info)
Functional genomics: expression analysis of Escherichia coli growing on minimal and rich media.
DNA arrays of the entire set of Escherichia coli genes were used to measure the genomic expression patterns of cells growing in late logarithmic phase on minimal glucose medium and on Luria broth containing glucose. Ratios of the transcript levels for all 4,290 E. coli protein-encoding genes (cds) were obtained, and analysis of the expression ratio data indicated that the physiological state of the cells under the two growth conditions could be ascertained. The cells in the rich medium grew faster, and expression of the majority of the translation apparatus genes was significantly elevated under this growth condition, consistent with known patterns of growth rate-dependent regulation and increased rate of protein synthesis in rapidly growing cells. The cells grown on minimal medium showed significantly elevated expression of many genes involved in biosynthesis of building blocks, most notably the amino acid biosynthetic pathways. Nearly half of the known RpoS-dependent genes were expressed at significantly higher levels in minimal medium than in rich medium, and rpoS expression was similarly elevated. The role of RpoS regulation in these logarithmic phase cells was suggested by the functions of the RpoS dependent genes that were induced. The hallmark features of E. coli cells growing on glucose minimal medium appeared to be the formation and excretion of acetate, metabolism of the acetate, and protection of the cells from acid stress. A hypothesis invoking RpoS and UspA (universal stress protein, also significantly elevated in minimal glucose medium) as playing a role in coordinating these various aspects and consequences of glucose and acetate metabolism was generated. This experiment demonstrates that genomic expression assays can be applied in a meaningful way to the study of whole-bacterial-cell physiology for the generation of hypotheses and as a guide for more detailed studies of particular genes of interest. (+info)