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Analysis of gene expression in the nervous system identifies key genes and novel candidates for health and disease

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2017 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-95
JournalNeurogenetics
Volume18
Issue number2
Early online date11 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Abstract

The incidence of neurodegenerative diseases in the developed world has risen over the last century, concomitant with an increase in average human lifespan. A major challenge is therefore to identify genes that control neuronal health and viability with a view to enhancing neuronal health during ageing and reducing the burden of neurodegeneration. Analysis of gene expression data has recently been used to infer gene functions for a range of tissues from co-expression networks. We have now applied this approach to transcriptomic datasets from the mammalian nervous system available in the public domain. We have defined the genes critical for influencing neuronal health and disease in different neurological cell types and brain regions. The functional contribution of genes in each co-expression cluster was validated using human disease and knockout mouse phenotypes, pathways and GO term annotation. Additionally a number of poorly annotated genes were implicated by this approach in nervous system function. Exploiting gene expression data available in the public domain allowed us to validate key nervous system genes and importantly identify additional genes with minimal functional annotation but the same expression pattern. These genes are thus novel candidates for a role in neurological health and disease, and could now be further investigated to confirm their function and regulation during ageing and neurodegeneration.

    Research areas

  • Mice, neurological mutants, neurological disorders, transcriptome, gene expression profiling

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