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A transcriptome-based approach to identify functional modules within and across primary human immune cells.

Mola S, Foisy S, Boucher G, Major F, Beauchamp C, Karaky M, Goyette P, Lesage S, Rioux JD

Centre de recherche, Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

Genome-wide transcriptomic analyses have provided valuable insight into fundamental biology and disease pathophysiology. Many studies have taken advantage of the correlation in the expression patterns of the transcriptome to infer a potential biologic function of uncharacterized genes, and multiple groups have examined the relationship between co-expression, co-regulation, and gene function on a broader scale. Given the unique characteristics of immune cells circulating in the blood, we were interested in determining whether it was possible to identify functional co-expression modules in human immune cells. Specifically, we sequenced the transcriptome of nine immune cell types from peripheral blood cells of healthy donors and, using a combination of global and targeted analyses of genes within co-expression modules, we were able to determine functions for these modules that were cell lineage-specific or shared among multiple cell lineages. In addition, our analyses identified transcription factors likely important for immune cell lineage commitment and/or maintenance.

PLoS ONE 2020;15(5):e0233543.

Pubmed ID: 32469933

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