Global gene expression profiling of healthy human brain and its application in studying neurological disorders

Simarjeet K. Negi, Chittibabu Guda

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Abstract

Brain function is governed by precise regulation of gene expression across its anatomically distinct structures; however, the expression patterns of genes across hundreds of brain structures are not clearly understood. Here, we describe a gene expression model, which is representative of the healthy human brain transcriptome by using data from the Allen Brain Atlas. Our in-depth gene expression profiling revealed that 84% of genes are expressed in at least one of the 190 brain structures studied. Hierarchical clustering based on gene expression profiles delineated brain regions into structurally tiered spatial groups and we observed striking enrichment for region-specific processes. Further, weighted co-expression network analysis identified 19 robust modules of highly correlated genes enriched with functional associations for neurogenesis, dopamine signaling, immune regulation and behavior. Also, structural distribution maps of major neurotransmission systems in the brain were generated. Finally, we developed a supervised classification model, which achieved 84% and 81% accuracies for predicting autism- A nd Parkinson's-implicated genes, respectively, using our expression model as a baseline. This study represents the first use of global gene expression profiling from healthy human brain to develop a disease gene prediction model and this generic methodology can be applied to study any neurological disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number00952
JournalScientific reports
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

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