|Fine-Scale Comparison Of Human And Mouse Brains In New Dataset|
|SciMed - Neuroscience|
|TS-Si News Service|
|Friday, 13 April 2012 02:00|
Seattle, WA, USA. A new dataset in the Allen Brain Atlas shows good conservation of gene expression between humans and mice, with reports of some striking differences.
A report published in the journal Cell examines the cellular and molecular organization of human and mouse brains by analyzing the expression of approximately 1,000 genes in the brain.
The dataset, publicly available online via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal, holds promise for spurring further discoveries across the research community. Specifically, it contains detailed, cellular-level in situ hybridization gene expression data for about 1,000 genes, selected for their involvement in disease or neural function, in two distinct cortical areas of several disease-free adult human brains, both male and female. The Atlas is sponsored by the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
Advancing The Field
Adding high-resolution, cellular-level spatial information to gene expression profiling studies allows scientists to learn a great deal more about how genes contribute to cell types, neural circuits, and brain function.
This human brain dataset extends the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas and the hundreds of studies published using its data.
Previously, other studies examining human gene expression have employed either a segmented region of the brain or a select set of genes without specific anatomic information.
The new study offers a deep introduction to the kinds of information that can be mined from this dataset and the types of hypotheses that it can be used to test.
The entire body of data is incorporated into the Allen Brain Atlas and is freely available via the Allen Brain Atlas data portal.The report sheds light on the human brain in general and also serves as an introduction to what the associated publicly available dataset can offer the scientific community. Genes analyzed in this study fall into three categories:
There is a high degree of similarity among human individuals. Only 5% of the nearly 1,000 genes surveyed in three particular regions show differences in expression between humans. In addition, comparison of this dataset to data in the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas indicates great consistency between humans and mice, as the human visual cortex appears to share 79% of its gene expression with that of the mouse.
The analysis reveals high consistency of gene expression among different regions of the human cortex the outer rind of the mammalian brain responsible for sophisticated information processing specifically the temporal and visual cortices. The vast majority of genes expressed in these areas, 84%, demonstrate consistent expression patterns between cortical areas.
This finding supports the hypothesis that there are common principles of organization and function that apply throughout the cortex, and therefore studying one area in great detail the visual cortex, for example may hold promise for uncovering fundamentals about how the whole brain works.
The study also illustrates widespread conservation of gene expression among human individuals. The study reports that of the genes analyzed, only 46 (5%) showed variation in expression among individual, disease-free human brains in the cortical areas examined.
Distinctions Among Species
Several findings in the study point to differences and similarities between humans and mice. As the mouse is the most common model for the study of human brain function and diseases, it is crucial to understand how well it represents the human system and where its accuracy may be limited. Overall, the results of this study indicate good conservation of gene expression between the two species.
While the majority of gene expression is similar, the authors of the study report some striking differences.
CitationLarge-Scale Cellular-Resolution Gene Profiling in Human Neocortex Reveals Species-Specific Molecular Signatures. Hongkui Zengsend, Elaine H. Shen, John G. Hohmann, Seung Wook Oh, Amy Bernard, Joshua J. Royall, Katie J. Glattfelder, Susan M. Sunkin, John A. Morris, Angela L. Guillozet-Bongaarts, Kimberly A. Smith, Amanda J. Ebbert, Beryl Swanson, Leonard Kuan, Damon T. Page, Caroline C. Overly, Ed S. Lein, Michael J. Hawrylycz, Patrick R. Hof, Thomas M. Hyde, Joel E. Kleinman, Allan R. Jones. Cell 2012; 149(2): 483-496. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.02.052
● Online database profiling ~1,000 genes in human cortex at cellular resolution
● Diverse expression patterns delineate regional boundaries and distinct cell types
● While 5% of genes vary among human individuals, 21% differ between human and mouse
● Species-specific molecular signatures for major cortical cell types are identified
Although there have been major advances in elucidating the functional biology of the human brain, relatively little is known of its cellular and molecular organization. Here we report a large-scale characterization of the expression of ~1,000 genes important for neural functions by in situ hybridization at a cellular resolution in visual and temporal cortices of adult human brains. These data reveal diverse gene expression patterns and remarkable conservation of each individual gene's expression among individuals (95%), cortical areas (84%), and between human and mouse (79%). A small but substantial number of genes (21%) exhibited species-differential expression. Distinct molecular signatures, comprised of genes both common between species and unique to each, were identified for each major cortical cell type. The data suggest that gene expression profile changes may contribute to differential cortical function across species, and in particular, a shift from corticosubcortical to more predominant corticocortical communications in the human brain.
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 April 2012 06:56|