This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of the Brazilian Association for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (X-meeting 2009)

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Tumor and reproductive traits are linked by RNA metabolism genes in the mouse ovary: a transcriptome-phenotype association analysis

Ulises Urzúa1*, Garrison A Owens2, Gen-Mu Zhang3, James M Cherry2, John J Sharp4 and David J Munroe2

Author affiliations

1 Laboratorio de Genómica Aplicada, ICBM, Universidad de Chile, Independencia 1027, Santiago, Chile

2 Laboratory of Molecular Technology, SAIC-NCI Frederick, 915 Tollhouse Avenue, Suite 211, Frederick, MD 21701, USA

3 Laboratory Animal Sciences Program, SAIC-NCI Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA

4 Center for Comparative Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2010, 11(Suppl 5):S1  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-S5-S1

Published: 22 December 2010



The link between reproductive life history and incidence of ovarian tumors is well known. Periods of reduced ovulations may confer protection against ovarian cancer. Using phenotypic data available for mouse, a possible association between the ovarian transcriptome, reproductive records and spontaneous ovarian tumor rates was investigated in four mouse inbred strains. NIA15k-DNA microarrays were employed to obtain expression profiles of BalbC, C57BL6, FVB and SWR adult ovaries.


Linear regression analysis with multiple-test control (adjusted p ≤ 0.05) resulted in ovarian tumor frequency (OTF) and number of litters (NL) as the top-correlated among five tested phenotypes. Moreover, nearly one-hundred genes were coincident between these two traits and were decomposed in 76 OTF(–) NL(+) and 20 OTF(+) NL(–) genes, where the plus/minus signs indicate the direction of correlation. Enriched functional categories were RNA-binding/mRNA-processing and protein folding in the OTF(–) NL(+) and the OTF(+) NL(–) subsets, respectively. In contrast, no associations were detected between OTF and litter size (LS), the latter a measure of ovulation events in a single estrous cycle.


Literature text-mining pointed to post-transcriptional control of ovarian processes including oocyte maturation, folliculogenesis and angiogenesis as possible causal relationships of observed tumor and reproductive phenotypes. We speculate that repetitive cycling instead of repetitive ovulations represent the actual link between ovarian tumorigenesis and reproductive records.