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Housekeeping and tissue-specific genes in mouse tissues

Kouame E Kouadjo, Yuichiro Nishida, Jean F Cadrin-Girard, Mayumi Yoshioka and Jonny St-Amand*

Author Affiliations

Functional Genomics Laboratory, Molecular Endocrinology and Oncology Research Center, Laval University Medical Center (CHUL), Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Laval University, 2705 Boulevard Laurier, Québec, G1V 4G2, Canada

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:127  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-127

Published: 22 May 2007



This study aims to characterize the housekeeping and tissue-specific genes in 15 mouse tissues by using the serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) strategy which indicates the relative level of expression for each transcript matched to the tag.


Here, we identified constantly expressed housekeeping genes, such as eukaryotic translation elongation factor 2, which is expressed in all tissues without significant difference in expression levels. Moreover, most of these genes were not regulated by experimental conditions such as steroid hormones, adrenalectomy and gonadectomy. In addition, we report previously postulated housekeeping genes such as peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase A, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and beta-actin, which are expressed in all the tissues, but with significant difference in their expression levels. We have also identified genes uniquely detected in each of the 15 tissues and other tissues from public databases.


These identified housekeeping genes could represent appropriate controls for RT-PCR and northern blot when comparing the expression levels of genes in several tissues. The results reveal several tissue-specific genes highly expressed in testis and pituitary gland. Furthermore, the main function of tissue-specific genes expressed in liver, lung and bone is the cell defence, whereas several keratins involved in cell structure function are exclusively detected in skin and vagina. The results from this study can be used for example to target a tissue for agent delivering by using the promoter of tissue-specific genes. Moreover, this study could be used as basis for further researches on physiology and pathology of these tissues.