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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The gene expression data of Mycobacterium tuberculosis based on Affymetrix gene chips provide insight into regulatory and hypothetical genes

Li M Fu* and Casey S Fu-Liu

Author Affiliations

Pacific Tuberculosis and Cancer Research Organization, Irvine, California, USA

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BMC Microbiology 2007, 7:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-7-37

Published: 14 May 2007

Abstract

Background

Tuberculosis remains a leading infectious disease with global public health threat. Its control and management have been complicated by multi-drug resistance and latent infection, which prompts scientists to find new and more effective drugs. With the completion of the genome sequence of the etiologic bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it is now feasible to search for new drug targets by sieving through a large number of gene products and conduct genome-scale experiments based on microarray technology. However, the full potential of genome-wide microarray analysis in configuring interrelationships among all genes in M. tuberculosis has yet to be realized. To date, it is only possible to assign a function to 52% of proteins predicted in the genome.

Results

We conducted a functional-genomics study using the high-resolution Affymetrix oligonucleotide GeneChip. Approximately one-half of the genes were found to be always expressed, including more than 100 predicted conserved hypotheticals, in the genome of M. tuberculosis during the log phase of in vitro growth. The gene expression profiles were analyzed and visualized through cluster analysis to epitomize the full details of genomic behavior. Broad patterns derived from genome-wide expression experiments in this study have provided insight into the interrelationships among genes in the basic cellular processes of M. tuberculosis.

Conclusion

Our results have confirmed several known gene clusters in energy production, information pathways, and lipid metabolism, and also hinted at potential roles of hypothetical and regulatory proteins.