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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Medicine

PI: Emily C. Gillespie

Genomics and Proteomics as Tools for Gene Discovery in Lupus

Recently evolving technologies have made possible the large-scale measurement of gene and protein expression levels from human samples. These genomic and proteomic platforms provide a means for identification of gene and protein signatures that are linked to human disease. These signatures have the potential to serve as clinically useful biomarkers that could improve the monitoring and management of patients, and could provide novel therapeutic targets. These researchers are interested in identifying signatures of the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Using whole-genome gene expression microarray profiling of peripheral blood cells, they have identified several gene signatures that distinguish SLE patients from healthy controls. Additional signatures are correlated with clinical features of SLE. The most prominent gene signature in SLE blood is the interferon (IFN) signature. The researchers have also shown that levels of IFN-regulated proteins are elevated in the serum of SLE patients and correlate with disease activity. Other experiments are underway to identify protein biomarkers in urine that reflect and predict flares of kidney disease. In addition to identifying clinically useful biomarkers, these experiments are designed to help identify genes that predispose to autoimmunity. They have also obtained whole-genome single nucleotide polymorphism chips on 375 SLE patients, all of whom also have gene-expression microarray data, and approximately half of whom also have serum protein data. The researchers expect that the data generated by their gene-expression and proteomic studies will assist them in mining and interpreting this massive genetic dataset.

Group Members

Jason Bauer, Research Associate
Hatice Bilgic, Research Associate
Eshrat Emamian, Graduate Student
Thearith Koeuth, Staff
Joanlise Leon, Graduate Student
Carolyn Meyer, Staff
Abu Nazmul-Hossain, Graduate Student
Joseph C. Wilson, Staff