Publication — IRIC
A transcriptome-based approach to identify functional modules within and across primary human immune cells.
Genome-wide transcriptomic analyses have provided valuable insight into fundamental biology and disease pathophysiology. Many studies have taken advantage of the correlation in the expression patterns of the transcriptome to infer a potential biologic function of uncharacterized genes, and multiple groups have examined the relationship between co-expression, co-regulation, and gene function on a broader scale. Given the unique characteristics of immune cells circulating in the blood, we were interested in determining whether it was possible to identify functional co-expression modules in human immune cells. Specifically, we sequenced the transcriptome of nine immune cell types from peripheral blood cells of healthy donors and, using a combination of global and targeted analyses of genes within co-expression modules, we were able to determine functions for these modules that were cell lineage-specific or shared among multiple cell lineages. In addition, our analyses identified transcription factors likely important for immune cell lineage commitment and/or maintenance.