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Paper Chase

Profile of the genes expressed in the human peripheral retina, macula, and retinal pigment epithelium determined through serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE).

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. Jan 8, 2002;99(1):315-20.
Sharon D, Blackshaw S, Cepko CL, Dryja TP.

Ocular Molecular Genetics Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Department of Genetics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Abstract:

We used the serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) technique to catalogue and measure the relative levels of expression of the genes expressed in the human peripheral retina, macula, and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) from one or both of two humans, aged 88 and 44 years. The cone photoreceptor contribution to all transcription in the retina was found to be similar in the macula versus the retinal periphery, whereas the rod contribution was greater in the periphery versus the macula. Genes encoding structural proteins for axons were found to be expressed at higher levels in the macula versus the retinal periphery, probably reflecting the large proportion of ganglion cells in the central retina. In comparison with the younger eye, the peripheral retina of the older eye had a substantially higher proportion of mRNAs from genes encoding proteins involved in iron metabolism or protection against oxidative damage and a substantially lower proportion of mRNAs from genes encoding proteins involved in rod phototransduction. These differences may reflect the difference in age between the two donors or merely interindividual variation. The RPE library had numerous previously unencountered tags, suggesting that this cell type has a large, idiosyncratic repertoire of expressed genes. Comparison of these libraries with 100 reported nonocular SAGE libraries revealed 89 retina-specific or enriched genes expressed at substantial levels, of which 14 are known to cause a retinal disease and 53 are RPE-specific genes. We expect that these libraries will serve as a resource for understanding the relative expression levels of genes in the retina and the RPE and for identifying additional disease genes.