The characterization of differentially expressed genes provides a powerful tool for identifying molecules that may be involved in the pathogenesis of disease. We have used two independent techniques to identify overexpressed transcripts in bile duct cells and in liver from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). In the first method, we used suppressive subtractive hybridization to compare mRNA from isolated PBC bile duct epithelial cells (BECs) to normal BECs and identified 71 clones as transcribed at higher levels in PBC-BECs. Amongst these clones, 62/71 had matches in a non-redundant nucleotide database and 9/71 had matches in an EST database. Of the 62 clones, 51/62 include a complexity of genes involved in cell proliferation, signal transduction, transcription regulation, RNA processing, carbohydrate metabolism and hypothetical/unknown proteins; 4/62 were identified as interstitial collagenase and collagenase precursors, 4/62 as ribosomal proteins, 3/62 as mitochondrial DNA. The mitochondrial cDNA sequences included cytochrome c oxidase, Wnt-13, and the pHL gene, a c-myc oncogene containing coxIII sequence. In the second method, we constructed cDNA libraries from three different PBC livers and sequenced a total of 12,324 independent clones. These 12,324 clones underwent virtual subtraction with 2,814,148 independent clones from Incyte LifeSeq libraries. Twenty one sequences were identified as unique to PBC liver. Collectively, these approaches identified a number of genes involved in signalling, RNA processing, mitochondrial function, inflammation, and fibrosis. Interestingly, both Wnt-13 and Notch transcripts are overexpressed in PBC liver. Further studies are needed to focus on the significance of these genes during the natural history of disease.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.