Expression profiling of 68 glycosyltransferase genes in 27 different human tissues by the systematic multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction method revealed clustering of sexually related tissues in hierarchical clustering algorithm analysis

Electrophoresis. 2003 Jul;24(14):2295-307. doi: 10.1002/elps.200305459.


We have developed an experimental system to study the expression of 68 human glycosyltransferase genes. Using this system, we examined the expression of those genes in 27 different tissues by the technique which we named systematic multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (SM RT-PCR). The panoramic view of a total of 1836 (68 x 27) expression data demonstrates that some glycosyltransferase genes are differentially expressed whereas some others are ubiquitously expressed. The data gathered provide more information on glycosyltransferase gene expression in tissues than any other paper published, and surpass in quantity all the information combined from previous publications. Although the expression profiling of glycosyltransferase genes alone may not directly explain the repertoires of oligosaccharides synthesized, it is an important step toward a better understanding of the gene expression network involved in oligosaccharide synthesis/degradation. Our modestly high-throughput gene expression study and the data analysis using a hierarchical clustering algorithm have allowed us to investigate the correlation between tissues and glycosyltransferase gene expression. Similar patterns of glycosyltransferase gene expression were observed in functionally and anatomically related tissues. All, but one, sexually related tissues formed a cluster in a tissue dendrogram, suggesting the involvement of sex hormones in the transcriptional control of many glycosyltransferase genes. Once established, the SM RT-PCR is cost- and time-efficient and requires small amounts of RNA as template. It is especially useful for the simultaneous analyses of multiple samples. Because of its simple design, the SM RT-PCR may offer an easy alternative in studying the expression of many other families of genes, as well as groups of related/unrelated genes, in various biological phenomena.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Calibration
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sex Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • DNA Primers
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Glycosyltransferases