Genome multiplication as adaptation to tissue survival: evidence from gene expression in mammalian heart and liver

Genomics. 2007 Jan;89(1):70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2006.08.014. Epub 2006 Oct 6.


To elucidate the functional significance of genome multiplication in somatic tissues, we performed a large-scale analysis of ploidy-associated changes in expression of non-tissue-specific (i.e., broadly expressed) genes in the heart and liver of human and mouse (6585 homologous genes were analyzed). These species have inverse patterns of polyploidization in cardiomyocytes and hepatocytes. The between-species comparison of two pairs of homologous tissues with crisscross contrast in ploidy levels allows the removal of the effects of species and tissue specificity on the profile of gene activity. The different tests performed from the standpoint of modular biology revealed a consistent picture of ploidy-associated alteration in a wide range of functional gene groups. The major effects consisted of hypoxia-inducible factor-triggered changes in main cellular processes and signaling pathways, activation of defense against DNA lesions, acceleration of protein turnover and transcription, and the impairment of apoptosis, the immune response, and cytoskeleton maintenance. We also found a severe decline in aerobic respiration and stimulation of sugar and fatty acid metabolism. These metabolic rearrangements create a special type of metabolism that can be considered intermediate between aerobic and anaerobic. The metabolic and physiological changes revealed (reflected in the alteration of gene expression) help explain the unique ability of polyploid tissues to combine proliferation and differentiation, which are separated in diploid tissues. We argue that genome multiplication promotes cell survival and tissue regeneration under stressful conditions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Diploidy
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Ploidies
  • Polyploidy