Genome-wide transcriptional analysis of the human cell cycle identifies genes differentially regulated in normal and cancer cells

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jan 22;105(3):955-60. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0704723105. Epub 2008 Jan 14.


Characterization of the transcriptional regulatory network of the normal cell cycle is essential for understanding the perturbations that lead to cancer. However, the complete set of cycling genes in primary cells has not yet been identified. Here, we report the results of genome-wide expression profiling experiments on synchronized primary human foreskin fibroblasts across the cell cycle. Using a combined experimental and computational approach to deconvolve measured expression values into "single-cell" expression profiles, we were able to overcome the limitations inherent in synchronizing nontransformed mammalian cells. This allowed us to identify 480 periodically expressed genes in primary human foreskin fibroblasts. Analysis of the reconstructed primary cell profiles and comparison with published expression datasets from synchronized transformed cells reveals a large number of genes that cycle exclusively in primary cells. This conclusion was supported by both bioinformatic analysis and experiments performed on other cell types. We suggest that this approach will help pinpoint genetic elements contributing to normal cell growth and cellular transformation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle / genetics*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / classification
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Computational Biology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins