Background: Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) is a rare X-linked genetic disease and one of the causes of 46,XY disorder of sexual development. The unstraightforward diagnosis of AIS and the gender assignment dilemma still make a plague for this disorder due to the overlapping clinical phenotypes.
Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of partial AIS (PAIS) patients and healthy controls were separated, and RNA-seq was performed to investigate transcriptome variance. Then, tissue-specific gene expression, functional enrichment, and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analyses were performed; and the key modules were identified. Finally, the RNA expression of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) of interest was validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR).
Results: In our dataset, a total of 725 DEGs were captured, with functionally enriched reproduction and immune-related pathways and Gene Ontology (GO) functions. The most highly specific systems centered on hematologic/immune and reproductive/endocrine systems. We finally filtered out CCR1, PPBP, PF4, CLU, KMT2D, GP6, and SPARC by the key gene clusters of the PPI network and manual screening of tissue-specific gene expression. These genes provide novel insight into the pathogenesis of AIS in the immune system or metabolism and bring forward possible molecular markers for clinical screening. The qRT-PCR results showed a consistent trend in the expression levels of related genes between PAIS patients and healthy controls.
Conclusion: The present study sheds light on the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and progression of AIS, providing potential targets for diagnosis and future investigation.
Keywords: RNA transcriptome; androgen insensitivity syndrome; differentially expressed genes; immune; metabolism; reproduction.
Copyright © 2021 Peng, Zhu, Han, Xu, Liu, Song and Qiao.