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Transcriptome of interstitial cells of Cajal reveals unique and selective gene signatures
AuthorLee, Moon Young
Ha, Se Eun
Park, Paul J.
Jorgensen, Brian G.
Ward, Sean M.
Sanders, Kenton M.
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Transcriptome-scale data can reveal essential clues into understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms behind specific cellular functions and biological processes. Transcriptomics is a continually growing field of research utilized in biomarker discovery. The transcriptomic profile of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), which serve as slow-wave electrical pacemakers for gastrointestinal (GI) smooth muscle, has yet to be uncovered. Using copGFP-labeled ICC mice and flow cytometry, we isolated ICC populations from the murine small intestine and colon and obtained their transcriptomes. In analyzing the transcriptome, we identified a unique set of ICC-restricted markers including transcription factors, epigenetic enzymes/regulators, growth factors, receptors, protein kinases/phosphatases, and ion channels/transporters. This analysis provides new and unique insights into the cellular and biological functions of ICC in GI physiology. Additionally, we constructed an interactive ICC genome browser (http://med.unr.edu/physio/transcriptome) based on the UCSC genome database. To our knowledge, this is the first online resource that provides a comprehensive library of all known genetic transcripts expressed in primary ICC. Our genome browser offers a new perspective into the alternative expression of genes in ICC and provides a valuable reference for future functional studies.