Developmental markers of B cells are superior to those of T cells for identification of stages with distinct gene expression profiles
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B and T lymphocytes develop through a series of cellular stages, which are defined by recombination status of the immunoglobulin and T cell receptor loci and can be separated by analysis of cell-surface markers. We evaluated how well 26 and 41 samples from five and eight developmental stages of B and T cell development, respectively, could be correctly assigned to their lineage of origin and developmental stage by analysis of the expression of 13,026 genes and expressed sequence tags (ESTs). The RNA expression patterns of eight genes correctly classified all 67 samples as belonging to the B cell or to the T cell lineage. Ninety-two to 100% of B-lineage samples could be correctly assigned to the protein-defined developmental stage by the RNA expression pattern of 29 genes. By contrast, RNA expression patterns of 39 genes were necessary to correctly assign 85-100% of T-lineage samples to the correct developmental stage. The sets of genes used for these classifications contain ESTs as well as known genes that have not previously been associated with lymphocyte development. Graphical display of the classifications shows that B-lineage samples are well separated from T-lineage samples, and samples from the five stages of B cell development are well separated from each other. By contrast, samples from the eight stages of T cell development cannot be separated precisely. We conclude that the protein markers currently widely used for separating stages of B cell development better identify molecularly distinct stages than those used for separating stages of T cell development.
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JOURNAL OF LEUKOCYTE BIOLOGY, 2003, 74 pp. 602 - 610
FEDERATION AMER SOC EXP BIOL