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Microarray analysis of orthologous genes: conservation of the translational machinery across species at the sequence and expression level

Jose L Jiménez*, Michael P Mitchell and John G Sgouros

Author Affiliations

Computational Genome Analysis Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, UK

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Genome Biology 2002, 4:R4  doi:10.1186/gb-2002-4-1-r4

Published: 31 December 2002

Abstract

Background

Genome projects have provided a vast amount of sequence information. Sequence comparison between species helps to establish functional catalogues within organisms and to study how they are maintained and modified across phylogenetic groups during evolution. Microarray studies allow us to determine groups of genes with similar temporal regulation and perhaps also common regulatory upstream regions for binding of transcription factors. The integration of sequence and expression data is expected to refine our current annotations and provide some insight into the evolution of gene regulation across organisms.

Results

We have investigated how well the protein subcellular localization and functional categories established from clustering of orthologous genes agree with gene-expression data in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. An increase in the resolution of biologically meaningful classes is observed upon the combination of experiments under different conditions. The functional categories deduced by sequence comparison approaches are, in general, preserved at the level of expression and can sometimes interact into larger co-regulated networks, such as the protein translation process. Differences and similarities in the expression between cytoplasmic-mitochondrial and interspecies translation machineries complement evolutionary information from sequence similarity.

Conclusions

Combination of several microarray experiments is a powerful tool for the identification of upstream regulatory motifs of yeast genes involved in protein synthesis. Comparison of these yeast co-regulated genes against the archaeal and bacterial operons indicates that the components of the protein translation process are conserved across organisms at the expression level with minor specific adaptations.