Published online August 25, 2004
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
RNA expression microarrays (REMs), ahigh-throughput method to measure differencesin gene expression in diverse biological samples
Charles E. Rogler*, Tatyana Tchaikovskaya, Raquel Norel, Aldo Massimi1,Christopher Plescia2, Eugeny Rubashevsky, Paul Siebert3 and Leslie E. Rogler
Department of Medicine and Marion Bessin Liver Research Center, 1Department of Molecular Genetics, Albert EinsteinCollege of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA, 2Department of Neurosciences, Mt Sinai College of Medicine, New York, NY,USA and 3BD Biosciences-Clontech, Palo Alto, CA, USA
Received April 12, 2004; Revised June 4, 2004; Accepted July 30, 2004
have a vital function. Using cDNA microarrays, researcherscan simultaneously measure steady-state mRNA levels in all
We have developed RNA expression microarrays
the known genes and thousands of expressed sequence tags
(REMs), in which each spot on a glass support is com-
(ESTs) expressed in a cell (4–6).
posed of a population of cDNAs synthesized from a
Genome-wide expression analysis has advanced transcrip-
cell or tissue sample. We used simultaneous hybrid-
tional based research in all areas of biology. In mammalian
ization with test and reference (housekeeping) genes
biology for example, cDNA microarray approaches have iden-
to calculate an expression ratio based on normaliza-
tified novel genes involved in the cell cycle (7,8), specific
tion with the endogenous reference gene. A test REM
differentiation programs (9,10) and specific disease states
containing artificial mixtures of liver cDNA and dilu-
(11,12) to mention just a few. In cancer biology, an important
tions of the bacterial LysA gene cDNA demonstrated
application has been the identification of distinct subtypes of
the feasibility of detecting transcripts at a sensitivity
tumors, such as subtypes of breast tumors (13,14), lymphomas(15), kidney tumors (16), melanomas (17) and other tumor
of four copies of LysA mRNA per liver cell equivalent.
Furthermore, LysA cDNA detection varied linearly
In all the above cases, the genome-wide scans have led to
across a standard curve that matched the sensitivity
the identification of candidate disease-specific genes in defined
of quantitative real-time PCR. In REMs with real sam-
sets of samples. Follow-up studies, on the expression of the
ples, we detected organ-specific expression of albu-
best candidate genes in a much larger sample base, are then
min, Hnf-4 and Igfbp-1, in a set of mouse organ cDNA
needed to quantitate and validate their involvement in specific
populations and c-Myc expression in tumor samples
biological processes or diseases. Experimental approaches to
in paired tumor/normal tissue cDNA samples. REMs
investigating the broader ‘expression niche' of candidate
extend the use of classic microarrays in that a single
genes include, among others, the use of tissue northern
REM can contain cDNAs from hundreds to thousands
blots, RNA dot blots (19) and tissue microarrays (20). Acqui-
of cell or tissue samples each representing a specific
sition of samples and sample processing for large sets of sam-ples are often the rate-limiting step in this process. Therefore,
physiological or pathophysiological state. REMs will
there is a need for an experimental tool that provides large sets
extend the analysis of valuable samples by providing
of samples that can be probed for the expression of specific
a common broad based platform for their analysis
genes in a high-throughput manner. In addition, the tool should
and will promote research aimed at defining gene
use small amounts of valuable samples so that the effective use
functions, by broadening our understanding of their
of those samples can be extended.
expression patterns in health and disease.
In this report we describe the development and use of a new
microarray technology, called RNA Expression Microarrays(REMs), that addresses the above needs. REMs are producedby spotting cDNAs synthesized from the poly(A)+ mRNAs of
a tissue. REMs have the advantage of precise internal normal-
Evolutionary selection pressure functions both at the organ-
ization, quantitative comparisons between the samples and a
ismal level, and at the molecular level, by precisely tuning the
capacity for high-throughput analysis of thousands of diverse
regulatory properties of enhancers and promoters, so that each
samples simultaneously. We have validated the technology
gene product is produced when and where it is needed and in
using artificial mixtures and compared it with the leading
sufficient quantities to supply its required function (1–3). Con-
quantitative expression analysis method, and applied REM
sequently, the temporal and spatial pattern of expression of a
technology toward biologically relevant questions in develop-
gene is a catalog of biological processes in which a gene can
mental and cancer biology.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: +1 718 430 2607; Fax: +1 718 430 8975; Email: [email protected]
Nucleic Acids Research, Vol. 32 No. 15 ª Oxford University Press 2004; all rights reserved
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
chamber. Approximately 20 ml of prehybridization solution(prehybridization solution is 35% formamide, 4· SSPE,
Preparation of fluorescent probes
0.5% SDS, 2.5· Denhardts and 0.2 mg/ml salmon sperm
Gene-specific sense and antisense primers 500 bp apart are
DNA) is added over the arrayed samples and the coverslip
identified near the 30 end of the cDNA sequence of selected
is placed over the samples avoiding bubbles. The slide is
gene. A T7 promoter sequence is attached to the antisense
incubated in the hybridization chamber that is humidified
primer and the cDNA fragment is PCR amplified, purified
by adding 10 ml of water in each corner, for 1–2 h at 50C.
using the Qiaquick PCR purification kit and the product is
After incubation the coverslip is removed by dipping in water,
sequence verified. An antisense RNA is synthesized using
the slide is dried by centrifugation as above, dust is removed as
T7 RNA polymerase according to the Epicenter AmpliScribe
described, the slide is returned to the chamber, covered by
T7 Flash transcription kit protocol, (Epicentre Cat. no.
hybridization solution containing a mixture of Cy3- and Cy5-
ASF3257), except that the reaction is carried out at 42C
labeled probes and by coverslip, and incubated in humidified
for 1 h. The antisense RNA is purified using a RNeasy
hybridization chamber for 16–20 h at 50C.
Mini kit from Qiagen (Cat. no. 74104). Five micrograms of
After hybridization, the cover slip is removed by immersing
antisense RNA, at 0.3 mg/ml in H2O, is annealed at 70C for
REM in 100 ml of 2· SSC/0.1% SDS then washed with several
5 min with 6 mM sense primer. After annealing, Cy3- or Cy5-
hundred milliliters of 0.2· SSC/0.1% SDS with stirring for 10–
labeled sense strand cDNA is synthesized using 10 U/ml
15 min at room temperature, washed with 0.2· SSC and then
Invitrogen Superscript III reverse transcriptase, in 50mM
with 0.1· SSC for every 15 min. Slide is dried by centrifuga-
Tris–HCl, pH 8.3, 75 mM KCl, 3 mM MgCl2, 10 mM DTT,
tion as above, stored at room temperature, in dark, until scan-
1 U/ml RNaseOUT (Invitrogen, Cat. no. 10777-019), 500 nM
ning (preferably the same day).
dATP, dCTP, dGTP and 200 nM dTTP, plus either Cy3- orCy5-labeled dUTP at 100 nM, at 50C for 2 h (reaction volume
Preparation of single-stranded LysA antisense cDNA
normally 40 ml). After completion of the reaction, an equal
and dilution into antisense liver cDNA
volume of 17.5 mM MgCl2 and 250 mM Tris–HCl, pH 7.4,
A 1 kb segment of a bacterial clone for diaminopimelate
containing 4 U of RNAse H, is added and incubated for 30 min
decarboxylase (LysA, ATCC accession number 87482) was
at 37C, followed by the treatment with 0.5 U/ml of RNase 1
subcloned into pBluescript II KS+. The clone contained a 60 nt
and RNase 1 buffer (10 mM Tris–HCl, pH 7.5, 5 mM EDTA
artificial poly(A) tail at its 30 end. A 1.1 kb DNA fragment was
and 200 mM sodium acetate (Promega no. 4261) for 10 min at
amplified from the plasmid using antisense T7 and senseT3
37C. Probe solutions containing either Cy3 or Cy5 are com-
primers homologous to plasmid sequences and the PCR pro-
bined and purified together using a Qiaquick PCR purification
duct was sequence verified. Sense strand LysA aRNA was
kit. Final purification is accomplished by elution from the
synthesized using an Ambion MEGAscript T3 RNA polymer-
Qiagen columns using 10 mM Tris–HCl (pH 8.5) as elution
ase kit (Cat. no. 1338). Antisense cDNA was synthesized from
buffer (Qiagen protocol), the combined probes are precipitated
the full-length aRNA using an oligo(dT) primer and Super-
by adding one-third volume of 7.5 M ammonium acetate,
script II reverse transcriptase followed by removal of the RNA
followed by 2.5 vol of absolute ethanol, and precipitation at
template with RNase 1 and the purification of single-strand
80C for 20 min. The precipitates are collected by centri-
antisense cDNA over a Qiagen PCR purification column (Cat.
fugation at 13 K in a microcentrifuge for 15 min and the pellets
no. 28104). Purified products were measured by OD
are washed with 75% ethanol and air-dried.
checked for correct size.
Immediately before REM hybridization, the pellet contain-
A large batch of single-stranded liver cDNA was synthe-
ing the combined Cy3- and Cy5-labeled probes is dissolved in
sized from 2.5 mg of total RNA from a C57/Bl6 female mouse
20 ml of hybridization buffer containing 35% formamide, 0.5%
and used as the carrier for all the LysA dilutions. LysA 1.1 kb
SDS, 2.5· Denhardts solution, 4· SSPE, 0.2 mg/ml yeast
antisense LysA cDNA was mixed with liver cDNAs at 12
tRNA, 0.1 mg/ml poly(dA) and 2.5 mg/ml mouse/human Cot
levels each representing a 2-fold dilution of LysA per liver
1 DNA. The probe is boiled at 95C for 2 min, snap-cooled,
cell cDNA equivalent. Our mixtures were based on a 50 mg/ml
spun down in a microcentrifuge at 13 K for 5 min and pre-
solution of 1000 bp segment of single-stranded DNA contain-
hybridized at 50C for 1 h.
ing 9.1 · 1013 molecules of DNA per milliliter (21). Based onthe above standard, we made series dilutions in which LysA
Preparation of REMs for hybridization
was varied from 9000 to 4 copies per liver cell equivalent. Allmixtures were prepared in 3· SSC solution. Mixtures were
Dust from the slide is removed with air from a Fisherbrand
also based on 0.2 pg mRNA per liver cell.
super friendly Air'IT (Cat. no. 23-022523). The array face ofthe REM is moisturized over boiling water for 5 s and the DNA
Preparation of LysA sense Cy dye-labeled probe for
is immediately crosslinked to the slide with 250 mJ of UV
irradiation in a Bio-Rad UV GS GENE LINKER. The slide isre-moisturized over steam for 5 s and placed (array side up) on
A set of nested primers were used to generate a 533 bp sub-
a 100C hot plate for 3–5 s. Then the slide is rinsed in 0.1%
fragment of LysA from the 1.1 kb antisense cDNA produced
SDS for 10–20 s, followed by ddH2O for 10–20 s and then
above. The gene-specific primers for this PCR fragment were
incubated at 95C in ddH2O for 3–5 min. The slide is dipped in
as follows: 50-CGAGCAAAGCATTCTCATCA-sense and
absolute ethanol and excess ethanol is removed by centrifuga-
50-T7 linked antisense primer TAATACGACTCACTATAG-
tion in a 50 ml tube at 1000 r.p.m. for 4 min. The slide is
GGCTCCTCCAAGATTCAGCAC. T7 RNA polymerase was
placed, array side up, in a microarray slide hybridization
used to generate an antisense LysA aRNA, the 533 bp
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
fragment [this aRNA does not contain either oligo(dT) or T7
Alb1 gene probe (NM_009654 mouse albumin 1), 50-GA-
polymerase promoter sequences]. The final, 513 bp, sense
CAAGGAAAGCTGCCTGAC-forward, 50-T7 (GTAATAC-
strand Cy dye-labeled LysA probe was synthesized from 5 mg
antisense aRNA using the sense strand primer, at 30 pmol, and
reverse, product size 750 bp.
reverse transcriptase in the standard probe synthesis conditions
Gapdh gene probe (NM_008084 mouse glyceraldehyde-3-
Quantification of LysA by real-time PCR
TGTGAGGGAGATGCTCAGTG-reverse, product size 599 bp.
TaqMan probe and primers were designed with Primer
Primer sequences for UBI, Hnf4 and Igfbp1 are available upon
Express Software (Applied Biosystems) and synthesized by
request to CER. All specific PCR products were sequence-
Operon (Qiagen) as follows: 50-GAAACGGGTCACTC-
verified and used as templates for antisense RNA synthesis by
CATCGA-forward primer; 50-AGTCATGCGTATGCGCT-
in vitro transcription followed by labeling procedure as
TCTAC-reverse primer; and 50-6FAM-TTCTTCTTCGGA-
Gapdh Control Reagents containing VIC-labeled probe and
Quantitative real-time PCR assay for human MYC
primers (P/N 4308313; Applied Biosystems) were used to
quantify a reference gene expression. Series dilutions of
SMARTTMcDNAs (22–24), were diluted to obtain template
LysA cDNA mixed with mouse liver cDNA were prepared
amounts per reaction of 100, 200, 400 or 800 pg. These
in a way such that a particular reaction mostly contained the
amounts matched the amount of SMART cDNA printed on
same amount of corresponding dilution that was printed on the
the REM. For the five pairs of lung tumor/normal SMART
REM slide. TaqMan Universal Master Mix (P/N 4304437)
cDNAs, we tested three replications of each sample at the
was used to prepare reaction mixtures containing 900 nM
400 pg per spot level and for the amplification efficiency
of each primer and 250 nM of appropriate TaqMan probe.
two individual tumor/normal samples in all four different
We performed a single gene reaction for LysA or Gapdh in
concentrations were tested too.
each well. For each data point, we had three repetitions andused 96-well optical PCR plates (P/N 4306737; Applied
TaqMan primers and probes. Assay on demand gene expres-
Biosystems). The plates were sealed, spun down and reactions
sion reagents were from Applied Biosystems. Each assay con-
run in an ABI PRISM 7000 Sequence Detection System under
sisted of forward and reverse primers and MGB (Minor
default conditions: 50C for 2 min, 95C for 10 min, and 40
Groove Binder) probe with 6FAM at the 50 end and non-
cycles of 95C for 15 s and 60C for 1 min.
fluorescent quencher at the 30 end mixed in 20· dilutions.
TaqMan Universal PCR master mix (P/N 4304437; Applied
Primers for specific gene probes synthesis
Biosystems) was diluted 2-fold with water and appropriate
All primers were selected using Primer 3 public available
amount of assay mixture, and aliquots of 20 ml were dispensed
program which can be found at
into wells on the reaction plate (P/N 4306737; Applied
Biosystems). An aliquot of 5 ml, containing designated
primers sequences were double checked for gene specificity
amounts of SMART cDNA were added to the reaction mix-
using available gene databases. The following genes and
tures. Target gene and reference gene assays were run as single
primers were selected.
reactions on the same plate. The following assays were used:
MYC gene probe (NM_002467 Homo sapiens v-myc
Hs00153408_m1 for MYC oncogene (NM_002467); 50-
myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog) (avian), 50-AGAG-
GCAGCGACTCTGAGGAGGAACAAGA, reporter position
AAGCTGGCCTCCTACC-forward, 50-T7 (GTAATACGAC-
is between exon 2 and 3;
Hs00187842_m1 for beta-2-microglobulin (NM_004048),
product size 632 bp.
forward primer 50-AGGCTATCCAGCGTACTCCAAAGAT,
GP gene probe (X58295 plasma glutathione peroxidase 3),
reporter position is between exon 1 and 2;
50-CATCTGACCGCCTCTTCTGG-forward, 50-T7 (GTAAT-
Hs99999903_m1 for beta-actin (GenBank mRNA X00351),
forward primer 50-TCGCCTTTGCCGATCCGCCGCCCGT,
reverse, product size 308 bp.
reporter position is at exon 1.
ACTB gene probe (X00351 Homo sapiens cytoplasmic beta-
Synthesis of cDNAs for printing
Total RNA was isolated using the Qiagen RNA purification
GCCGATCCACACGG-reverse, product size 384 bp.
procedure (Qiagen no. 75144) according to the manufacturer's
B2M gene probe (NM_004048 Homo sapiens beta-2-
instructions. RNA quality was monitored using an Agilent
2100 bioanalyzer (LabChip, Caliper Technologies Corp.).
Invitrogen Superscript III reverse transcriptase (Cat. no.
TTGCCAGCCCT-reverse, product size 578 bp.
180080-044) was used to synthesize cDNA from 100 mg of
A 23 kDa highly basic protein (X56932 Homo sapiens
total RNA using an Oligo dT primer. After synthesis was
ribosomal protein L13A) (RPL13A), 50-TAAACAGGTACTG-
completed, the samples were heated at 94C for 2 min, and
CTGGGCCGGAAGGTG-forward, 50-T7 (GTAATACGA-
then treated with 0.5 U/ml of RNase I and RNase I buffer
[10 mM Tris–HCl (pH 7.5), 5 mM EDTA and 200 mM
TAGC-reverse, product size 483 bp.
sodium acetate] (Promega no. 4261) for 10 min at 37C.
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
Single-stranded cDNA was separated using the Qiaquick PCR
pins, part no. SMP3, arranged in a 4 · 4 array, each producing
purification protocol (Qiaquick Spin Handbook, p. 18), except
a nominal 100 mm diameter spot.
that an additional 35% guanidine hydrochloride wash step wasincluded after binding cDNA to the Qiaquick column. cDNA
Dot spacing. Each of the 16 pins forms a domain which was
was eluted with 10 mM Tris–HCl, pH 8.5, and precipitated
programmed to generate a uniformly spaced 12 · 12 square dot
with one-third volume of 7.5 M ammonium acetate and
pattern, with a center-to-center dot spacing of 365 mm.
2.5 vol of absolute ethanol. cDNA was pelleted, washed
Printing parameters. The printing program was configured to
with 75% ethanol and dissolved in water. Concentrations
produce four replicates of each sample for every microscope
were adjusted to 100, 200, 400, or 800 ng/ml in 3· SSC for
slide. This subdivides each domain area into four subdomains
printing. cDNA quality was monitored by running samples on
containing 3 · 12 unique dots. With each pickup, each pin
1% agarose gels and checking for a smear of cDNAs from
produces four equally spaced spots per domain, one each per
500–3000 bases in length.
subdomain, from the same sample. The on-slide dwell timewas 100 ms while the HEPA filtered environment was main-
AECOM microarray printing procedure for REM
tained at 25C and 50% RH.
Microscope slides. The substrate used was the Corning GAPS
The REM microarrays were produced with the custom built
II amino silane coated slides.
microarray printer at the AECOM Microarray Facility.
Details of the equipment can be viewed on our website
). Following is the printerconfiguration and parameters used for printing.
REMs are a reverse format microarray, in which the high-complexity ‘target' is bound to a solid support and labeled
Printhead and pins. Telechem SPH48 printhead with pins
probes from at least two genes are hybridized simultaneously
spaced 4.5 mm center-to-center, populated with 16 split-tip
to the microarray (Figure 1). The cDNA printed on glass
Figure 1. Overview of REM technology. (A) Illustrates the probe preparation protocol starting with PCR using forward and reverse gene-specific primers linked to aT7 promoter. T7 RNA polymerase produces an anitsense RNA (blue line), and then reverse transcriptase produces a sense strand Cy3- or Cy5-labeled cDNA probe(magenta plus red or green Cy dye). The Cy3 and Cy5 probes are made single-stranded with RNases and then mixed prior to REM hybridization. (B) REM productionand processing. Total RNA from tissues or cells serves as template for reverse transcriptase to synthesize a cDNA primed by Oligo(dT) or a SMART cDNA. cDNAsare printed on Corning GAP slides. High stringency hybridization is carried out with mixed Cy3 and Cy 5 probes, in a humidified hybridization chamber followed bywashing, scanning and processing of the data using custom made scripts in a Linux operating system.
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
microscope slides can either be single-stranded antisense
Table 1. Quantitative analysis of albumin, Hnf-4 and Igfbp-1 expression in
cDNA produced by reverse transcription, or the cDNA can
mouse organs and Gapdh hybridization to murine organ cDNAs printed on a
be rendered double-stranded by amplification using SMARTTM
REM at 400 pg/spot
DNA technology (22–24). The kinetics of hybridization are
Ratio gene/Gapdh – SD
assumed to be similar to that of RNA dot or northern blots in
which the cloned probe is in hybridization excess around the
complex mRNA (cDNA) that is bound to the solid support.
During the development of the technology, we tested sev-
eral different solid supports and different densities of sample
printing per spot. We tested total RNAs, poly(A)+ RNAs, A
RNAs (25), single-stranded cDNAs and SMART cDNAs (22–
24). While RNA samples were successfully hybridized, they
were very sensitive to RNase degradation, and cDNAs were
found to be much more stable substrate for printing and hybrid-
ization. Therefore, in this report we only present data using our
current REM protocol that involves printing cDNAs on silane-
coated glass microscope slides at cDNA spotting densities
representing 1000–4000 cell equivalents per spot. REMs
are hybridized simultaneously with a test probe, usually
labeled with Cy5 (red) fluorescent dye and a housekeeping
gene probe, usually labeled with a Cy3 (green) fluorescent dye
(Figure 1). Hybridization signals are measured with a laser
scanner (26), and fluorescence data are processed using gene
pix software (Axon, Garden City, CA). Data sorting and
analysis are carried out using customized computer scripts
written using a Linux operating system, and plotted using
Gnu Plot software.
Bold/italics show highest ratios for the test gene.
Organ-specific gene expression detected with REMs
Our initial test of REM technology was to determine whetherwe could detect organ-specific hybridization of test probes.
We decided to use albumin as an example of an abundant liver-specific probe, Hnf4 as a liver preferential transcription factorprobe and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (Igfbp-1)as a gene weakly expressed in the liver. Cy5-labeled albumin,Hnf4 and Igfbp-1 probes were synthesized along withCy3-labeled Gapdh probe. REMs were produced by printingsingle-stranded antisense cDNAs from a set of mouse organsat a density per spot that represented cDNA from 4000 cells(21). In the case of liver, we printed cDNAs from sixdifferent livers, representing one CD1 male, two C57Bl/6males, and one CD1 female and two C57Bl/6 females.
Each cDNA sample was printed in quadruplicate. Thus,the overall ratio of albumin/Gapdh for liver was calculatedfrom 48 quantitative fluorescence measurements (six liversamples,
hybridized). Other mouse organs were also represented bymultiple samples and each was also quadruplicate spotted.
We hybridized a REM-containing cDNAs from 25 mouse
organs with Cy5-labeled albumin plus Cy3-labeled Gapdhprobes (Table 1). The hybridization revealed strongly redspots for liver and green spots for all the other organs, asexpected. Examples of hybridized spots, viewed as the com-bined Cy5–Cy3 computer image, are shown in Figure 2A.
Using a customized computer script in Linux, we calculatedthe ratio of albumin signal versus Gapdh for the entire set ofmouse organs (Table 1). The ratio for albumin was 10.76 – 4.08
Figure 2. (A) Organ-specific hybridization of albumin to liver cDNA. A mouseorgan REM was hybridized with Cy 5-labeled albumin and Cy3-labeled Gapdh
for liver, whereas the average ratio for the other organs was
probes. The combined computer image shows red for liver cDNA spots and
0.25 – 0.1, clearly demonstrating the strong liver-specific
green spots for all other organs. (B) Sorting of liver-specific albumin expression
according to sex and genotype of donor mouse.
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
However, the standard deviation for liver-specific hybridiza-
9000 copies per cell equivalent (i.e. 1.8 · 107 copies per
tion was very high, suggesting an unexpectedly high level of
400 pg of sample) to approximately two copies per cell equiva-
variability in albumin expression between the different liver
lent (4 · 104 copies per 400 pg of sample) (21). The results
samples. To investigate this, we sorted the liver data according
from a set of standard mixtures, printed in quadruplicate and
to sex, or genotype, of the mice from which the liver samples
hybridized simultaneously with a green (Cy3) LysA probe and
were taken. By this analysis, we observed no difference due to
a red (Cy5) Gapdh reference probe are shown in Figure 3A.
mouse genotype; however, we observed a significant increase
The computer combined image shows that spots containing the
in albumin expression in female liver cDNAs (Figure 2B).
high level of LysA are green and those with a low or unde-
This makes sense biologically since an important function
tectable LysA level are red, representing solely Gapdh refer-
of albumin is as a serum carrier protein for estrogen in females
ence gene hybridization. A dye reversal experiment revealed a
(27). These data demonstrate that the REM technology can
reversed pattern of colored spots, demonstrating the accuracy
reveal new information about gene expression differences due
and reproducibility of the hybridization and detection technol-
to sex and/or genotype.
ogy (Figure 3B).
A second mouse organ REM was hybridized with Hnf4 plus
Quantitative analysis of the hybridization signals from
Gapdh. Analysis of the hybridization again revealed liver pre-
Figure 3A allowed us to calculate a ratio for the LysA gene
ferential expression as expected along with expression in all
versus Gapdh across the standard curve of 400 pg spots
other organs tested (Table 1). Hybridization of a third REM
(Figure 4). These data showed an increasing ratio from 4 to
with Igfbp-1 and Gapdh probes revealed the strongest Igfbp-1
9000 copies of LysA per liver cell cDNA equivalent. A duplicate
hybridization in the pancreas and spleen, in contrast to liver
set of mixtures printed at 800 pg per spot produced a standard
expression (Table 1).
curve that was virtually identical to that obtained with the 400 pgper spot series (Figure 4). Therefore, the ratio of test gene versus
Normalization with housekeeping genes
reference gene is independent of the density of spotting.
It is not possible to be certain that every spot on a REM isequally loaded with cDNA. Therefore, as stated above, it is
Comparison with real-time quantitative PCR
essential to have an internal housekeeping gene control. The
We compared REM technology to quantitative real-time PCR
data in Table 2 were generated from a separate REM printing,
by analyzing six of the standard mixtures from the above
in which several cDNA samples including muscle and brain
analysis by both technologies. The real-time PCR data,
were inadvertantly overloaded. Thus, for example, albumin
expressed as a negative log of the Ct value (28), and the
hybridization was very high in the muscle cDNA. However,
REM data, expressed as the log 2 of the LysA/Gapdh ratio,
after normalization with Gapdh, the ratio for albumin expres-
are plotted on the y-axis in Figure 5. The two data sets are
sion versus Gapdh in muscle is very low (0.08) as was
compared across a set of known amounts of LysA, expressed
expected. These data demonstrate that the test gene expression
as the log 2 of the LysA copy number per reaction or spot.
can be accurately normalized against an internal reference for
This plot shows a striking parallel from an abundance of
quantitative analysis even when spots contain highly variableamounts of cDNA.
Standard curve generated with artificial mixtures
We next set up an experiment to determine the accuracy ofREM technology for detecting rare transcripts in a complexliver cDNA mixture. We prepared artificial cDNA mixtures inwhich we spiked a liver cDNA preparation with various levelsof the bacterial gene, diaminopimelate decarboxylase (LysA;ATCC accession number 87482). These mixtures were printedon silane-coated glass microscope slides at 400 or 800 pg ofliver cDNA per spot. An aliquot of 400 pg cDNA representsthe cDNA from approximately 2000 hepatocytes and thelevels of spiked LysA cDNA ranged from approximately
Table 2. Data demonstrating effectiveness of internal normalization approachfor calculating albumin expression in murine organs
ALB Gapdh (ratio)
Figure 3. Hybridization of a set of standard liver cDNA mixtures containing
increasing amounts of bacterial LysA antisense cDNA. (A) LysA abundance
varying from approximately 9 to 9100 copies LysA cDNA per cell equivalent
are shown in this figure (left vertical labels). Mixtures of cDNAs were printed
at 400 pg/spot (right vertical labels). LysA was labeled with Cy3 (green) and
Gapdh with Cy5 (red), and the green image corresponds to high LysA. (B) Dye
reversal experiment, LysA was labeled with Cy 5 and GAPDH with Cy 3, andhigh LysA is a red image.
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
Another approach is the cDNA amplification method termedas SMART (switching mechanism at the 50end of the RNAtemplate). The SMART method (22,24) utilized a combinationof two primers in a single reverse transcription reaction. Atagged oligo(dT) primer is used to prime the first cDNA strandwhile the SMART oligonucleotide serves as a short, extendedtemplate at the 50 end of the RNA templates. When the reversetranscriptase reaches the 50 end of the mRNA, the enzymeswitches templates and continues replicating to the endof the SMART oligonucleotide. PCR amplification isnow initiated with primers complimentary to the 30 anchorand SMART oligonucleotide. This protocol uses a mini-mum number of PCR amplification cycles (15) andSMART cDNAs have been shown to preserve the relativeabundance of different mRNAs in complex cDNA mixtures(33–36).
Figure 4. Standard curve for hybridization of increasing bacterial LysA gene
We printed SMART cDNAs synthesized from mRNA iso-
versus constant Gapdh in liver cDNA mixtures (from Figure 3B). The ratio of
lated from five tumor/normal pairs from five major tumor
the LysA fluorescence signal intensity versus the Gapdh signal intensity is
types, including kidney, breast, uterus, lung and ovary. The
plotted as the log 2 of LysA/Gapdh fluorescence intensities (y-axis).
A 2-fold increase in the LysA abundance in the liver cDNA is plotted on
SMART cDNAs were printed at 100, 200, 400 and 800 pg per
the x-axis as the log 2 of the LysA copy number per cell equivalent. The
spot, and each SMART cDNA sample was printed in
log 2 values on the x-axis represent the following LysA copy numbers per
quadruplicate. Hybridization of a REM-containing SMART
liver cell equivalent of cDNA, log 2.1 = 4, 3.1 = 9, 4.1 = 18, 5.1 = 36, etc. cDNA
cDNAs, with a single-stranded antisense Cy5-labeled probe
mixtures were printed at two densities, either 400 pg total liver cDNA per spot(diamonds) or 800 pg liver cDNA per spot (‘X'). An aliquot of 800 pg spots
to MYC, and a Cy3-labeled probe to beta 2 microglobulin
represent approximately 4000 cell equivalents of liver cDNA.
(b2M), as a housekeeping reference, produced significantfluorescence signals across the whole range of printing den-sities (Figure 6A). The quadruplicate printing of each sampleenabled us to calculate confidence intervals for each sampleand draw a conclusion whether MYC was up- or down-regulated in the tumor from each tumor/normal pair. In thecase of lung tumors, shown in Figure 6B, we concluded thatMYC was up-regulated in all five tumors (100%). Up-regulation of MYC in the lung tumor samples was confirmedusing quantitative real-time PCR. We calculated the ddCTvalue (37) for each tumor sample versus its matching normalsample (numbers above each tumor/normal pair in Figure 6B).
A negative ddCT means that MYC was more abundant in thetumor sample compared to its matching normal sample.
The ratio for MYC expression versus b2M was calculated
Figure 5. Comparison of REM technology with quantitative real-time PCRREM data (diamonds); quantitative real-time PCR (circles). Left y-axis: log
for all 200 SMART cDNA spots representing 25 tumor/normal
2 of the dCt value for LysA concentration by real-time PCR. Right y-axis: log 2
pairs, quadruplicate spotted. This survey showed a predomi-
of the ratio of LysA/Gapdh fluorescence intensities for standard mixtures from
nant up-regulation of MYC in lung and ovary tumors and
REM data (Figure 4). x-axis: log 2 of the LysA cDNA copy number per spot.
down-regulation in kidney tumors (Table 3). In contrast, how-ever, MYC was predominantly unchanged in our group ofbreast and uterus tumors (Table 3). The highest MYC up-
approximately four copies (log 2, 15.12) to 9100 copies (log 2,
regulation was found in two lung tumors that had 4.3- and
25.12) of LysA per cell equivalent. Therefore, over a 2000-
5.7-fold increases, and the most significant down-regulation of
fold change in LysA abundance, REM technology is equal to
MYC was in kidney tumors.
quantitative real-time PCR in accuracy and sensitivity.
Different housekeeping genes and printing density yield
SMARTTM cDNAs used for REM production and gene
similar results in REM technology
The choice of reference gene may be important in certain
A key feature of REM technology is its ability to represent a
samples because routinely used housekeeping genes, such
broad range of pathophysiological paradigms on a single pro-
as Gapdh, are themselves regulated in certain instances. There-
duct. However, valuable biological samples, such as biopsies
fore, in order to measure variability in REM data with different
or samples obtained by laser capture micro-dissection provide
reference genes, we chose three different housekeeping genes,
only small amounts of mRNA (29). This requires a method
beta Actin, Ubiquitin and 23 kDa basic protein and hybridized
for amplification of the mRNA population while maintaining
them against a common test gene, glutatione peroxidase (GP),
the relative balance in abundance between mRNA species
in three separate REMs. In addition, we prepared a mixture of
(30–32). One approach is the production of ARNA (25).
the three reference probes and hybridized the mixture against
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
Figure 6. (A) Combined fluorescence image of a REM hybridized simultaneously with red (MYC) and green (b2M) probes. Image from segment of REM containingSMART cDNA samples of paired tumor/normal tissues is shown. Horizontal rows: images of four replicate sets of each tumor/normal pair (8 spots/row). Verticalcolumns: 12 tumor/normal pairs printed at either (a) 800 pg or (b) 400 pg or (c) 200 pg or (d) 100 pg SMART cDNA/spot. (B) Histogram of MYC expression in lungtumor and normal samples using b2M as the reference gene. Error bars represent standard deviation determined from four measurements of the cMYC/b2M ratio foreach sample on the REM. The ddCT values determined by real-time PCR are above each pair. A negative ddCT value means MYC was higher in tumor tissuecompared to companion normal tissue by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. ddCT represents the difference in the number of real-time PCR cycles to reachmaximum rate of amplification between tumor and normal paired samples.
Table 3. Quantitative analysis of MYC expression in a panel of 25 tumor/normal pairs
SMART cDNAs from five pairs each of lung, uterus, breast, ovary and kidney tumors are shown. Common reference gene was b2M. Data are from the400 pg/spot series.
GP. The aim of this fourth REM was to determine whether the
lung tumor/normal pairs from four REMs was representative
mixture of reference probes accurately reflected the results
of all the tumor types and is shown in Figure 7.
with each individual reference probe. All the probes were
This analysis showed that GP was lower in lung tumor/
human genes and were hybridized to a REM containing the
normal pairs 1–4 and nearly the same in lung tumor/normal
human tumor/normal pairs of SMART cDNAs. The data for
pair 5, in each of the four REMs. This confirmed that different
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
Figure 7. Common GP expression profiles obtained using three different reference genes and a mixture of the three reference genes. Data shown for five lung tumor/normal pairs from four separate REMs hybridized with the designated probes. Upper left, GP versus beta actin (ACTB); upper right, GP versus ubiquitin (Ubi); lowerleft, GP versus 23 kDa basic protein; and lower right, GP versus a mixture of all three reference genes. For each sample, the ratio of GP/reference signal is plotted.
Standard errors are calculated from quadruplicate spotting of each sample.
reference genes can be used with qualitatively similar results.
As expected the absolute ratios were different for each REM
In this report, we have validated REM technology for measur-
due to the different levels of hybridization of each housekeep-
ing the expression of test genes in a diverse spectrum of
ing gene. However, the relative differences between tumor and
biological samples in a high-throughput manner. We have
normal samples were very similar across the set of four inde-
demonstrated that the REM technology can detect organ pre-
pendently hybridized REMs. The REM hybridized with the
ferential gene expression of both abundant transcripts such as
combined set of three reference genes closely reflected
albumin in the liver, and rare transcripts such as hepatocyte
the data from each reference gene singly. Therefore, the
nuclear factor 4 (Hnf4) in the liver and insulin-like binding
use of a combined reference probe may be preferable for
protein 1 (Igfbp1), expression in pancreas and spleen (Table 1).
We also detected MYC oncogene expression in both tumor
Finally, we compared the tumor/normal data across sets of
and normal human tissue samples and confirmed the differ-
identical samples that were printed at different printing
ential regulation with quantitative real-time PCR.
densities. Data from a representative set of breast tumor/
One feature of REM technology is that it can be used to
normal pairs printed at 200, 400 and 800 pg per spot and
measure gene expression differences that are due to sex of the
the average data for all three spotting densities are shown in
individual. For example, in a prototype REM, we included
Figure 8. Overall, there is a striking similarity between the
liver cDNAs from male and female mice that were either
datasets, supporting the conclusion that all three printing
C57Bl6 or CD1 genetic backgrounds. Using the REM, we
densities are suitable for REM analysis. In this example,
showed that albumin expression was not different in livers
GP was down-regulated in tumors in pairs 1 and 3, equal
of mice from different genetic backgrounds; however, the
to normal in tumor/normal pairs 2 and 4 and very slightly up
sex of the mouse had a significant effect on albumin expression
in tumor from pair 5. Each sample is quadruplicate spotted
(Figure 2). The data showed that albumin expression is sig-
and therefore each bar in the average profile (D) represents
nificantly higher in female liver. This is not generally appre-
12 data points obtained at 3 densities for each sample. This
ciated, however, it is consistent with the biological functions
type of multiple sampling is a unique strength of REMs that
of albumin which include being the major serum binding
facilitates accurate standard error measurements and the
protein for the female hormone, estrogen (27). Second
detection of small differences between tumor and normal
generation REMs, which contain 5–10 replicate organ
samples, from both male and female mice of different genetic
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
Figure 8. Common expression profiles obtained for tumor/normal samples printed at different densities. Data shown for five breast tumor/normal pairs hybridizedwith GP and ubiquitin (UBI). SMART cDNAs were printed at three printing densities. (A) An aliquot of 200 pg of SMART cDNA per spot; (B) 400 pg of SMARTcDNA per spot; (C) 800 pg of SMART cDNA per spot; and (D) average data from all three levels. The REM containing human tumor/normal pairs was hybridizedwith human GP probe plus human ubiquitin probe. For each sample, the ratio of GP/ubiquitin signal is plotted. Standard errors are calculated from quadruplicatespotting of each sample. Data shown are for five kidney tumor/normal pairs.
backgrounds will have the unique ability to detect previously
function well for samples that were apparently 10 or more fold
unappreciated gene expression differences due to sex and
different in loading per spot (Table 2). Second, when we
purposely loaded different amounts of the same samples on
Any microarray technology that utilizes printing of nucleic
a REM, we repeatedly observed sets of ratios of test gene to
acids must have a means to control for variability in printing
normalization gene that were virtually identical across cDNA
density that invariably occurs between samples. The need for
spotting densities from 200 to 800 pg/spot (Figure 8). The
controls for differential loading are one of the main limitations
same degree of reproducibility and sensitivity of gene expres-
of earlier RNA and cDNA dot blots (19). Using nylon arrays, it
sion differences detected through this multiple spotting
has been necessary to elute a first probe and rehybridize the
approach has not been previously reported for microarrays.
array with a second housekeeping gene in order to normalize
In a pilot experiment, we tested whether REMs could be
the signals for the first probe. The use of a glass printing format
eluted and re-hybridized with two new probes. We success-
and co-hybridization with two fluroescent dyes has eliminated
fully eluted the samples and re-hybridization yielded signifi-
the need for re-hybridization for REM technology.
cant signals that generally had similar ratios of test to reference
Two lines of evidence in this report support the conclusion
genes. However, the signals were reduced in intensity com-
that REMs can be accurately normalized by co-hybridization
pared to the first hybridization (data not shown). Therefore, the
with a housekeeping gene. First, we showed that cDNAs from
pilot data strongly suggest that conditions will be found that
muscle and other organs, which do not express albumin, when
will enable the re-hybridization of REMs, thus greatly extend-
normalized against Gapdh hybridization, reveal a very low
ing their usefulness.
ratio of albumin/Gapdh that is essentially equivalent to back-
Another possible expanded use of REMs includes the use of
ground (Table 2). We showed that this internal normalization
more than two labeled probes per hybridization. Theoretically,
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
the number of probes that could be hybridized simultaneously
a mixture of reference genes produced datasets that were
will only be limited to the number of fluorescence signals that
virtually indistinguishable from those of REMs hybridized
can be distinguished by a laser detector. Therefore, it may be
with only a single reference gene (Figure 7). Therefore, the
possible to simultaneously hybridize REMs with sets of probes
use of standard mixtures of reference genes can control for
that detect as many as 5–10 genes in a particular pathway,
both loading differences and small variations in expression of
The sensitivity and accuracy of REM technology was
We investigated the expression of the oncogene, MYC in the
demonstrated by the use of artificial mixtures. Data from a
SMARTTMcDNA tumor/normal pairs. Data from quadru-
prototype REM that contained standardized mixtures of a
plicate spotted samples enabled us to calculate confidence
bacterial gene, LysA into a liver cDNA showed that a specific
intervals for the ratios for each tumor and normal sample.
hybridization signal was detected when as few as four copies
Therefore, we were able to draw conclusions as to differential
of the LysA cDNA were present per liver cell cDNA equiva-
oncogene expression in the paired samples at a level of sensi-
lent. Furthermore, the LysA/Gapdh ratio increased in a near
tivity not previously possible for RNA dot blots (19). In a
linear pattern until 9000 copies per cell was reached. This
single REM containing 25 tumor/normal pairs from five
relationship was repeated whether we printed the liver
tumor types, we were able to calculate the relative MYC
cDNAs at 400 or 800 pg/spot demonstrating again the wide
expression and reach conclusions as to whether MYC was
range of the experimental sample loading for which accurate
up, down or unchanged in the whole panel of tumor samples
measurements can be obtained (Figure 4).
(Table 3). This survey serves as one example of how REM
The accuracy of the standard curve data was tested by
technology can be used in cancer research. Since thousands of
analysis of the standard mixtures with quantitative real-time
samples can be printed on a single REM, REM technology can
PCR. In this analysis, quantitative real-time PCR and REM
provide a high-throughput approach to testing candidate gene
data closely paralleled each other from samples with 4 to 9000
expression in diverse tissues and tumors.
copies of LysA per liver cell cDNA equivalent. Therefore, we
The only other array based approach designed to test sam-
conclude that REM technology is equivalent to quantitative
ples from multiple tissue types simultaneously is tissue micro-
real-time PCR over at least a 2000 to 4000-fold change of
arrays (20). These arrays contain thin sections of multiple
tissues on a microscope slide, allowing an investigator to
The SMART method has been successfully applied to the
determine gene expression using antibodies to detect protein
generation of full-length cDNA libraries (24), and as a source
in cells. Also, in situ hybridization of tissue microarrays pro-
for cDNA probes for GEMS from RNA obtained by laser
vides information on the expression of a gene in specific cell
capture microdissection (32). When we printed SMART
types. However, antibody staining and in situ hybridization are
DNAs on a REM at multiple printing densities of spotting,
not quantitative technologies and are labor intensive. Further-
the ratio of expression of test genes were nearly identical in the
more, due to the nature of the experimental approach each
range of spotting densities (Figure 7).
section cut from the tissue microarray is different from the
There has been much discussion in the literature about the
previous section. Also, these arrays are generally limited to
preservation of original RNA representation after mRNA/
fewer than one hundred samples, whereas REMs can easily
cDNA amplification. It is generally assumed that linear ampli-
accommodate thousands of samples that are spotted more than
fication is superior to exponential amplification due to biases
once for quantitative analysis.
in abundance relationships (38,39). However, this assumption
Therefore, REM Technology fulfills an important need for a
does not hold up on closer examination of the recent literature.
high-throughput, sensitive, accurate and quantitative method
Wang et al. (40) has pointed out that conventional T7-based
to measure gene expression simultaneously in multiple tissues
RNA amplification can introduce biases in the amplification
or cell types, at a time in biological research when there is a
because of a possible 50-under representation and because low
strong emphasis on quantitative expression analysis. REMs
stringency temperatures are applied during generation of the
provide a platform on which to build libraries of samples
double-stranded cDNA. SMART cDNA amplification from
that can be used to characterize specific functions of genes
total RNA was found to preserve representation of high,
in specific biological contexts. In addition to general survey
medium and low abundance mRNAs and compared favorably
REMs that contain samples from organs, tissues and cell types,
to quantitative northern-blot analysis (41). Additionally,
specialty REMs that have experimental samples designed to
SMART cDNA generated signals expressed nearly identical
ask specific questions about regulation of a gene in specific
patterns to unamplified total RNA probes upon hybridization
cellular contexts, and developmental contexts, can be designed
to 4600 arrayed genes in a GEM analysis (41).
and produced. The future content and number of specialty
It is known that genes that are generally considered to
REMs (such as liver, kidney, heart, tumor profiles, develop-
be houskeeping genes, such as Gapdh, are differentially
mental stages and gene knockout REMs) and their application
expressed under various experimental conditions. Therefore,
to biology is virtually unlimited. Therefore, we envision the
it would be advantageous to be able to utilize a mixture of
library of REMs as continuing to grow and the impact of
housekeeping genes for normalization, in order to control for
REMs on biological research to increase with time. The avail-
minor variations in any one of the genes. In this report, we
ability of REMs that have samples from classic experiments
have utilized four different normalization genes including
will provide researchers with access to relate their current
Gapdh, beta Actin, Ubiquitin and 23 kDa basic protein. In
research directly to historically validated paradigms. The
all the cases, where the same test gene was tested against
use of reference REMs designed to ask questions in the
two or more reference genes, the data were qualitatively simi-
area of toxicology and pharmaceutical research may also
lar (Figure 7). Furthermore, data from REMs hybridized with
gain use in the drug approval process. REMs can essentially
Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, Vol. 32, No. 15
‘immortalize' specific experiments that can be printed thou-
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Center for Sexual Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine Papers Are the Adverse Effects ofGlitazones Linked to InducedTestosterone Deficiency? Carruthers, M, TR Trinick, E Jankowska, AM Traish. "Are the adverse effects ofglitazones linked to induced testosterone deficiency?" Cardiovascular Diabetology7:30. (2008)http://hdl.handle.net/2144/2660Boston University
Volume 7, numéro 2 Printemps 2007 Le Centre familial de Granby… à Roxton Pond F ondé en 1953 par quelques catholi- l'aménagement d'une plage, d'emplacements de paroissiens sans moyens financiers. ques de la jeune paroisse ouvrière de camping et d'aires de jeux, ainsi que la cons- Mais c'était sans compter l'esprit de coo- Saint-Joseph, qui étaient guidés par