Life and death: a systematic comparison of antemortem and postmortem gene expression.

07:00 EST 11th January 2020 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Life and death: a systematic comparison of antemortem and postmortem gene expression."

Gene expression is the process by which DNA is decoded to produce a functional transcript. The collection of all transcripts is referred to as the transcriptome and has extensively been used to evaluate differentially expressed genes in a certain cell or tissue type. In response to internal or external stimuli, the transcriptome is greatly regulated by epigenetic changes. Many studies have elucidated that antemortem gene expression (transcriptome) may be linked to an array of disease etiologies as well as potential targets for drug discovery; on the other hand, a number of studies have utilized postmortem gene expression (thanatotranscriptome) patterns to determine cause and time of death. The "transcriptome after death" involves the study of mRNA transcripts occurring in human tissues after death (thanatos, Greek for death). While antemortem gene expression can provide a wide range of important information about the host, the determination of the communication of genes after a human dies has recently been explored. After death a plethora of genes are regulated via activation versus repression as well as diverse regulatory factors such as the absence or presence of stimulated feedback. Even postmortem transcriptional regulation contains many more cellular constituents and is massively more complicated. The rates of degradation of mRNA transcripts vary depending on the types of postmortem tissues and their combinatorial gene expression signatures. mRNA molecules have been shown to persist for extended time frames; nevertheless, they are highly susceptible to degradation, with half-lives of selected mRNAs varying between minutes to weeks for specifically induced genes. Furthermore, postmortem genetic studies may be used to improve organ transplantation techniques. This review is the first of its kind to fully explore both gene expression and mRNA stability after death and the trove of information that can be provided about phenotypical characteristics of specific genes postmortem.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Gene
ISSN: 1879-0038
Pages: 144349


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Physiological changes that occur in bodies after death.

The systematic study of the global gene expression changes due to EPIGENETIC PROCESSES and not due to DNA base sequence changes.

The expression of a gene in an abnormal place, or at an abnormal time in an organism. Ectopic Gene Expression is often induced artificially by genetic techniques.

A form of gene interaction whereby the expression of one gene interferes with or masks the expression of a different gene or genes. Genes whose expression interferes with or masks the effects of other genes are said to be epistatic to the effected genes. Genes whose expression is affected (blocked or masked) are hypostatic to the interfering genes.

The vital life force in the body, supposedly able to be regulated by acupuncture. It corresponds roughly to the Greek pneuma, the Latin spiritus, and the ancient Indian prana. The concept of life-breath or vital energy was formulated as an indication of the awareness of man, originally directed externally toward nature or society but later turned inward to the self or life within. (From Comparison between Concepts of Life-Breath in East and West, 15th International Symposium on the Comparative History of Medicine - East and West, August 26-September 3, 1990, Shizuoka, Japan, pp. ix-x)

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