A Modular Analysis Framework for Blood Genomics Studies: Application to Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Gene Expression Profiling
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
The analysis of patient blood transcriptional profiles offers a means to investigate the immunological mechanisms relevant to human diseases on a genome-wide scale. In addition, such studies provide a basis for the discovery of clinically relevant biomarker signatures. We designed a strategy for microarray analysis that is based on the identification of transcriptional modules formed by genes coordinately expressed in multiple disease data sets. Mapping changes in gene expression at the module level generated disease-specific transcriptional fingerprints that provide a stable framework for the visualization and functional interpretation of microarray data. These transcriptional modules were used as a basis for the selection of biomarkers and the development of a multivariate transcriptional indicator of disease progression in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. Thus, this work describes the implementation and application of a methodology designed to support systems-scale analysis of the human immune system in translational research settings.