Jun 10, 2016

Thanatotranscriptome: genes actively expressed after organismal death

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Alexander E PozhitkovPeter Anthony Noble

Abstract

A continuing enigma in the study of biological systems is what happens to highly ordered structures, far from equilibrium, when their regulatory systems suddenly become disabled. In life, genetic and epigenetic networks precisely coordinate the expression of genes -- but in death, it is not known if gene expression diminishes gradually or abruptly stops or if specific genes are involved. We investigated the unwinding of the clock by identifying upregulated genes, assessing their functions, and comparing their transcriptional profiles through postmortem time in two species, mouse and zebrafish. We found transcriptional abundance profiles of 1,063 genes were significantly changed after death of healthy adult animals in a time series spanning from life to 48 or 96 h postmortem. Ordination plots revealed non-random patterns in profiles by time. While most thanatotranscriptome (thanatos-, Greek defn. death) transcript levels increased within 0.5 h postmortem, some increased only at 24 and 48 h. Functional characterization of the most abundant transcripts revealed the following categories: stress, immunity, inflammation, apoptosis, transport, development, epigenetic regulation, and cancer. The increase of transcript abundance was pre...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Nucleosomes
Genes
Autopsy
Transcription, Genetic
Cessation of Life
Nucleosome Location
Gene Expression
Study of Epigenetics
Apoptosis

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