On behalf of the Organizing Committee, it is our pleasure to invite you to the FEBS Advanced Practical Course on Gene Expression Regulation and Data Integration.
Background and importance
Global gene expression profiling is a discovery driven approach to address complex biological questions, such as cellular differentiation or transformation, response to environmental stimuli (including therapeutical responses), disease classification and prognosis, just to name a few. Microarrays or next generation sequencing (RNAseq) can provide transcriptomics data, which, together with gene regulation studies, such as ChIP-on-chip or microRNA target validation, elucidate the molecular and regulatory networks of different cellular events. This means that for succesful large scale gene expression studies researchers must have a good understanding, and preferably hands-on experience of primary data analysis for different technological platforms. In addition, expanding the data mining process to integrated analysis of results (generated by different platforms or by independent studies) is inevitable for putting the results in a meaningful biological context.
For this course, we selected in vitro adipocyte differentiation as our model system. Adipose tissue maintains an intense communication with other tissues in the body to regulate the energy homeostasis. Obesity has been associated with a number of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases; therefore, not surprisingly, adipogenesis is a focus of intensive research both for the academy and for the pharmaceutical industry. Although the picture is far from complete, global expression studies had a major role in identifying the key players and pathways for adipocyte differentiation; to date, more than 20 such studies have been completed.
The main goal of the course is to provide a solid basis to initiate large-scale gene expression studies - for senior PhD students or postdoctoral fellows having minimal experience with such projects. The course will cover the major steps of gene expression studies, from start to finish, although special emphasis will be given to data analysis. The course will familiarize the participants with the well-established murine 3T3-L1 system for modeling in vitro adipocyte differentiation. Students will isolate RNA from cell cultures, perform reverse transcription and set up real-time quantitative PCR experiments for mRNA and miRNA expression analyses. Global expression profiling will be performed by the students on Affymetrix platform, whereas next generation RNA sequencing will be introduced through lectures, and RNAseq data will be provided for analysis. About 50% of course time will be allocated to data analysis. Students will be guided through primary data analysis for real-time quantitative PCR, Affymetrix expression arrays, and RNAseq. Lastly, results generated by the different platforms will be incorporated in integrated data analysis.
Bálint László Bálint