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Logo of bmcgenoBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Genomics
BMC Genomics. 2009; 10: 100.
Published online Mar 6, 2009. doi:  10.1186/1471-2164-10-100
PMCID: PMC2657154
An integrated approach for the systematic identification and characterization of heart-enriched genes with unknown functions
Shizuka Uchida,#1 André Schneider,#1 Marion Wiesnet,1 Benno Jungblut,1 Polina Zarjitskaya,1 Katharina Jenniches,1 Karsten grosse Kreymborg,1,2 Werner Seeger,1,2 and Thomas Brauncorresponding author1
1Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Parkstr. 1, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany
2University of Giessen Lung Center (UGLC), Medical Clinic II and V, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Klinikstrasse 36, 35392 Giessen, Germany
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
#Contributed equally.
Shizuka Uchida: Shizuka.Uchida/at/; André Schneider: Andre.Schneider/at/; Marion Wiesnet: Marion.Wiesnet/at/; Benno Jungblut: Benno.Jungblut/at/; Polina Zarjitskaya: Polina.Zarjitskaya/at/; Katharina Jenniches: Katharina.Jenniches/at/; Karsten grosse Kreymborg: grosse.Kreymborg/at/; Werner Seeger: Werner.Seeger/at/; Thomas Braun: Thomas.Braun/at/
Received November 3, 2008; Accepted March 6, 2009.
High throughput techniques have generated a huge set of biological data, which are deposited in various databases. Efficient exploitation of these databases is often hampered by a lack of appropriate tools, which allow easy and reliable identification of genes that miss functional characterization but are correlated with specific biological conditions (e.g. organotypic expression).
We have developed a simple algorithm (DGSA = Database-dependent Gene Selection and Analysis) to identify genes with unknown functions involved in organ development concentrating on the heart. Using our approach, we identified a large number of yet uncharacterized genes, which are expressed during heart development. An initial functional characterization of genes by loss-of-function analysis employing morpholino injections into zebrafish embryos disclosed severe developmental defects indicating a decisive function of selected genes for developmental processes.
We conclude that DGSA is a versatile tool for database mining allowing efficient selection of uncharacterized genes for functional analysis.
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