Definition of a family of tissue-protective cytokines using functional cluster analysis: a proof-of-concept study

Mengozzi, Manuela, Ermilov, Peter, Annenkov, Alexander, Ghezzi, Pietro and Pearl, Frances (2014) Definition of a family of tissue-protective cytokines using functional cluster analysis: a proof-of-concept study. Frontiers in immunology, 5 (115). pp. 1-7. ISSN 1664-3224

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The discovery of the tissue-protective activities of erythropoietin (EPO) has underlined the importance of some cytokines in tissue-protection, repair, and remodeling. As such activities have been reported for other cytokines, we asked whether we could define a class of tissue-protective cytokines. We therefore explored a novel approach based on functional clustering. In this pilot study, we started by analyzing a small number of cytokines (30). We functionally classified the 30 cytokines according to their interactions by using the bioinformatics tool STRING (Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes), followed by hierarchical cluster analysis. The results of this functional clustering were different from those obtained by clustering cytokines simply according to their sequence. We previously reported that the protective activity of EPO in a model of cerebral ischemia was paralleled by an upregulation of synaptic plasticity genes, particularly early growth response 2 (EGR2). To assess the predictivity of functional clustering, we tested some of the cytokines clustering close to EPO (interleukin-11, IL-11; kit ligand, KITLG; leukemia inhibitory factor, LIF; thrombopoietin, THPO) in an in vitro model of human neuronal cells for their ability to induce EGR2. Two of these, LIF and IL-11, induced EGR2 expression. Although these data would need to be extended to a larger number of cytokines and the biological validation should be done using more robust in vivo models, rather then just one cell line, this study shows the feasibility of this approach. This type of functional cluster analysis could be extended to other fields of cytokine research and help design biological experiments.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: cytokines, bioinformatics, cluster analysis, neuroprotection, tissue-protection, EGR2, early genes, repair
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Patricia Butler
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 12:07
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2017 18:26

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