Bystrykh L, Weersing E, Dontje B, Sutton S, Pletcher MT, Wiltshire T, Su AI, Vellenga E, Wang J, Manly KF, Lu L, Chesler EJ, Alberts R, Jansen RC, Williams RW, Cooke MP, de Haan G
Nat. Genet. 2005 Mar;37(3):225-32
We combined large-scale mRNA expression analysis and gene mapping to identify genes and loci that control hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function. We measured mRNA expression levels in purified HSCs isolated from a panel of densely genotyped recombinant inbred mouse strains. We mapped quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with variation in expression of thousands of transcripts. By comparing the physical transcript position with the location of the controlling QTL, we identified polymorphic cis-acting stem cell genes. We also identified multiple trans-acting control loci that modify expression of large numbers of genes. These groups of coregulated transcripts identify pathways that specify variation in stem cells. We illustrate this concept with the identification of candidate genes involved with HSC turnover. We compared expression QTLs in HSCs and brain from the same mice and identified both shared and tissue-specific QTLs. Our data are accessible through WebQTL, a web-based interface that allows custom genetic linkage analysis and identification of coregulated transcripts.