Identification of differences in CD4+ T-cell gene expression between people with asthma and healthy controls

Mauro Tutino, Jenny Hankinson, Clare Murray, Lesley Lowe, Gina Kerry, Magnus Rattray, Adnan Custovic, Sebastian L. Johnston, Chenfu Shi, Gisela Orozco, Stephen Eyre, Paul Martin, Angela Simpson, John A. Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Functional enrichment analysis of genome-wide association study (GWAS)-summary statistics has suggested that CD4+ T-cells play an important role in asthma pathogenesis. Despite this, CD4+ T-cells are under-represented in asthma transcriptome studies. To fill the gap, 3'-RNA-Seq was used to generate gene expression data on CD4+ T-cells (isolated within 2 h from collection) from peripheral blood from participants with well-controlled asthma (n = 32) and healthy controls (n = 11). Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis (WGCNA) was used to identify sets of co-expressed genes (modules) associated with the asthma phenotype. We identified three modules associated with asthma, which are strongly enriched for GWAS-identified asthma genes, antigen processing/presentation and immune response to viral infections. Through integration of publicly available eQTL and GWAS summary statistics (colocalisation), and protein–protein interaction (PPI) data, we identified PTPRC, a potential druggable target, as a putative master regulator of the asthma gene-expression profiles. Using a co-expression network approach, with integration of external genetic and PPI data, we showed that CD4+ T-cells from peripheral blood from asthmatics have different expression profiles, albeit small in magnitude, compared to healthy controls, for sets of genes involved in immune response to viral infections (upregulated) and antigen processing/presentation (downregulated).

Original languageEnglish
Article number22796
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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