The current RIKEN transcript set represents a significant proportion of the mouse transcriptome but transcripts expressed in the innate and acquired immune systems are poorly represented. In the present study we have assessed the complexity of the transcriptome expressed in mouse macrophages before and after treatment with lipopolysaccharide, a global regulator of macrophage gene expression, using existing RIKEN 19K arrays. By comparison to array profiles of other cells and tissues, we identify a large set of macrophage-enriched genes, many of which have obvious functions in endocytosis and phagocytosis. In addition, a significant number of LPS-inducible genes were identified. The data suggest that macrophages are a complex source of mRNA for transcriptome studies. To assess complexity and identify additional macrophage expressed genes, cDNA libraries were created from purified populations of macrophage and dendritic cells, a functionally related cell type. Sequence analysis revealed a high incidence of novel mRNAs within these cDNA libraries. These studies provide insights into the depths of transcriptional complexity still untapped amongst products of inducible genes, and identify macrophage and dendritic cell populations as a starting point for sampling the inducible mammalian transcriptome.
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