To detect which gene sets or biological pathways are differentially over-represented in progressive (L-lep) versus
self-limited (T-lep) infection, which might be particularly relevant to disease pathogenesis, we re-analysed our existing gene expression profile data, obtained from L-lep and T-lep skin lesions10 using knowledge-guided bioinformatic analysis and incorporating data on likely Trichostatin A solubility dmso biological functions, including gene ontology information and regulatory data (Ingenuity® Systems, http://www.ingenuity.com) (Figs 1 and 2). Within the top 15 canonical pathways (Fig. 1a) and the top 20 functional groups (Fig. 2a) that were represented in genes expressed in L-lep versus T-lep, we identified a number of B-cell-related genes that belonged to the canonical pathway, B-cell receptor signalling and the functional groups, ‘proliferation
of B lymphocytes’ and ‘quantity of B lymphocytes’. Pathways analysis of comparatively increased genes expressed in T-lep versus L-lep lesions revealed no B-cell functional groups or pathways (Figs 1b and 2b). Further investigation of pathways involving B cells revealed a number of functional Lumacaftor purchase groups involving genes related to B cells and their function (Fig. 3). In addition, the second highest biological function in the category of ‘physiological system development and function’ was identified as ‘Humoral Immune Response’. In summary, the bioinformatics analysis of L-lep versus T-lep lesions according to biological pathways revealed the differential expression of genes involved with B-cell function at the site of disease, suggesting a role for B cells and immunoglobulins in progressive infection with M. leprae. To further investigate the role of B cells in progressive infection, we focused our
attention on the immunoglobulins. A search for all immunoglobulin genes revealed the differentially increased expression of IGHM (IgM, fold change = 4.9, P < 0.05), IGHG1 (IgG1, fold change = 9.7, P < 0.05) and IGHA1/IGHA2 (IgA, fold change = 4.6, P < 0.05) in L-lep versus T-lep lesions. Furthermore, IGBP1, the immunoglobulin-binding protein 1 (CD79A) gene, which associates with the B-cell receptor complex, was also increased in expression (fold change Sorafenib 1·6, P < 0·05). To identify potential pathways for increased IgM, we explored the relationships contained within the Ingenuity knowledge base between all B-cell genes (Fig. 3) that were comparatively increased in expression in L-lep versus T-lep lesions and IGHM (Fig. 4). Of all the genes with a first-level interaction with IGHM, only IL5 has been reported to induce IGHM expression. Therefore, the pathways analysis of genes differentially expressed in leprosy lesions according to biological pathways revealed the up-regulation and interaction between IGHM and IL5, providing a potential pathway to explain the increased IgM expression observed in L-lep skin lesions.