Analysis of gene and protein expression in healthy and carious tooth pulp with cDNA microarray and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis
Complementary DNA (cDNA) microarray and two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis, combined with mass spectrometry, enable simultaneous analysis of expression patterns of thousands of genes, but their use in pulp biology has been limited. Here we compared gene and protein expression of pulp tissues from sound and carious human teeth using cDNA microarray and 2-D gel electrophoresis to evaluate their usefulness in pulp biology research and to identify the genes with changes in carious teeth. The cDNA microarray revealed several differentially expressed genes and genes with a high expression in both tissues. These genes have various functions, e.g. effects on vascular and nerve structures, inflammation, and cell differentiation. Variability between cDNA hybridizations indicates that the overall gene expression pattern may vary significantly between individual teeth. The 2-D gel electrophoresis revealed no change between healthy and diseased tissue. The identification of 96 proteins in the pulp tissue revealed none of the gene products with corresponding high/different mRNA expression in cDNA microarray. Interestingly, we detected also a hypothetical protein (putative nucleoside diphosphate kinase), and present therefore the first evidence for the existence of this protein. Even though the methods reveal potentially important gene expression, they may currently have only limited value in in vivo pulp biology research.
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