Stem Cell Genome Anatomy Project Website
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) established the Adult Hematopoietic Cell Lineage Genome Anatomy Projects (HCLGAP) in September 2002 for the purpose of identifying the gene expression profiles of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and other cells in the hematopoietic lineage in health and disease. The goals of the projects are as follows:
- Develop the necessary biological procedures and reagents for characterization of cells of the hematopoietic lineage (HCL)
- Characterize gene expression patterns in these cells using advanced technologies and bioinformatics techniques.
The Human Genome Project and similar work in other species have made it possible to address in new ways important biological problems such as how small founder populations of stem cells differentiate into mature blood cell types and what the effects of age and disease have on this capacity. Elucidation of the mechanism by which stem cell self-renew offers the promise of providing a complete understanding of the factors that maintain normal tissues in health and the promise for novel approaches to the study of pathogenesis and treatment of human diseases. Recent advances suggest that some of these mechanisms are shared among stem cells of different tissues. Therefore, the results of these projects will accelerate progress toward identification and characterization of stem and progenitor cells and factors that regulate self-renewal, development, and differentiation during hematopoiesis, and organogenesis in general.
A Working Group of the NIDDK National Advisory Council developed strategic plans for several crosscutting areas of research, including Stem Cell and Developmental Biology www.niddk.nih.gov/federal/planning/stemcell.htm). The primary recommendation of this group was that NIDDK should catalyze a nationwide effort to characterize the molecular and cellular features of stem cells during and following development of the pancreas, liver, stomach and intestine, kidney and GU tract, bone, and hematopoietic tissues.
The goal of this effort is to provide entirely new strategies for repairing or replacing damaged tissues or organs in people of all ages and to gain new insights into pathologic processes underlying disordered development, disordered maintenance, and neoplastic transformation of these tissues or organs.
As a result of the recommendations of the Working Group, the NIDDK has established Genome Anatomy Projects (GAPs) to accelerate the pace of discovery of genes expressed in specific tissues, to foster the development of national networks of laboratories that characterize tissue-specific gene expression and identify novel transcripts, and to elucidate patterns of gene expression that lend insight into developmental programs and disease progression, and that may eventually be useful in diagnosis and treatment of disease. The bioinformatics systems associated with each GAP ensure that all of the data produced is available to researchers worldwide soon after it is generated in the laboratory.
HCLGAP ( http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DK-02-018.html) supports characterization of HSCs and HSC cell lines at multiple stages of differentiation, determination of gene expression patterns in those cells, and development of appropriate functional genomics tools to characterize the genes expressed. In addition, this resource provides bioinformatics links to existing NIH-supported genomics databases and make relevant biomarkers and genomics tools available to be used by researchers investigating both normal and diseased tissue. Close collaboration will be maintained with related NIDDK GAPs that are characterizing the genome anatomy of the gastrointestinal epithelium, liver, and kidney and urologic tissues, including prostate and bladder (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-DK-02-027.html).