Uncovering functionally relevant signaling pathways using microarray-based expression profiling

D. P. Harkin, Denis Harkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The introduction of microarray technology to the scientific and medical communities has fundamentally altered the way in which we now address basic biomedical questions. Microarrays technology facilitates a more complete and inclusive experimental approach where alterations in the transcript level of entire genomes can be simultaneously assayed in response to a variety of stimuli. Conceptually different approaches to the development of microarray technology have resulted in the generation of two different array formats: oligonucleotide arrays and cDNA arrays. The application of microarray and related technologies to identify specific targets of defined genes that have clearly been implicated in cancer progression requires a specific experimental approach. The objective of tiffs approach is to define changes in transcriptional profile that occur in response to modulating the expression level of the gene to be studied. The resulting altered expression profile can then be viewed as a blueprint by which that gene effects its cellular function. We have used oligonucleotide array-based expression profiling in collaboration with Affymetrix to identify downstream transcriptional targets of the BRCA1 tumor-suppressor gene as a means of defining its function. BRCA1 has been implicated in at least three functional pathways, namely, mediating the cellular response to DNA damage, as a cell cycle checkpoint protein and in the regulation of transcription. The physiological significance of these properties and their implications for the function of BRCA1 as a tumor-suppressor gene remain to be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages7
JournalThe Oncologist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Genes, BRCA1
  • Humans
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology


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