ExonHit Therapeutics has announced the completion of a new messenger RNA (transcripts) map coming from human genome expression.
This achievement is the outcome of many years of research, including, in particular, the discovery of alternative splicing events, key components of transcriptome diversity (set of expressed genes).
Until now, the tools available to the biomedical research community only allowed the detection of a limited number of these transcripts. ExonHit's new human genome map will allow the scientific community to characterize, rapidly and easily, transcripts expressed from genes of their choice.
From a set of approximately 22,000 human genes and the most recent sequence databases, ExonHit researchers have identified all of the splicing events present in these databases. These scientists then established an innovative probe set configuration for microarrays which has been patented in the USA and in Europe. Two million probes are thus established to track all specific expression transcripts known to date and to identify new ones. These results confirm the high incidence of alternative splicing in the human genome. In 2000, the scientific community had found that 40% of genes express on average 3 transcripts each. Today we know that 80% of genes are affected by splicing, expressing on average over 6 transcripts each.
Alternative RNA splicing is a key step in regulating genome expression and controlling the function of proteins; it explains the significant difference between the number of genes and the much greater variety of proteins which can be observed in human cells. Alternative splicing events can be the cause of diseases, or can occur following an attack (virus, bacteria, pollutants...) or drug administration.
"Spectacular progress has been made over the last 15 years in the field of human genome research. I am very pleased that, following the international community's work to sequence the human genome, ExonHit has completed this new task in the analysis of gene expression. The tools developed will open new doors for public research programmes and will bring new therapeutic targets for the pharmaceutical industry," said Professor Pierre Chambon, Director of the Strasbourg Genopole, France, and Honorary Professor at the College de France.
"This achievement is a new milestone following our other outstanding accomplishments in the field of genomics," declared Bruno Tocque, CEO of ExonHit Therapeutics. "It is a great achievement for ExonHit, because applications from this work will allow us to increase our presence in our key markets, drug discovery and diagnostics as well as in different areas of genomic research."