Invading pathogens trigger specific host responses, an understanding of which might identify genes that function in pathogen recognition and elimination. In this study, we performed trans-species expression quantitative trait locus (ts-eQTL) analysis using genotypes of the Plasmodium yoelii malaria parasite and phenotypes of mouse gene expression. We significantly linked 1,054 host genes to parasite genetic loci (LOD score R 3.0). Using LOD score patterns, which produced results that differed from direct expression-level clustering, we grouped host genes that function in related pathways, allowing functional prediction of unknown genes. As a proof of principle, 14 of 15 randomly selected genes predicted to function in type I interferon (IFN-I) responses were experimentally validated using overexpression, small hairpin RNA knockdown, viral infection, and/or infection of knockout mice. This study demonstrates an effective strategy for studying gene function, establishes a functional gene database, and identifies regulators in IFN-I pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)