The Impact of “Omic” and Imaging Technologies on Assessing the Host Immune Response to Biodefence Agents
The Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) is one of the most extensively used animal models to study infectious diseases. However, despite its tremendous contribution towards understanding the establishment, progression and control of a number of diseases in general and tuberculosis in particular, the lack of fully annotated guinea pig genome sequence as well as appropriate molecular reagents has severely hampered detailed genetic and immunological analysis in this animal model. By employing the cross-species hybridization technique, we have developed an oligonucleotide microarray with 44,000 features assembled from different mammalian species, which to the best of our knowledge is the first attempt to employ microarray to study the global gene expression profile in guinea pigs. To validate and demonstrate the merit of this microarray, we have studied, as an example, the expression profile of guinea pig lungs during the advanced phase of M. tuberculosis infection. A significant upregulation of 1344 genes and a marked down regulation of 1856 genes in the lungs identified a disease signature of pulmonary tuberculosis infection. We report the development of first comprehensive microarray for studying the global gene expression profile in guinea pigs and validation of its usefulness with tuberculosis as a case study. An important gap in the area of infectious diseases has been addressed and a valuable molecular tool is provided to optimally harness the potential of guinea pig model to develop better vaccines and therapies against human diseases.