Under the umbrella of GenePaint, scientists have access to the world’s first comprehensive overview of the spatial and temporal activity of all known genes (gene expression) of an entire mammalian organism at any given moment in its development on the example of the mouse genome. By means of this data, it is possible, for example, to determine candidate genes for genetic and complex diseases. One of the project’s long-term goals is to build a European online service, “European Database of Gene Expression“.
The results of the completed European project EURExpress have been incorporated in the GenePaint platform. The project had the objective of creating a high-resolution anatomic atlas of the transcriptome of the mouse embryo (transcriptome = The sum of all genes of a cell transcribed from DNA in RNA. The RNA processes the genetic information into proteins). For this purpose, the first step was to create a large number of tissue sections from mouse embryos in various locations in Europe, and to make thousands of genes visible using molecular biological methods. The activity of 18,000 genes and 400 microRNAs, 1,420 anatomic structures and 1,002 marker genes
The internet-based expression atlas METscout for the mouse genome (mapping of the genomes’ activity) was created as part of the project EURExpress. METscout allows the exploration of the metabolism based on the gene expression atlas. Using the web application, metabolic processes can be examined throughout their course of development. Solute carriers (SLC; transport proteins which carry solutes inside and outside of cells or to other locations in the organism), for example, can be observed as they transport an enzyme or carbohydrate from one organ to another.
The GenePaint platform provides a virtual microscope (high definition zoom). This Zoom Viewer offers scientists the opportunity to view the image data at a high resolution, approximately the same as the original.
The GWDG operates the servers and handels the conversion, provision and saving of the image data in the archive, as well as user administration.
GenePaint is a project and website offered by the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. The GWDG is responsible for technical support.
The EURExpress consortium was an international group of scientists from twelve European research facilities. The project had been initiated by Professor Dr. Gregor Eichele, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen.
Responsible for the project coordination was TIGEM, Instituto di Genetica e Medicina, Naples, Italy.
URExpress: European Union, 6th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development.
GenePaint: Collaboration Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Genes and Behavior, and GWDG.