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Large-Scale Analysis of Gene Expression and Connectivity in the Rodent Brain: Insights through Data Integration French, Leon; Tan, Powell Patrick Cheng; Pavlidis, Paul


Recent research in C. elegans and the rodent has identified correlations between gene expression and connectivity. Here we extend this type of approach to examine complex patterns of gene expression in the rodent brain in the context of regional brain connectivity and differences in cellular populations. Using multiple large-scale data sets obtained from public sources, we identified two novel patterns of mouse brain gene expression showing a strong degree of anti-correlation, and relate this to multiple data modalities including macroscale connectivity. We found that these signatures are associated with differences in expression of neuronal and oligodendrocyte markers, suggesting they reflect regional differences in cellular populations. We also find that the expression level of these genes is correlated with connectivity degree, with regions expressing the neuron-enriched pattern having more incoming and outgoing connections with other regions. Our results exemplify what is possible when increasingly detailed large-scale cell- and gene-level data sets are integrated with connectivity data.

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