Thanatotranscriptome: genes actively expressed after organismal death

Cuando una persona muere, clinicamente, cesan sus funciones biológicas. Asimismo, las señales externas (pulso, respiración, conciencia) se extinguen. Pero se acaba de publicar un trabajo realizado por un equipo dirigido por el Prof. Peter Noble de la Universidad de Washington, en Seattle, donde se demuestra, después del análisis del “thanatotranscriptoma” que hay genes que se siguen expresando después de haberse apagado las señales externas.
Alex E. Pozhitkov, Rafik Neme, Tomislav Domazet-Lošo, Brian G. Leroux, Shivani Soni, Diethard Tautz, and Peter A. Noble
Practical implications
The postmortem upregulation of genes in the mouse has relevance to transplantation
research. We observed clear qualitative and quantitative differences between two organs
(liver and brain) in the mouse in their degradation profiles (Fig 1). We also showed the
upregulation of immunity, inflammation and cancer genes within 1 h of death (Fig 11). It
would be interesting to explore if these differences are comparable to what occurs in humans, and we wonder how much of the transplant success could be attributed to differences in the synchronicity of postmortem expression profiles rather than
immunosuppression agents. Our study provides an alternative perspective tothe fate of transplant recipients due to the upregulation of regulatory and response genes,after the sample has been harvested from the donor.
This is the first study to demonstrate active, long-term expression of genes in organismal
death that raisesinteresting questions relative to transplantology, inflammation, cancer,
evolution, and molecular biology.

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