Using CD4 T cells from a subset of subjects from a large longitudinal study conducted at UCSF (the UCSF EPIC Study ) we have identified transcriptional signatures predictive of future disease activity (Corvol et al. PNAS; 2008). In particular, the expression of the tumor suppressor gene TOB1 was 7-fold downregulated in a subset of patients, an event which correlated with subsequent disease activity. Functional studies with Tob1 (described below) are underway. With funding from the National MS society (NMSS), we recently completed profiling more than 800 samples from the EPIC study with AffymetrixTM Exon arrays.
|Molecular classification of MS patients. Transcriptional activity profiling differentiates early MS patients (CIS) from controls (purple circles). Furthermore, several classes of patients can be identified. Those depicted in blue are more likely to progress to clinically definite MS.|