Cell type-specific transcriptome profiling in mammalian brains.

A mammalian brain contains numerous types of cells. Advances in neuroscience in the past decade allow us to identify and isolate neural cells of interest from mammalian brains. Recent developments in high-throughput technologies, such as microarrays and next-generation sequencing (NGS), provide detailed information on gene expression in pooled cells on a genomic scale. As a result, many novel genes have been found critical in cell type-specific transcriptional regulation. These differentially expressed genes can be used as molecular signatures, unique to a particular class of neural cells. Use of this gene expression-based approach can further differentiate neural cell types into subtypes, potentially linking some of them with neurological diseases. In this article, experimental techniques used to purify neural cells are described, followed by a review on recent microarray- or NGS-based transcriptomic studies of common neural cell types. The future prospects of cell type-specific research are also discussed.

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