The identification of differential gene expression between cells is a frequent goal in modern biological research. Here we demonstrate the coupling of representational difference analysis (RDA) of cDNA with microarray analysis of the output for high throughput screening. Two primary Ewing's sarcoma tissue samples with different biological behavior in vivo were compared by RDA: one which was metastatic and progressed rapidly; the other localized and successfully treated. A modified RDA protocol that minimizes the necessary starting material was employed. After a reduced number of subtractive rounds, the output of RDA was shotgun cloned into a plasmid vector. Inserts from individual colonies from the subtracted library were amplified with vector-specific primers and arrayed at high density on glass slides. The arrays were then hybridized with differentially fluorescently labeled starting amplicons from the two tissues and fluorescent signals were measured at each DNA spot. We show that the relative amounts of fluorescent signal correlate well with the abundance of fragments in the RDA amplicon and in the starting mRNA. In our system, we analyzed 192 products and 173 (90%) were appropriately detected as being > 2-fold differentially expressed. Fifty unique, differentially expressed clones were identified. Therefore, the use of RDA essentially provides an enriched library of differentially expressed genes, while analysis of this library with microarrays allows rapid and reproducible screening of thousands of DNA molecules simultaneously. The coupling of these two techniques in this system resulted in a large pool of differentially expressed genes.
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