About our work
NEIBank is project for producing, organizing and disseminating genomics resources and expression and sequence data for eye research. Collaborators from many institutions have contributed freshly dissected tissues for cDNA libraries of many eye tissues from many species. These are used for high throughput sequencing. Analyzed data are displayed in the website, submitted to GenBank and described in peer-reviewed publications. Clones are made available through OpenBiosystems. Eye-related data from other sources are also gathered and displayed through the website. Researchers throughout the world visit the website and cite NEIBank in publications.
Key features of NEIBank include:
- Sequence and expression data for human eye tissues and for a wide range of important animal models including mouse and zebrafish.
- A cDNA library comparison tool that compares two libraries (within a species or between species for which homologous gene data available) side by side with frequency of expression of each gene. This can help identify major differences or similarities among tissues.
- SAGE gene expression data for human retina and RPE through EyeSAGE, a collaboration with researchers at Duke University.
- Human eye disease database that includes all genes that have known associations with human eye-related disease with links to OMIM, Entrez, SNP and other databases.
- A database of mapped regions of the human genome containing as yet unidentified disease genes.
- EyeBrowse, an eye-centric whole genome browser that integrates all the data on cDNA and expression data as well as disease genes and candidate disease gene regions available for human, mouse, rat, chicken, zebrafish and several other species. It gives a rapid overview of expression patterns for particular genes; shows available clones; identifies variant transcripts; allows display of expression patterns for candidate genes in defined gene linkage loci.
NEIBank also includes yeast 2-hybrid libraries for adult mouse lens and retina and for adult human retina and RPE/choroid. These are being used to search for protein interactions involved in age related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as in normal lens and retina function and have been shared with several other groups.
NEIBank clones and sequence data have been used to construct cDNA microarrays for eye expressed genes from human and mouse and an oligo-based array for rabbit (at the University of Florida). A project to collect data for a similar microarray for studies of cone-cell function in the ground squirrel is underway.
The data from NEIBank are a rich source for gene discovery and for insights into species and tissue comparisons. Recent examples of this include the following:
- Discovery of many novel genes, including retbindin (an abundant, novel component of human retina), lengsin (a marker for terminal differentiation in lens cells) and PDGFD (a growth factor related to the PDGF and VEGF families).
- Identification of tissue and disease specific markers in human keratoconus cornea.
- Analysis of human pterygium showing characteristics of both conjunctiva and corneal epithelium, with makers for the former predominating. Potential targets for therapeutic intervention have been identified.