Housekeeping Genes


Housekeeping genes are those genes that encode proteins that carry out basic cellular maintenance functions and are required for cell survival and successful completion of the cell cycle.

Keywords: cellular maintenance genes; endogenous reference standards; control genes; internal control genes; gene function

Figure 1.

Group A: examples of housekeeping genes whose expression levels are similar, (less than 2‐fold different) in various tissue types. Group B: examples of housekeeping genes whose expression levels differ by greater than 2‐fold across a variety of tissue types.

Figure 2.

Percentage of housekeeping genes in relation to the total number of genes mapped to each chromosome.


Further Reading

Alberts B, Bray D, Lewis J, et al. (1994) Molecular Biology of the Cell, 3rd edn, chaps 6, 9 and 15. London: Garland Publishing.

De Cock JGR, Klink EC, Ferro W, Lohman PHM and Eeken JCJ (1991) Repair of UV induced pyrimidine dimers in the individual genes Gart, Notch and White from Drosophila melanogaster cell lines. Nucleic Acids Research 19(1–2): 3289–3294.

Fodor SPA, Read JL, Pirrung MC, et al. (1991) Light‐directed, spatially addressable parallel chemical synthesis. Science 251: 713–844.

Gorzelniak K, Janke J, Engeli S and Sharma AM (2001) Validation of endogenous controls for gene expression studies in human adipocytes and preadipocytes. Hormone and Metabolism Research 33: 625–627.

Hamalainen HK, Tubman JC, Vikman S, et al. (2001) Identification and validation of endogenous reference genes for expression profiling of T helper cell differentiation by quantitative real‐time RT‐PCR. Analytical Biochemistry 299(1): 63–70.

Hsiao LL, Dangond F, Yoshida T, et al. (2001) A compendium of gene expression in normal human tissues reveals tissue‐selective genes and distinct expression patterns of housekeeping genes. Physiological Genomics 7: 97–104.

Lehninger AL, Nelson DL and Cox MM (1993) Regulation of gene expression. In: Principles of Biochemistry, 2nd edn, pp 400–445. New York: Worth Publishers.

Lockhart DJ, Dong H, Byrne MC, et al. (1996) Expression monitoring by hybridization to high‐density oligonucleotide arrays. Nature Biotechnology 14: 131675–131680.

Mullenders LH, Vrieling H, Venema J and van Zeeland AA (1991) Hierarchies of DNA repair in mammalian cells: biological consequences. Mutation Research 250(12): 223–228.

Neidhardt CF (ed) (1996) Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Washington DC: ASM Press.

Schena M, Shalon D, Davis RW and Brown PO (1995) Quantitative monitoring of gene expression patterns with a complementary DNA microarray. Science 270: 467–470.

Velculescu VE, Zhang L, Vogelstein B and Kinzler KW (1995) Serial analysis of gene expression. Science 270: 484–487.

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Mahadevappa, Mamatha, and Warrington, Janet A(Mar 2003) Housekeeping Genes. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000846]