- Much of the knowledge about cell differentiation and function in the immune system has come from studies in mice, but the relevance to human immunology, diseases, and therapy has been challenged, perhaps more from anecdotal than comprehensive evidence. To this end, we compare two large compendia of transcriptional profiles of human and mouse immune cell types. Global transcription profiles are conserved between corresponding cell lineages. The expression patterns of most orthologous genes are conserved, particularly for lineage-specific genes. However, several hundred genes show clearly divergent expression across the examined cell lineages, and among them, 169 genes did so even with highly stringent criteria. Finally, regulatory mechanisms-reflected by regulators' differential expression or enriched cis-elements-are conserved between the species but to a lower degree, suggesting that distinct regulation may underlie some of the conserved transcriptional responses.