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1.  Cthrc1, a Novel Circulating Hormone Regulating Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47142.
Background
We discovered the gene Collagen Triple Helix Repeat Containing 1 (Cthrc1) and reported its developmental expression and induction in adventitial cells of injured arteries and dermal cells of skin wounds. The role of Cthrc1 in normal adult tissues has not yet been determined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We generated mutant mice with a novel Cthrc1 null allele by homologues recombination. Cthrc1 null mice appeared developmentally normal. On the C57BL/6J background, livers from Cthrc1 null mice accumulated vast quantities of lipid, leading to extensive macrovesicular steatosis. Glycogen levels in skeletal muscle and liver of Cthrc1 null mice on the 129S6/SvEv background were significantly increased. However, Cthrc1 expression is not detectable in these tissues in wild-type mice, suggesting that the lipid and glycogen storage phenotype may be a secondary effect due to loss of Cthrc1 production at a distant site. To investigate potential hormonal functions of Cthrc1, tissues from adult mice and pigs were examined for Cthrc1 expression by immunohistochemistry with monoclonal anti-Cthrc1 antibodies. In pigs, Cthrc1 was detected around chromophobe cells of the anterior pituitary, and storage of Cthrc1 was observed in colloid-filled follicles and the pituitary cleft. Pituitary follicles have been observed in numerous vertebrates including humans but none of the known pituitary hormones have hitherto been detected in them. In C57BL/6J mice, however, Cthrc1 was predominantly expressed in the paraventricular and supraoptic nucleus of the hypothalamus but not in the posterior pituitary. In human plasma, we detected Cthrc1 in pg/ml quantities and studies with 125I-labeled Cthrc1 revealed a half-life of 2.5 hours in circulation. The highest level of Cthrc1 binding was observed in the liver.
Conclusions
Cthrc1 has characteristics of a circulating hormone generated from the anterior pituitary, hypothalamus and bone. Hormonal functions of Cthrc1 include regulation of lipid storage and cellular glycogen levels with potentially broad implications for cell metabolism and physiology.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047142
PMCID: PMC3466254  PMID: 23056600
2.  Elevated Plasma Levels of the Pituitary Hormone Cthrc1 in Individuals with Red Hair but Not in Patients with Solid Tumors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100449.
Background
An increasing number of studies report that Cthrc1 is expressed in various cancer cells. The present study sought to identify which cells in tumors and remodeling tissues express Cthrc1 and investigate the range of circulating human Cthrc1 levels in health and disease.
Methodology/Principle Findings
Highly specific monoclonal antibodies were generated to detect Cthrc1 by ELISA in plasma and in tissues by immunohistochemistry. In human colon, gastric, breast, endometrial, pancreatic, kidney, lung and skin cancer, Cthrc1 was expressed by activated stromal cells and not the cancer cells themselves. Similarly, conditions evoking tissue remodeling, such as wound repair or angiotensin II-mediated hypertension, induced Cthrc1 expression in interstitial and adventitial fibroblasts and perivascular stromal cells. Levels of Cthrc1 in plasma from healthy subjects were near the lower detection limit except for individuals with red hair, who had up to several hundred fold higher levels. Elevated Cthrc1 was also found in patients with diabetes, inflammatory conditions, and infections, but not solid tumors. Transgenic mouse studies suggested that Cthrc1 expression by stromal cells does not contribute to circulating levels. In human pituitaries, Cthrc1 was expressed in the anterior and intermediate lobes with unencapsulated Cthrc1 accumulations typically surrounded by chromophobe cells.
Conclusions
We identify Cthrc1 as a marker for activated stromal cells. Cthrc1 is a pituitary hormone with significantly elevated levels in subjects carrying variant alleles of the melanocortin-1 receptor as wells as in patients with inflammatory conditions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100449
PMCID: PMC4063940  PMID: 24945147
3.  Collagen Triple Helix Repeat Containing 1 (CTHRC1) acts via ERK-dependent induction of MMP9 to promote invasion of colorectal cancer cells 
Oncotarget  2014;5(2):519-529.
Collagen triple helix repeat-containing 1 (CTHRC1) is known to be aberrantly upregulated in most human solid tumors, although the functional roles of CTHRC1 in colorectal cancer remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the occurrence of CTHRC1 upregulation and its role in vivo and in vitro. The expression profile and clinical importance of CTHRC1 were examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical analyses in normal and tumor patient samples. CTHRC1 was detectable in normal tissues, but also was highly expressed in tumor specimens. CTHRC1 upregulation was significantly associated with demethylation of the CTHRC1 promoter in colon cancer cell lines and tumor tissues. Clinicopathologic analyses showed that nodal status and expression of CTHRC1 (95% CI 0.999–3.984, p=0.05) were significant prognostic factors for disease-free survival. Promoter CpG methylation and hypermethylation status were measured by bisulfite sequencing and pyrosequencing analysis. Furthermore, we showed that overexpression of CTHRC1 in the SW480 and HT-29 cell lines increased invasiveness, an effect mediated by extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-dependent upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9). Consistent with this, we found that knockdown of CTHRC1 attenuated ERK activation and cancer cell invasivity. These results demonstrate that CTHRC1 expression is elevated in human colon cancer cell lines and clinical specimens, and promotes cancer cell invasivity through ERK-dependent induction of MMP9 expression. Our results further suggest that high levels of CTHRC1 expression are associated with poor clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3964226  PMID: 24504172
CTHRC1; ERK; MMP9; Invasion; Colorectal cancer
4.  Intracellular Localization of Cthrc1 Characterizes Differentiated Smooth Muscle 
Objective
We recently reported expression of collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (Cthrc1) in injured arteries and proteolytic cleavage of Cthrc1 in smooth muscle cells in vitro. The present study characterizes Cthrc1 processing and determines its biological significance.
Methods and Results
Domain-specific antibodies localized full-length Cthrc1 in the cytoplasm of vascular, gastrointestinal, and uterine smooth muscle as well as in some neurons. Unlike smooth muscle α-actin, Cthrc1 was not expressed in the embryonic myocardium. Intracellular localization of full-length Cthrc1 was sharply reduced in dedifferentiated smooth muscle of the developing neointima despite the previously shown increase in mRNA levels with accompanying extracellular Cthrc1 immunoreactivity. Immunoblotting suggested an apparent covalent association of monomeric full-length Cthrc1 with a cytoplasmic protein present in differentiated smooth muscle. Plasmin was identified as a protease that cleaved a putative propeptide generating an N-terminally truncated form of Cthrc1 with increased inhibitory activity of procollagen synthesis.
Conclusions
Our data show that the differentiated smooth muscle cell phenotype is associated with the intracellular localization of noncleaved Cthrc1 despite the presence of a signal peptide. On arterial injury, increased Cthrc1 expression with apparent extracellular localization of N-terminally truncated Cthrc1 occurs. Removal of the propeptide correlated with increased activity of the molecule.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.108.166579
PMCID: PMC3508505  PMID: 18467647
differentiation; plasmin; smooth muscle
5.  Overexpression of Collagen Triple Helix Repeat Containing 1 (CTHRC1) is associated with tumour aggressiveness and poor prognosis in human non-small cell lung cancer 
Oncotarget  2014;5(19):9410-9424.
Collagen triple helix repeat-containing 1 (CTHRC1), a novel oncogene, was identified to be aberrantly overexpressed in several malignant tumors. However, the expression profile of CTHRC1 and its clinical significance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remain unknown. In this study, we showed that CTHRC1 was evidently overexpressed in human NSCLC tissues and NSCLC cell lines at the protein and mRNA level. Ectopic up-regulation of CTHRC1 in cancer cells resulted in elevated invasive and proliferative abilities, which were attenuated by the specific CTHRC1 siRNA. The biological effect of CTHRC1 on metastasis and proliferation was mediated by the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Furthermore, CTHRC1 immunoreactivity was evidently overexpressed in paraffin-embedded NSCLC tissues (212/292, 72.60%) in comparison to corresponding adjacent non-cancerous tissues (6/66, 9.09%) (p<0.001). Clinicopathologic analysis showed that CTHRC1 expression was significantly correlated with differentiation degree (p<0.001), clinical stage (p<0.001), T classification (p<0.001), lymph node metastasis (p=0.013) and distant metastasis (p<0.001). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that patients with high CTHRC1 expression had poorer overall survival rates than those with low CTHRC1 expression. Multivariate analysis indicated that CTHRC1 expression was an independent prognostic factor for the overall survival of NSCLC patients. Collectively, CTHRC1 plays important roles in NSCLC progression, and the evaluation of CTHRC1 expression could serve as a potential marker for metastasis progression and prognosis in NSCLC patients.
PMCID: PMC4253443  PMID: 25238260
CTHRC1; non-small cell lung cancer; β-catenin; metastasis; prognosis
6.  Cthrc1 Is a Positive Regulator of Osteoblastic Bone Formation 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3174.
Background
Bone mass is maintained by continuous remodeling through repeated cycles of bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone formation by osteoblasts. This remodeling process is regulated by many systemic and local factors.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identified collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (Cthrc1) as a downstream target of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) in osteochondroprogenitor-like cells by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridization followed by differential hybridization, and found that Cthrc1 was expressed in bone tissues in vivo. To investigate the role of Cthrc1 in bone, we generated Cthrc1-null mice and transgenic mice which overexpress Cthrc1 in osteoblasts (Cthrc1 transgenic mice). Microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and bone histomorphometry analyses showed that Cthrc1-null mice displayed low bone mass as a result of decreased osteoblastic bone formation, whereas Cthrc1 transgenic mice displayed high bone mass by increase in osteoblastic bone formation. Osteoblast number was decreased in Cthrc1-null mice, and increased in Cthrc1 transgenic mice, respectively, while osteoclast number had no change in both mutant mice. In vitro, colony-forming unit (CFU) assays in bone marrow cells harvested from Cthrc1-null mice or Cthrc1 transgenic mice revealed that Cthrc1 stimulated differentiation and mineralization of osteoprogenitor cells. Expression levels of osteoblast specific genes, ALP, Col1a1, and Osteocalcin, in primary osteoblasts were decreased in Cthrc1-null mice and increased in Cthrc1 transgenic mice, respectively. Furthermore, BrdU incorporation assays showed that Cthrc1 accelerated osteoblast proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In addition, overexpression of Cthrc1 in the transgenic mice attenuated ovariectomy-induced bone loss.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results indicate that Cthrc1 increases bone mass as a positive regulator of osteoblastic bone formation and offers an anabolic approach for the treatment of osteoporosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003174
PMCID: PMC2527134  PMID: 18779865
7.  Overexpression of CTHRC1 in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Promotes Tumor Invasion and Predicts Poor Prognosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e70324.
Collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (CTHRC1) is a secreted glycoprotein that activates the planar cell polarity pathway of Wnt signaling. Using microarray analysis, we found that the CTHRC1 gene is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The level of CTHRC1 mRNA was measured in 201 surgically resected HCCs using real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Overexpression of CTHRC1 in HCC was associated with large tumor size and advanced tumor stage. Furthermore, expression of CTHRC1 as was identified as an independent prognostic factors in the multivariate analysis. Suppression of CTHRC1 expression inhibited tumor migration and invasion whereas overexpression of CTHRC1 promoted tumor invasion. Activation of RhoA, but not Rac1 or Cdc42, was found to play a crucial role in CTHRC1-induced cell migration. CTHRC1 promoted adhesion of cancer cells to extracellular matrix through induction of integrin β1 expression and activation of focal adhesion kinase. These results suggest CTHRC1 promotes tumor invasion and metastasis by enhancing the adhesion and migratory abilities of tumor cells. It is also a promising biomarker for predicting the prognosis of patients with HCC.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070324
PMCID: PMC3726622  PMID: 23922981
8.  CTHRC1 Acts as a Prognostic Factor and Promotes Invasiveness of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors by Activating Wnt/PCP-Rho Signaling1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(3):265-278.e13.
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are the major gastrointestinal mesenchymal tumors with a variable malignancy ranging from a curable disorder to highly malignant sarcomas. Metastasis and recurrence are the main causes of death in GIST patients. To further explore the mechanism of metastasis and to more accurately estimate the recurrence risk of GISTs after surgery, the clinical significance and functional role of collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (CTHRC1) in GIST were investigated. We found that CTHRC1 expression was gradually elevated as the risk grade of NIH classification increased, and was closely correlated with disease-free survival and overall survival in 412 GIST patients. In vitro experiments showed that recombinant CTHRC1 protein promoted the migration and invasion capacities of primary GIST cells. A luciferase reporter assay and pull down assay demonstrated that recombinant CTHRC1 protein activated noncanonical Wnt/PCP-Rho signaling but inhibited canonical Wnt signaling. The pro-motility effect of CTHRC1 on GIST cells was reversed by using a Wnt5a neutralizing antibody and inhibitors of Rac1 or ROCK. Taken together, these data indicate that CTHRC1 may serve as a new predictor of recurrence risk and prognosis in post-operative GIST patients and may play an important role in facilitating GIST progression. Furthermore, CTHRC1 promotes GIST cell migration and invasion by activating Wnt/PCP-Rho signaling, suggesting that the CTHRC1-Wnt/PCP-Rho axis may be a new therapeutic target for interventions against GIST invasion and metastasis.
doi:10.1016/j.neo.2014.03.001
PMCID: PMC4094796  PMID: 24726140
CTHRC1, collagen triple helix repeat containing 1; DFS, disease-free survival; ECM, extracellular matrix; GIST, gastrointestinal stromal tumors; OS, overall survival; qRT-PCR, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction
9.  Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma and promotes cell proliferation and motility 
International Journal of Oncology  2014;45(2):541-548.
Although several therapeutic options are available for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the outcome is still very poor. One reason is the complexity of signal transduction in the pathogenesis of HCC. The aim of this study was to identify new HCC-related genes and to investigate the functions of these genes in the pathogenesis and progression of HCC. Whole genomes of 15 surgically resected HCC specimens were examined for copy number alterations with comparative genomic hybridization. Gene expression was compared between HCC and normal liver tissues. The roles of the new genes in the progression of HCC were studied using cultured cell lines. Copy number gain in chromosome 8q was detected in 53% of HCC tissues examined. The gene that coded for collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1), located at chromosome 8q22.3, was overexpressed in HCC compared with normal or liver cirrhosis tissues and identified as a new HCC-related gene. CTHRC1 deletion with short hairpin RNA significantly reduced proliferation, migration and invasion of HepG2 and Huh7 cells. In addition, mRNA of integrins β-2 and β-3 was downregulated, with deletion of CTHRC1 in these cells. Immunohistochemical staining on resected HCC tissues showing positive staining areas for CTHRC1 was significantly greater in poorly-differentiated HCC compared with well-differentiated HCC. Moreover, some cases showed strong staining for CTHRC1 in invasive areas of HCC. CTHRC1 has the potential to be a new biomarker for the aggressive HCC, and to be a new therapeutic target in treating HCC.
doi:10.3892/ijo.2014.2445
PMCID: PMC4091966  PMID: 24841500
hepatocellular carcinoma; collagen triple helix repeat containing 1; comparative genomic hybridization; copy number alteration; integrin β
10.  Cthrc1 is a negative regulator of myelination in Schwann cells 
Glia  2012;60(3):393-403.
The analysis of the molecular mechanisms involved in the initial interaction between neurons and Schwann cells is a key issue in understanding the myelination process. We recently identified Cthrc1 (Collagen triple helix repeat containing 1) as a gene upregulated in Schwann cells upon interaction with the axon. Cthrc1 encodes a secreted protein previously shown to be involved in migration and proliferation in different cell types. We performed a functional analysis of Cthrc1 in Schwann cells by loss- and gain-of-function approaches, using RNA interference knock-down in cell culture and a transgenic mouse line that overexpresses the gene. This work establishes that Cthrc1 enhances Schwann cell proliferation, but prevents myelination. In particular, time-course analysis of myelin formation in transgenic animals reveals that overexpression of Cthrc1 in Schwann cells leads to a delay in myelin formation, with cells maintaining a proliferative state. Our data therefore demonstrate that Cthrc1 plays a negative regulatory role, fine-tuning the onset of peripheral myelination.
PMCID: PMC3505855  PMID: 22379615
PNS; myelin; cell proliferation; regulation; axon contact; transgenic mouse
11.  Reagents for Astatination of Biomolecules. 5. Evaluation of hydrazone linkers in 211At- and 125I-labeled closo-decaborate(2-) conjugates of Fab′ as a means of decreasing kidney retention 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2011;22(6):1089-1102.
Evaluation of monoclonal antibody (MAb) fragments (e.g. Fab′, Fab or engineered fragments) as cancer-targeting reagents for therapy with the α-particle emitting radionuclide astatine-211 (211At) has been hampered by low in vivo stability of the label and a propensity of these proteins localize to kidneys. Fortunately, our group has shown that the low stability of the 211At label, generally a meta- or para-[211At]astatobenzoyl conjugate, on MAb Fab′ fragments can be dramatically improved by use of closo-decaborate(2-) conjugates. However, the higher stability of radiolabeled MAb Fab′ conjugates appears to result in retention of the radioactivity in kidneys. This investigation was conducted to evaluate whether the retention of radioactivity in kidney might be decreased by the use of acid-cleavable hydrazone between the Fab′ and the radiolabeled closo-decaborate(2-) moiety. Five conjugation reagents containing sulfhydryl-reactive maleimide groups, a hydrazone functionality and a closo-decaborate(2-) moiety were prepared. In four of the five conjugation reagents, a discrete polyethylene glycol (PEG) linker was used, and one substituent adjacent to the hydrazone was varied (phenyl, benzoate, anisole or methyl) to provide varying acid-sensitivity. In the initial studies, the five maleimido-closo-decaborate(2-) conjugation reagents were radioiodinated (125I or 131I), then conjugated with an anti-PSMA Fab′ (107-1A4 Fab′). Biodistributions of the five radioiodinated Fab′ conjugates were obtained in nude mice at 1, 4 and 24 h post injection (pi). In contrast to closo-decaborate(2-) conjugated to 107-1A4 Fab′ through a non-cleavable linker, two conjugates containing either a benzoate or a methyl substituent on the hydrazone functionality displayed clearance rates from kidney, liver and spleen that were similar to those obtained with directly radioiodinated Fab′ (i.e. no conjugate). The maleimido-closo-decaborate(2-) conjugation reagent containing a benzoate substituent on the hydrazone was chosen for study with 211At. That reagent was conjugated with 107-1A4 Fab′, then labeled (separately) with 125I and 211At. The radiolabeled Fab′ conjugates were coinjected into nude mice bearing LNCaP human tumor xenografts, and biodistribution data was obtained at 1, 4 and 24 h pi. Tumor targeting was achieved with both 125I- and 211At-labeled Fab′, but the 211At-labeled Fab′ reached a higher concentration (25.56 ± 11.20 vs. 11.97 ± 1.31 %ID/g). Surprisingly, while the 125I-labeled Fab′ was cleared from kidney similar to earlier studies, the 211At-labeled Fab′ was not (i.e. kidney conc. for 125I vs. 211At; 4h: 13.14 ± 2.03 ID/g vs. 42.28 ± 16.38 %D/g, 24h: 4.23 ± 1.57 ID/g vs. 39.52 ± 15.87 %ID/g). Since the Fab′ conjugate is identical in both cases except for the radionuclide, it seems likely that the difference in tissue clearance seen is due to an effect that 211At has on either the hydrazone cleavage or on the retention of a metabolite. Results from other studies in our laboratory suggest that the latter case is most likely. The hydrazone linkers tested do not provide the tissue clearance sought for 211At, so additional hydrazones linkers will be evaluated. However, the results support the use of hydrazone linkers when Fab′ conjugated with closo-decaborate(2-) reagents are radioiodinated.
doi:10.1021/bc1005625
PMCID: PMC3116028  PMID: 21513347
12.  Novel markers for differentiation of lobular and ductal invasive breast carcinomas by laser microdissection and microarray analysis 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:55.
Background
Invasive ductal and lobular carcinomas (IDC and ILC) are the most common histological types of breast cancer. Clinical follow-up data and metastatic patterns suggest that the development and progression of these tumors are different. The aim of our study was to identify gene expression profiles of IDC and ILC in relation to normal breast epithelial cells.
Methods
We examined 30 samples (normal ductal and lobular cells from 10 patients, IDC cells from 5 patients, ILC cells from 5 patients) microdissected from cryosections of ten mastectomy specimens from postmenopausal patients. Fifty nanograms of total RNA were amplified and labeled by PCR and in vitro transcription. Samples were analysed upon Affymetrix U133 Plus 2.0 Arrays. The expression of seven differentially expressed genes (CDH1, EMP1, DDR1, DVL1, KRT5, KRT6, KRT17) was verified by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. Expression of ASPN mRNA was validated by in situ hybridization on frozen sections, and CTHRC1, ASPN and COL3A1 were tested by PCR.
Results
Using GCOS pairwise comparison algorithm and rank products we have identified 84 named genes common to ILC versus normal cell types, 74 named genes common to IDC versus normal cell types, 78 named genes differentially expressed between normal ductal and lobular cells, and 28 named genes between IDC and ILC. Genes distinguishing between IDC and ILC are involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition, TGF-beta and Wnt signaling. These changes were present in both tumor types but appeared to be more prominent in ILC. Immunohistochemistry for several novel markers (EMP1, DVL1, DDR1) distinguished large sets of IDC from ILC.
Conclusion
IDC and ILC can be differentiated both at the gene and protein levels. In this study we report two candidate genes, asporin (ASPN) and collagen triple helix repeat containing 1 (CTHRC1) which might be significant in breast carcinogenesis. Besides E-cadherin, the proteins validated on tissue microarrays (EMP1, DVL1, DDR1) may represent novel immunohistochemical markers helpful in distinguishing between IDC and ILC. Further studies with larger sets of patients are needed to verify the gene expression profiles of various histological types of breast cancer in order to determine molecular subclassifications, prognosis and the optimum treatment strategies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-55
PMCID: PMC1852112  PMID: 17389037
13.  Wnt Signaling Genes of Murine Chromosome 15 are Involved in Gender-affected Pathways of Inflammatory Arthritis 
Arthritis and Rheumatism  2011;64(4):1057-1068.
Objective
Gender disparities in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are well documented despite the lack of any known major RA susceptibility genes mapped to sex chromosomes. Murine chromosome 15 carries the sex-affected Pgia8 locus that mediates proteoglycan-induced arthritis (PGIA); homologous human loci are associated with RA. This study uses a Pgia8 congenic strain to identify genes/mechanisms implicated in gender disparities in arthritis.
Methods
Gene expression analysis was performed using RNA isolated from paws of congenic males and females with collagen antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA). Data were corroborated with RT-PCR and also studied in mice prior to disease onset. Ingenuity Pathways Analysis of the expression patterns and gene functions were used to discover locus-specific and sex-affected signature transcripts.
Results
We found that the Pgia8 locus regulates antibody-mediated inflammatory arthritis differently in males and females. In Pgia8 congenic males, arthritis severity was 30% less (p < 0.005) than in wild-type males, but the anti-inflammatory effect was similar in wild type and congenic females. Transcriptome analysis indicated that twelve genes within the locus were significantly deregulated in arthritic joints of congenic mice; expression of these genes was also gender specific. The genes that correlated the most with arthritis severity include collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (Cthrc1), metalloproteinase Adamts12, R-spondyn (Rspo2) and Syndecan (Sdc2) (r=0.87–0.91). The level of Cthrc1 message also correlated with that of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6.
Conclusion
Gender-specific disparities in RA are linked to transcriptional regulation of genes involved in cartilage degradation (Adamts12) and canonical and non-canonical Wnt signaling (Cthrc1, Rspo2, Sdc2).
doi:10.1002/art.33414
PMCID: PMC3288823  PMID: 22005949
14.  Monoclonal antibody-based capture enzyme immunoassays for specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM antibodies to respiratory syncytial virus. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1990;28(12):2744-2749.
Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to the fusion protein (F), attachment protein (G), and nucleoprotein (N) of respiratory syncytial (RS) virus were evaluated for use as detector antibodies in immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM capture enzyme immunoassays. MAb assays were tested against assays using polyclonal antibodies (PAbs) with serum specimens from patients with and without evidence of recent RS virus infection. Assays developed with N MAbs were comparable to or better than PAb assays for detecting specific IgG and IgM antibodies but were somewhat less sensitive for IgA. F MAb assays were less sensitive for IgG and IgM antibodies but identified specific IgA in some specimens negative by N MAb assay. G MAb assays were insensitive for IgG and IgM antibodies but did detect about 50% of the IgA antibodies identified by the PAb assay. The basis for the low sensitivity of the G MAb assays is unclear, since many of these specimens were positive for IgG antibodies to G by Western immunoblot. The sensitivity of MAb assays varied with patient age: N MAb assays detected specific antibody responses to RS virus in all immunoglobulin classes in both adults and infants less than 1 year of age, F MAb assays detected specific IgG responses in adults and IgA responses in both adults and infants, and G MAb assays only detected IgA responses in adults. A mixture of N and F MAbs was complementary overall, identifying 54 of 55 (IgG), 51 of 52 (IgA), and 16 of 17 (IgM) serum specimens positive by PAb assay. These MAb assays were also specific with specimens tested from persons without a history of recent RS virus infection. The availability of these MAb-based assays offers other laboratories the opportunity to have long-term, standardized reagents and tests for serological diagnosis of RS virus infection.
Images
PMCID: PMC268266  PMID: 2280004
15.  Neutralizing Human Fab Fragments against Measles Virus Recovered by Phage Display 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(1):251-258.
Five human recombinant Fab fragments (Fabs) specific for measles virus (MV) proteins were isolated from three antibody phage display libraries generated from RNAs derived from bone marrow or splenic lymphocytes from three MV-immune individuals. All Fabs reacted in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with MV antigens. In radioimmunoprecipitation assays two of the Fabs, MV12 and MT14, precipitated an ⊘80-kDa protein band corresponding to the hemagglutinin (H) protein from MV-infected Vero cell cultures, while two other Fabs, MT64 and GL29, precipitated an ⊘60-kDa protein corresponding the nucleocapsid (N) protein. In competition studies with MV fusion, H- and N protein-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), the H-specific Fabs predominantly blocked the binding of H-specific MAbs, while the N-specific Fabs blocked MAbs to N. In addition, N-specific Fabs bound to denatured MV N protein in Western blotting. The specificity of the fifth Fab, MV4, could not be determined. By plaque reduction assays, three of the five Fabs, MV4, MV12, and MT14, exhibited neutralizing activity (80% cutoff) against MV (LEC-KI strain) at concentrations ranging between ≈2 and 7 μg ml−1. Neutralization capacity against MV strains Edmonston and Schwarz was also detected, albeit at somewhat higher Fab concentrations. In conclusion, three neutralizing Fabs were isolated, two of them reactive against the H glycoprotein of MV and another reactive against an undefined epitope. This is the first study in which MV-neutralizing human recombinant Fab antibodies have been isolated from phage display libraries.
doi:10.1128/JVI.76.1.251-258.2002
PMCID: PMC135717  PMID: 11739690
16.  Immunoassays Based on Penicillium marneffei Mp1p Derived from Pichia pastoris Expression System for Diagnosis of Penicilliosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28796.
Background
Penicillium marneffei is a dimorphic fungus endemic in Southeast Asia. It can cause fatal penicilliosis in humans, particularly in HIV-infected people. Diagnosis of this infection is difficult because its clinical manifestations are not distinctive. Specialized laboratory tests are necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis for successful management. We have demonstrated previously that a cell wall mannoprotein Mp1p, abundant in P. marneffei, is a potential biomarker for diagnosis of P. marneffei infections. In the present study, we describe immunoassays based on Mp1p derived from the yeast Pichia pastoris expression system.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We generated monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and rabbit polyclonal antibodies (PAbs) against Mp1p expressed in P. pastoris. Subsequently, we developed two Mp1p antigen capture ELISAs which employed MAbs for both the capture and detecting antibodies (MAb-MAb pair) or PAbs and MAbs as the capture and detecting antibodies (PAbs-MAb pair) respectively. The two Mp1p antigen ELISAs detected Mp1p specifically in cultures of P. marneffei yeast phase at 37–40°C and had no cross-reaction with other tested pathogenic fungi. The sensitivities and specificities of the two antigen assays were found to be 55% (11/20) and 99.6% (538/540) for MAb-MAb Mp1p ELISA, and 75% (15/20) and 99.4% (537/540) for PAbs-MAb Mp1p ELISA performed using 20 sera with culture-confirmed penicilliosis, and 540 control sera from 15 other mycosis patients and 525 healthy donors. Meanwhile, we also developed an anti-Mp1p IgG antibody ELISA with an evaluated sensitivity of 30% (6/20) and a specificity of 98.5% (532/540) using the same sera. Furthermore, combining the results of Mp1p antigen and antibody detection improved the sensitivity of diagnosis to 100% (20/20).
Conclusions/Significance
Simultaneous detection of antigen and antibody using the immunoassays based on Mp1p derived from P. pastoris greatly improves detection sensitivity. The procedures should be useful for the routine diagnosis of penicilliosis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028796
PMCID: PMC3244411  PMID: 22205971
17.  Selection and characterisation of a phage-displayed human antibody (Fab) reactive to the lung resistance-related major vault protein 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(6):954-962.
The major vault protein is the main component on multimeric vault particles, that are likely to play an essential role in normal cell physiology and to be associated with multidrug resistance of tumour cells. In order to unravel the function of vaults and their putative contribution to multidrug resistance, specific antibodies are invaluable tools. Until now, only conventional major vault protein-reactive murine monoclonal antibodies have been generated, that are most suitable for immunohistochemical analyses. The phage display method allows for selection of human antibody fragments with potential use in clinical applications. Furthermore, cDNA sequences encoding selected antibody fragments are readily identified, facilitating various molecular targeting approaches. In order to obtain such human Fab fragments recognising major vault protein we used a large non-immunized human Fab fragment phage library. Phages displaying major vault protein-reactive Fabs were obtained through several rounds of selection on major vault protein-coated immunotubes and subsequent amplification in TG1 E coli bacteria. Eventually, one major vault protein-reactive clone was selected and further examined. The anti-major vault protein Fab was found suitable for immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis of tumour cell lines and human tissues. BIAcore analysis showed that the binding affinity of the major vault protein-reactive clone almost equalled that of the murine anti-major vault protein Mabs. The cDNA sequence of this human Fab may be exploited to generate an intrabody for major vault protein-knock out studies. Thus, this human Fab fragment should provide a valuable tool in elucidating the contribution(s) of major vault protein/vaults to normal physiology and cellular drug resistance mechanisms.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 954–962. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600159 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600159
PMCID: PMC2364164  PMID: 11953829
LRP; MVP; multidrug resistance; Fab; phage display.
18.  Keap1 mutations in lung cancer patients 
Oncology Letters  2013;6(3):719-721.
Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) inhibits nuclear factor erythroid 2-related 2 (NEF2L2; also named NRF2)-induced cytoprotection and has been hypothesized to represent a candidate tumor suppressor. We have previously reported the somatic mutations of the NRF2 gene (NFE2L2), however, the correlation between the Keap1 mutation and the clinicopathological features of lung cancer has not been well investigated. Therefore, in the present study, the Keap1 mutational status in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients was investigated by reverse transcription PCR and direct sequencing. The study included 76 surgically-removed lung cancer cases from patients of the Nagoya City University Hospital in which the EGFR and NFE2L2 mutation status was already established. Keap1 mutations were identified in 2 (2.6%) adenocarcinoma patients with a history of heavy smoking. These mutations were identified to exist exclusively. The Keap1 mutation was only detected in patients with advanced adenocarcinoma (4.3%) and the completely exclusive status of this mutation and others, including EGFR, Kas, erbB2 and NRF2L2, is likely to improve the selection of personalized therapy for lung cancer.
doi:10.3892/ol.2013.1427
PMCID: PMC3789102  PMID: 24137397
Keap1; NRF2; lung cancer; mutations; adenocarcinoma
19.  Progressive inactivation of the expression of an erythroid transcriptional factor in GM- and G-CSF-dependent myeloid cell lines. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1990;18(23):6863-6869.
The transcriptional binding protein NFE-1 (also called GF-1 and Ery-f1) is thought to play a necessary, but not sufficient, role in the regulation of differentiation-related gene expression in a subset of hematopoietic lineages (erythroid, megakaryocytic, and basophil-mast cell). In order to clarify the mechanism which underlies the lineage-specificity of the NFE-1 expression, as well as the relationship between the expression of this factor and growth factor responsiveness, we have evaluated the capacity of erythropoietin (Epo)-, granulomonocytic (GM)-colony stimulating factor (CSF)-, and granulocyte (G)-CSF-dependent subclones derived from the interleukin 3 (IL-3)-dependent cell line 32D, to express 1) NFE-1 mRNA, 2) NFE-1-related nuclear proteins, and 3) chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) activity when transfected with a CAT gene under the control of NFE-1 cognate sequences. NFE-1 mRNA was found to be expressed not only in cells with mast cell (IL-3-dependent 32D) and erythroid (Epo-dependent 32D Epo1) phenotypes, but also in cells with predominantly granulocyte/macrophage properties, such as the GM-CSF- (early myelomonocytic) and G-CSF- (myelocytic) dependent subclones of 32D. However, a gradient of expression, correlating with the lineage, the stage of differentiation, and the growth factor responsiveness of the cell lines, was found among the different subclones: Epo greater than or equal to IL-3 greater than GM-CSF greater than G-CSF. Binding experiments demonstrated NFE-1 activity in all cell lines except the G-CSF-dependent line. Function of the NFE-1 protein was assessed by the expression of the CAT gene linked to the SV40 promoter and a mutant (-175 T----C) HPFH gamma-globin promoter. High level CAT expression was seen only in the Epo1 cells although low level expression was also seen in the parent 32D. These results demonstrate that the specificity of the expression of NFE-1 for the erythroid--megakaryocytic--mast cell lineages is obtained by progressive inactivation of its expression in alternative lineages.
Images
PMCID: PMC332743  PMID: 1702202
20.  p45NFE2 Is a Negative Regulator of Erythroid Proliferation Which Contributes to the Progression of Friend Virus-Induced Erythroleukemias 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(1):73-80.
In previous studies, we identified a common site of retroviral integration designated Fli-2 in Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV)-induced erythroleukemia cell lines. Insertion of F-MuLV at the Fli-2 locus, which was associated with the loss of the second allele, resulted in the inactivation of the erythroid cell- and megakaryocyte-specific gene p45NFE2. Frequent disruption of p45NFE2 due to proviral insertion suggests a role for this transcription factor in the progression of Friend virus-induced erythroleukemias. To assess this possibility, erythroleukemia was induced by F-MuLV in p45NFE2 mutant mice. Since p45NFE2 homozygous mice mostly die at birth, erythroleukemia was induced in +/− and +/+ mice. We demonstrate that +/− mice succumb to the disease moderately but significantly faster than +/+ mice. In addition, the spleens of +/− mice were significantly larger than those of +/+ mice. Of the 37 tumors generated from the +/− and +/+ mice, 10 gave rise to cell lines, all of which were derived from +/− mice. Establishment in culture was associated with the loss of the remaining wild-type p45NFE2 allele in 9 of 10 of these cell lines. The loss of a functional p45NFE2 in these cell lines was associated with a marked reduction in globin gene expression. Expression of wild-type p45NFE2 in the nonproducer erythroleukemic cells resulted in reduced cell growth and restored the expression of globin genes. Similarly, the expression of p45NFE2 in these cells also slows tumor growth in vivo. These results indicate that p45NFE2 functions as an inhibitor of erythroid cell growth and that perturbation of its expression contributes to the progression of Friend erythroleukemia.
doi:10.1128/MCB.21.1.73-80.2001
PMCID: PMC88781  PMID: 11113182
21.  Cholestatic Liver Disease after Rituximab and Adalimumab and the Possible Role of Cross-Reacting Antibodies to Fab 2 Fragments 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78856.
Background
Millions of patients are treated with therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (Tmabs) for miscellaneous diseases. We investigated sera from six patients who received immune globulin, from one patient with refractory anti-neutrophil-cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) who developed two episodes of acute cholestatic liver disease, one after treatment with rituximab and a second after adalimumab and a healthy control group.
Methods
Three sera from the patient and six sera from patients who received immune globulin were analyzed for antibodies to rituximab and adalimumab by ELISA. Additionally, sera from the patients and from nine healthy blood donors were coated with the Fab fragment of an unrelated humanized monoclonal antibody, with human Fc proteins as well as a mouse IgG globulin.
Results
Viral serology for hepatitis A, B, C and autoantibodies specific for autoimmune liver disorders were negative. In all three sera from the patient antibodies to rituximab could be detected, but also antibodies to adalimumab were present even at time points when the patient had not yet received adalimumab, indicating cross reactivity between both substances. Testing against an unrelated human Fab fragment revealed positive results, indicating that the patient had antibodies against human Fab fragments in general. The Fc proteins were negative, and patients’ sera did also not react with mouse IgG globulins. Remarkably, 2 out of 5 patients which were treated with immune globulin had antibodies against human Fab fragments in general whereas in none of the samples from healthy controls antibodies to Fab fragment could be detected.
Conclusion
This is the first study demonstrating cholestatic liver disease induced by two different Tmabs. Cross - reacting antibodies to Fab2 fragments in general are probably involved. Further studies must show if these Fab2 antibodies in general are related with drug-induced side effects and accelerated drug clearance in patients on Tmab therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078856
PMCID: PMC3823999  PMID: 24244376
22.  Osteoclast-secreted CTHRC1 in the coupling of bone resorption to formation 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(9):3914-3924.
Bone remodeling is characterized by the sequential, local tethering of osteoclasts and osteoblasts and is key to the maintenance of bone integrity. While bone matrix–mobilized growth factors, such as TGF-β, are proposed to regulate remodeling, no in vivo evidence exists that an osteoclast-produced molecule serves as a coupling factor for bone resorption to formation. We found that CTHRC1, a protein secreted by mature bone-resorbing osteoclasts, targets stromal cells to stimulate osteogenesis. Cthrc1 expression was robustly induced when mature osteoclasts were placed on dentin or hydroxyapatite, and also by increasing extracellular calcium. Cthrc1 expression in bone increased in a high-turnover state (such as that induced by RANKL injections in vivo), but decreased in conditions associated with suppressed bone turnover (such as with aging and after alendronate treatment). Targeted deletion of Cthrc1 in mice eliminated Cthrc1 expression in bone, whereas its deficiency in osteoblasts did not exert any significant effect. Osteoclast-specific deletion of Cthrc1 resulted in osteopenia due to reduced bone formation and impaired the coupling process after resorption induced by RANKL injections, impairing bone mass recovery. These data demonstrate that CTHRC1 is an osteoclast-secreted coupling factor that regulates bone remodeling.
doi:10.1172/JCI69493
PMCID: PMC3754269  PMID: 23908115
23.  The First Human Epitope Map of the Alphaviral E1 and E2 Proteins Reveals a New E2 Epitope with Significant Virus Neutralizing Activity 
Background
Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is responsible for VEE epidemics that occur in South and Central America and the U.S. The VEEV envelope contains two glycoproteins E1 (mediates cell membrane fusion) and E2 (binds receptor and elicits virus neutralizing antibodies). Previously we constructed E1 and E2 epitope maps using murine monoclonal antibodies (mMAbs). Six E2 epitopes (E2c,d,e,f,g,h) bound VEEV-neutralizing antibody and mapped to amino acids (aa) 182–207. Nothing is known about the human antibody repertoire to VEEV or epitopes that engage human virus-neutralizing antibodies. There is no specific treatment for VEE; however virus-neutralizing mMAbs are potent protective and therapeutic agents for mice challenged with VEEV by either peripheral or aerosol routes. Therefore, fully human MAbs (hMAbs) with virus-neutralizing activity should be useful for prevention or clinical treatment of human VEE.
Methods
We used phage-display to isolate VEEV-specific hFabs from human bone marrow donors. These hFabs were characterized by sequencing, specificity testing, VEEV subtype cross-reactivity using indirect ELISA, and in vitro virus neutralization capacity. One E2-specific neutralizing hFAb, F5n, was converted into IgG, and its binding site was identified using competitive ELISA with mMAbs and by preparing and sequencing antibody neutralization-escape variants.
Findings
Using 11 VEEV-reactive hFabs we constructed the first human epitope map for the alphaviral surface proteins E1 and E2. We identified an important neutralization-associated epitope unique to the human immune response, E2 aa115–119. Using a 9 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy map of the Sindbis virus E2 protein, we showed the probable surface location of this human VEEV epitope.
Conclusions
The VEEV-neutralizing capacity of the hMAb F5 nIgG is similar to that exhibited by the humanized mMAb Hy4 IgG. The Hy4 IgG has been shown to limit VEEV infection in mice both prophylactically and therapeutically. Administration of a cocktail of F5n and Hy4 IgGs, which bind to different E2 epitopes, could provide enhanced prophylaxis or immunotherapy for VEEV, while reducing the possibility of generating possibly harmful virus neutralization-escape variants in vivo.
Author Summary
Although the murine immune response to Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) is well-characterized, little is known about the human antibody response to VEEV. In this study we used phage display technology to isolate a panel of 11 VEEV-specfic Fabs from two human donors. Seven E2-specific and four E1-specific Fabs were identified and mapped to five E2 epitopes and three E1 epitopes. Two neutralizing Fabs were isolated, E2-specific F5 and E1-specific L1A7, although the neutralizing capacity of L1A7 was 300-fold lower than F5. F5 Fab was expressed as a complete IgG1 molecule, F5 native (n) IgG. Neutralization-escape VEEV variants for F5 nIgG were isolated and their structural genes were sequenced to determine the theoretical binding site of F5. Based on this sequence analysis as well as the ability of F5 to neutralize four neutralization-escape variants of anti-VEEV murine monoclonal antibodies (mapped to E2 amino acids 182–207), a unique neutralization domain on E2 was identified and mapped to E2 amino acids 115–119.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000739
PMCID: PMC2903468  PMID: 20644615
24.  Level and course of FEV1 in relation to polymorphisms in NFE2L2 and KEAP1 in the general population 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):73.
Background
The metabolism of xenobiotics plays an essential role in smoking related lung function loss and development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Like 2 (NFE2L2 or NRF2) and its cytosolic repressor Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1 (KEAP1) regulate transcription of enzymes involved in cellular detoxification processes and Nfe2l2-deficient mice develop tobacco-induced emphysema. We assessed the impact of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in both genes on the level and longitudinal course of Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1) in the general population.
Methods
Five NFE2L2 and three KEAP1 tagging SNPs were genotyped in the population-based Doetinchem cohort (n = 1,152) and the independent Vlagtwedde-Vlaardingen cohort (n = 1,390). On average 3 FEV1 measurements during 3 surveys, respectively 7 FEV1 measurements during 8 surveys were present. Linear Mixed Effect models were used to test cross-sectional and longitudinal genetic effects on repeated FEV1 measurements.
Results
In the Vlagtwedde-Vlaardingen cohort SNP rs11085735 in KEAP1 was associated with a higher FEV1 level (p = 0.02 for an additive effect), and SNP rs2364723 in NFE2L2 was associated with a lower FEV1 level (p = 0.06). The associations were even more significant in the pooled cohort analysis. No significant association of KEAP1 or NFE2L2 SNPs with FEV1 decline was observed.
Conclusion
This is the first genetic study on variations in key antioxidant transcriptional regulators KEAP1 and NFE2L2 and lung function in a general population. It identified 2 SNPs in NFE2L2 and KEAP1 which affect the level of FEV1 in the general population. It additionally shows that NFE2L2 and KEAP1 variations are unlikely to play a role in the longitudinal course of FEV1 in the general population.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-73
PMCID: PMC2738671  PMID: 19671143
25.  Detection of colorectal carcinoma by emission-computerized tomography after injection of 123I-labeled Fab or F(ab')2 fragments from monoclonal anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibodies. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1986;77(1):301-311.
This clinical study was based on experimental results obtained in nude mice grafted with human colon carcinoma, showing that injected 131I-labeled F(ab')2 and Fab fragments from high affinity anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) monoclonal antibodies (MAb) gave markedly higher ratios of tumor to normal tissue localization than intact MAb. 31 patients with known colorectal carcinoma, including 10 primary tumors, 13 local tumor recurrences, and 21 metastatic involvements, were injected with 123I-labeled F(ab')2 (n = 14) or Fab (n = 17) fragments from MAb anti-CEA. The patients were examined by emission-computerized tomography (ECT) at 6, 24, and sometimes 48 h after injection using a rotating dual head scintillation camera. All 23 primary tumors and local recurrences except one were clearly visualized on at least two sections of different tomographic planes. Interestingly, nine of these patients had almost normal circulating CEA levels, and three of the visualized tumors weighed only 3-5 g. Among 19 known metastatic tumor involvements, 14 were correctly localized by ECT. Two additional liver and several bone metastases were discovered by immunoscintigraphy. Altogether, 86% of the tumor sites were detected, 82% with F(ab')2 and 89% with Fab fragments. The contrast of the tumor images obtained with Fab fragments suggests that this improved method of immunoscintigraphy has the potential to detect early tumor recurrences and thus to increase the survival of patients. The results of this retrospective study, however, should be confirmed in a prospective study before this method can be recommended for the routine diagnosis of cancer.
Images
PMCID: PMC423340  PMID: 3484753

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