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1.  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
2.  Intracellular Localization of Cthrc1 Characterizes Differentiated Smooth Muscle 
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3508505  PMID: 18467647
differentiation; plasmin; smooth muscle
3.  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.
PMCID: PMC3726622  PMID: 23922981
4.  Cthrc1 Is a Positive Regulator of Osteoblastic Bone Formation 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3174.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2527134  PMID: 18779865
5.  Cthrc1, a Novel Circulating Hormone Regulating Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47142.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3466254  PMID: 23056600
6.  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
7.  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.
PMCID: PMC332743  PMID: 1702202
8.  Distamycins inhibit the binding of OTF-1 and NFE-1 transfactors to their conserved DNA elements. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1989;17(3):1051-1059.
We investigated the effects of the antiviral agent distamycin A and of a distamycin derivative (FCE 24517) which possesses antineoplastic activity on the binding of some regulatory proteins to DNA. Both compounds inhibited the binding to DNA of the ubiquitous octamer binding factor OTF 1 and of the erythroid specific GATAAG protein (NFE 1). This was shown using the electrophoretic mobility shift assay on a DNA fragment of human gamma-globin gene promoter (-156 to -201), on the same fragment with a point mutation (T to C mutation) known to have an increased affinity of binding for NFE 1, on a DNA fragment of human histone H2B promoter and on a DNA fragment of mouse alpha 1 globin promoter. The ability of distamycin or of FCE 24517 to inhibit the binding was specific for AT-rich sequences since neither drug inhibited the binding of nuclear protein factors to the sequence CCACACCC of the human beta globin gene. Binding to DNA was investigated by evaluating the drugs' ability to protect selected sequences from DNase I digestion (DNase footprinting). Distamycins binding was highly preferential for DNA sequences containing stretches of AT. These studies indicate that chemicals which have a high degree of DNA sequence-specific binding can selectively inhibit the binding of regulatory proteins to DNA. These effects might be responsible for modification of the transcription of specific genes and might to some extent account for these drugs' antiviral and antineoplastic activities. This approach offers potential for the investigation of new such drugs.
PMCID: PMC331721  PMID: 2922260
9.  Novel Hematopoietic Target Genes in the NRF2-Mediated Transcriptional Pathway 
Nuclear factor- (erythroid-derived 2) like 2 (NFE2L2, NRF2) is a key transcriptional activator of the antioxidant response pathway and is closely related to erythroid transcription factor NFE2. Under oxidative stress, NRF2 heterodimerizes with small Maf proteins and binds cis-acting enhancer sequences found near oxidative stress response genes. Using the dietary isothiocyanate sulforaphane (SFN) to activate NRF2, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) identified several hundred novel NRF2-mediated targets beyond its role in oxidative stress. Activated NRF2 bound the antioxidant response element (ARE) in promoters of several known and novel target genes involved in iron homeostasis and heme metabolism, including known targets FTL and FTH1, as well as novel binding in the globin locus control region. Five novel NRF2 target genes were chosen for followup: AMBP, ABCB6, FECH, HRG-1 (SLC48A1), and TBXAS1. SFN-induced gene expression in erythroid K562 and lymphoid cells were compared for each target gene. NRF2 silencing showed reduced expression in lymphoid, lung, and hepatic cells. Furthermore, stable knockdown of NRF2 negative regulator KEAP1 in K562 cells resulted in increased NQO1, AMBP, and TBXAS1 expression. NFE2 binding sites in K562 cells revealed similar binding profiles as lymphoid NRF2 sites in all potential NRF2 candidates supporting a role for NRF2 in heme metabolism and erythropoiesis.
PMCID: PMC3677633  PMID: 23766848
10.  Structure of the Discoidin Domain Receptor 1 Extracellular Region Bound to an Inhibitory Fab Fragment Reveals Features Important for Signaling 
Structure(London, England:1993)  2012;20-178(4):688-697.
The discoidin domain receptors, DDR1 and DDR2, are constitutively dimeric receptor tyrosine kinases that are activated by triple-helical collagen. Aberrant DDR signaling contributes to several human pathologies, including many cancers. We have generated monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that inhibit DDR1 signaling without interfering with collagen binding. The crystal structure of the monomeric DDR1 extracellular region bound to the Fab fragment of mAb 3E3 reveals that the collagen-binding discoidin (DS) domain is tightly associated with the following DS-like domain, which contains the epitopes of all mAbs. A conserved surface patch in the DS domain outside the collagen-binding site is shown to be required for signaling. Thus, the active conformation of the DDR1 dimer involves collagen-induced contacts between the DS domains, in addition to the previously identified association of transmembrane helices. The mAbs likely inhibit signaling by sterically blocking the extracellular association of DDR1 subunits.
Graphical Abstract
► Monoclonal antibodies inhibit DDR1 signaling without blocking collagen binding ► The DDR1 extracellular region consists of a DS and a DS-like domain ► The collagen-binding DS domain contains a patch that is essential for signaling ► The mAbs bind to the DS-like domain, preventing formation of the active DDR dimer
PMCID: PMC3320712  PMID: 22483115
11.  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.
PMCID: PMC3789102  PMID: 24137397
Keap1; NRF2; lung cancer; mutations; adenocarcinoma
12.  Lack of Association between Nuclear Factor Erythroid-Derived 2-Like 2 Promoter Gene Polymorphisms and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients 
Oxidative stress involvement has been strongly hypothesized among the possible pathogenic mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The intracellular redox balance is finely modulated by numerous complex mechanisms critical for cellular functions, among which the nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (NFE2L2/Nrf2) pathways. We genotyped, in a cohort of ALS patients (n = 145) and healthy controls (n = 168), three SNPs in Nrf2 gene promoter: −653 A/G, −651 G/A, and −617 C/A and evaluated, in a subset (n = 73) of patients, advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), iron-reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and plasma thiols (-SH) as oxidative damage peripheral biomarkers. Nrf2 polymorphisms were not different among patients and controls. Increased levels of AOPP (P < 0.05) and decreased levels of FRAP (P < 0.001) have been observed in ALS patients compared with controls, but no difference in -SH values was found. Furthermore, no association was found between biochemical markers of redox balance and Nrf2 polymorphisms. These data confirm an altered redox balance in ALS and indicate that, while being abnormally modified compared to controls, the oxidative stress biomarkers assessed in this study are independent from the −653 A/G, −651 G/A, and −617 C/A Nrf2 SNPs in ALS patients.
PMCID: PMC3941162  PMID: 24672634
13.  NRF2 and p53: Januses in cancer? 
Oncotarget  2012;3(11):1272-1283.
The transcription factor nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2, also known as NFE2L2 or NRF2, is a master regulator of the anti-oxidative stress response and positively controls the expression of a battery of anti-oxidative stress response proteins and enzymes implicated in detoxification and glutathione generation. Although its detoxifying activity is important in cancer prevention, it has recently been shown that cancer cells also exploit its protective functions to thrive and resist chemotherapy. NRF2 was also shown to the pentose phosphate pathway and glutaminolysis, which promotes purine synthesis for supporting rapid proliferation and glutathione for providing anti-oxidative stress protection. Evidence obtained from cancer patients and cell lines suggest that NRF2 is highly active in a variety of human cancers and is associated with aggressiveness. p53 is a tumor suppressor that also promotes an anti-oxidative stress metabolic program and glutaminolysis. Here we will discuss the similarities between NRF2 and p53 and review evidence that p53 might be exploited by cancer cells to gain protection against oxidative stress, as is the case for NRF2. We discuss findings of co-regulation between these transcription factors and propose possible therapeutic strategies that can be used for treatment of cancers that harbor WT p53 and express high levels of NRF2.
PMCID: PMC3717791  PMID: 23174755
P53; p73; TIGAR; p21; NQO1; NADPH; ROS; metabolism; proteasome; KEAP1; MDM2; chemotherapy; BSO; piperlongumine; BPTES; brusatol
14.  Anti-cancer and potential chemopreventive actions of ginseng by activating Nrf2 (NFE2L2) anti-oxidative stress/anti-inflammatory pathways 
Chinese Medicine  2010;5:37.
This article reviews recent basic and clinical studies of ginseng, particularly the anti-cancer effects and the potential chemopreventive actions by activating the transcriptional factor, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2 or NFE2L2)-mediated anti-oxidative stress or anti-inflammatory pathways. Nrf2 is a novel target for cancer prevention as it regulates the antioxidant responsive element (ARE), a critical regulatory element in the promoter region of genes encoding cellular phase II detoxifying and anti-oxidative stress enzymes. The studies on the chemopreventive effects of ginseng or its components/products showed that Nrf2 could also be a target for ginseng's actions. A number of papers also demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effects of ginseng. Targeting Nrf2 pathway is a novel approach to the investigation of ginseng's cancer chemopreventive actions, including some oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions responsible for the initiation, promotion and progression of carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2990743  PMID: 20979613
15.  Identification of novel NRF2-regulated genes by ChIP-Seq: influence on retinoid X receptor alpha 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(15):7416-7429.
Cellular oxidative and electrophilic stress triggers a protective response in mammals regulated by NRF2 (nuclear factor (erythroid-derived) 2-like; NFE2L2) binding to deoxyribonucleic acid-regulatory sequences near stress-responsive genes. Studies using Nrf2-deficient mice suggest that hundreds of genes may be regulated by NRF2. To identify human NRF2-regulated genes, we conducted chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-sequencing experiments in lymphoid cells treated with the dietary isothiocyanate, sulforaphane (SFN) and carried out follow-up biological experiments on candidates. We found 242 high confidence, NRF2-bound genomic regions and 96% of these regions contained NRF2-regulatory sequence motifs. The majority of binding sites were near potential novel members of the NRF2 pathway. Validation of selected candidate genes using parallel ChIP techniques and in NRF2-silenced cell lines indicated that the expression of about two-thirds of the candidates are likely to be directly NRF2-dependent including retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRA). NRF2 regulation of RXRA has implications for response to retinoid treatments and adipogenesis. In mouse, 3T3-L1 cells’ SFN treatment affected Rxra expression early in adipogenesis, and knockdown of Nrf2-delayed Rxra expression, both leading to impaired adipogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3424561  PMID: 22581777
16.  Level and course of FEV1 in relation to polymorphisms in NFE2L2 and KEAP1 in the general population 
Respiratory Research  2009;10(1):73.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2738671  PMID: 19671143
17.  A portable RNA sequence whose recognition by a synthetic antibody facilitates structural determination 
RNA crystallization and phasing represent major bottlenecks in RNA structure determination. Seeking to exploit antibody fragments as RNA crystallization chaperones, we have used an arginine-enriched synthetic Fab library displayed on phage to obtain Fabs against the class I ligase ribozyme. We solved the structure of a Fab:ligase complex at 3.1Å using molecular replacement with Fab coordinates, confirming the ribozyme architecture and revealing the chaperone’s role in RNA recognition and crystal contacts. The epitope resides in the GAAACAC sequence that caps the P5 helix and retains high-affinity Fab binding within the context of other structured RNAs. This portable epitope provides a new RNA crystallization chaperone system that easily can be screened in parallel to the U1A RNA-binding protein, with the advantages of the smaller size of the loop and high molecular weight, large surface area, and phasing power provided by Fabs.
PMCID: PMC3058332  PMID: 21151117
18.  The clinical potential of influencing Nrf2 signaling in degenerative and immunological disorders 
Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2; encoded in humans by the NFE2L2 gene) is a transcription factor that regulates the gene expression of a wide variety of cytoprotective phase II detoxification and antioxidant enzymes through a promoter sequence known as the antioxidant-responsive element (ARE). The ARE is a promoter element found in many cytoprotective genes; therefore, Nrf2 plays a pivotal role in the ARE-driven cellular defense system against environmental stresses. Agents that target the ARE/Nrf2 pathway have been tested in a wide variety of disorders, with at least one new Nrf2-activating drug now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Examination of in vitro and in vivo experimental results, and taking into account recent human clinical trial results, has led to an opinion that Nrf2-activating strategies – which can include drugs, foods, dietary supplements, and exercise – are likely best targeted at disease prevention, disease recurrence prevention, or slowing of disease progression in early stage illnesses; they may also be useful as an interventional strategy. However, this rubric may be viewed even more conservatively in the pathophysiology of cancer. The activation of the Nrf2 pathway has been widely accepted as offering chemoprevention benefit, but it may be unhelpful or even harmful in the setting of established cancers. For example, Nrf2 activation might interfere with chemotherapies or radiotherapies or otherwise give tumor cells additional growth and survival advantages, unless they already possess mutations that fully activate their Nrf2 pathway constitutively. With all this in mind, the ARE/Nrf2 pathway remains of great interest as a possible target for the pharmacological control of degenerative and immunological diseases, both by activation and by inhibition, and its regulation remains a promising biological target for the development of new therapies.
PMCID: PMC3917919  PMID: 24520207
Nrf2; detoxification; antioxidant
19.  Affinity maturation by targeted diversification of the CDR-H2 loop of a monoclonal Fab derived from a synthetic naïve human antibody library and directed against the internal trimeric coiled-coil of gp41 yields a set of Fabs with improved HIV-1 neutralization potency and breadth 
Virology  2009;393(1):112-119.
Previously we reported a broadly HIV-1 neutralizing mini-antibody (Fab 3674) of modest potency that was derived from a human non-immune phage library by panning against the chimeric gp41-derived construct NCCG-gp41. This construct presents the N-heptad repeat of the gp41 ectodomain as a stable, helical, disulfide-linked trimer that extends in helical phase from the six-helix bundle of gp41. In this paper, Fab 3674 was subjected to affinity maturation against the NCCG-gp41 antigen by targeted diversification of the CDR-H2 loop to generate a panel of Fabs with diverse neutralization activity. Three affinity-matured Fabs selected for further study, Fabs 8060, 8066 and 8068, showed significant increases in both potency and breadth of neutralization against HIV-1 pseudotyped with envelopes of primary isolates from the standard subtypes B and C HIV-1 reference panels. The parental Fab 3674 is 10-20 fold less potent in monovalent than bivalent format over the entire B and C panels of HIV-1 pseudotypes. Of note is that the improved neutralization activity of the affinity-matured Fabs relative to the parental Fab 3674 was, on average, significantly greater for the Fabs in monovalent than bivalent format. This suggests that the increased avidity of the Fabs for the target antigen in bivalent format can be partially offset by kinetic and/or steric advantages afforded by the smaller monovalent Fabs. Indeed, the best affinity-matured Fab (8066) in monovalent format (∼50 kDa) was comparable in HIV-1 neutralization potency to the parental Fab 3674 in bivalent format (∼120 kDa) across the subtypes B and C reference panels.
PMCID: PMC2759307  PMID: 19695655
20.  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.
PMCID: PMC135717  PMID: 11739690
21.  Interaction of nuclear proteins with a positive cis-acting element of rat embryonic myosin heavy-chain promoter: identification of a new transcriptional factor. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1989;9(5):1839-1849.
A DNA fragment of the rat embryonic myosin heavy-chain promoter (MHCemb) has been found to specifically bind a nuclear factor (NFe) present in extracts prepared from mouse C2 myoblasts, myotubes, and HeLa cells. The nucleotide sequence of the binding site (BSe) has been identified as 5'-GTGTCAGTCA-3' and was located between -93 and -84. Transient expression studies on MHCemb promoter deletion constructs in C2 myoblasts and C2 myotubes suggested that NFe is a transcriptional factor. Deletion of the NFe-binding site resulted in four- to sixfold and twofold reduction of promoter activity in C2 myotubes and C2 myoblasts, respectively. Furthermore, point mutations at the BSe not only abolished the NFe-binding activity of the MHCemb promoter but also resulted in reduction of the promoter activity to levels similar to those of the deletion constructs in C2 myotubes, myoblasts, and Hela cells (four- to sixfold). Although BSe and the binding site of the recently identified transcriptional factors AP-1 and ATF share significant homology, the results from competition binding assays indicated that NFe is different from both AP-1 and ATF.
PMCID: PMC362974  PMID: 2747636
22.  Characterization of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa Fatty Acid Biosynthetic Gene Cluster: Purification of Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) and Malonyl-Coenzyme A:ACP Transacylase (FabD) 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(17):5498-5504.
A DNA fragment containing the Pseudomonas aeruginosa fabD (encoding malonyl-coenzyme A [CoA]:acyl carrier protein [ACP] transacylase), fabG (encoding β-ketoacyl-ACP reductase), acpP (encoding ACP), and fabF (encoding β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase II) genes was cloned and sequenced. This fab gene cluster is delimited by the plsX (encoding a poorly understood enzyme of phospholipid metabolism) and pabC (encoding 4-amino-4-deoxychorismate lyase) genes; the fabF and pabC genes seem to be translationally coupled. The fabH gene (encoding β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III), which in most gram-negative bacteria is located between plsX and fabD, is absent from this gene cluster. A chromosomal temperature-sensitive fabD mutant was obtained by site-directed mutagenesis that resulted in a W258Q change. A chromosomal fabF insertion mutant was generated, and the resulting mutant strain contained substantially reduced levels of cis-vaccenic acid. Multiple attempts aimed at disruption of the chromosomal fabG gene were unsuccessful. We purified FabD as a hexahistidine fusion protein (H6-FabD) and ACP in its native form via an ACP-intein-chitin binding domain fusion protein, using a novel expression and purification scheme that should be applicable to ACP from other bacteria. Matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization spectroscopy, native polyacrylamide electrophoresis, and amino-terminal sequencing revealed that (i) most of the purified ACP was properly modified with its 4′-phosphopantetheine functional group, (ii) it was not acylated, and (iii) the amino-terminal methionine was removed. In an in vitro system, purified ACP functioned as acyl acceptor and H6-FabD exhibited malonyl-CoA:ACP transacylase activity.
PMCID: PMC94061  PMID: 10464226
23.  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.
PMCID: PMC3116028  PMID: 21513347
24.  Structure and pathogenicity of antibodies specific for citrullinated collagen type II in experimental arthritis 
Antibodies to citrulline-modified proteins have a high diagnostic value in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, their biological role in disease development is still unclear. To obtain insight into this question, a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies was generated against a major triple helical collagen type II (CII) epitope (position 359–369; ARGLTGRPGDA) with or without arginines modified by citrullination. These antibodies bind cartilage and synovial tissue, and mediate arthritis in mice. Detection of citrullinated CII from RA patients' synovial fluid demonstrates that cartilage-derived CII is indeed citrullinated in vivo. The structure determination of a Fab fragment of one of these antibodies in complex with a citrullinated peptide showed a surprising β-turn conformation of the peptide and provided information on citrulline recognition. Based on these findings, we propose that autoimmunity to CII, leading to the production of antibodies specific for both native and citrullinated CII, is an important pathogenic factor in the development of RA.
PMCID: PMC2646582  PMID: 19204106
25.  Characterization of crystals of an antibody-recognition fragment of the cancer differentiation antigen mesothelin in complex with the therapeutic antibody MORAb-009 
The therapeutic antibody MORAb-009 disrupts the interaction of mesothelin and the ovarian cancer antigen CA-125. Crystals have been grown of the Fab fragment derived from MORAb-009 and of its complex with an N-terminal fragment of mesothelin.
The mesothelin-specific monoclonal antibody MORAb-009 is capable of blocking the binding of mesothelin to CA-125 and displays promising anticancer potential. It is currently undergoing clinical trials. In order to understand the basis of the interaction between MORAb-009 and mesothelin at atomic resolution, both the Fab fragment of MORAb-009 and the complex between the Fab and an N-terminal fragment of mesothelin (residues 7–64) were crystallized. The crystals of the Fab diffracted X-rays to 1.75 Å resolution and had the symmetry of space group P41212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 140.6, c = 282.0 Å. The crystals of the mesothelin–Fab complex diffracted to 2.6 Å resolution and belonged to the hexagonal space group P64, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 146.2, c = 80.9 Å. Structural analyses of these molecules are in progress.
PMCID: PMC3412781  PMID: 22869130
mesothelin; MORAb-009; monoclonal antibodies

Results 1-25 (550949)