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1.  Direct ChIP-Seq significance analysis improves target prediction 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(Suppl 5):S4.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing of protein-bound DNA fragments (ChIP-Seq) is an effective high-throughput methodology for the identification of context specific DNA fragments that are bound by specific proteins in vivo. Despite significant progress in the bioinformatics analysis of this genome-scale data, a number of challenges remain as technology-dependent biases, including variable target accessibility and mappability, sequence-dependent variability, and non-specific binding affinity must be accounted for.
Results and discussion
We introduce a nonparametric method for scoring consensus regions of aligned immunoprecipitated DNA fragments when appropriate control experiments are available. Our method uses local models for null binding; these are necessary because binding prediction scores based on global models alone fail to properly account for specialized features of genomic regions and chance pull downs of specific DNA fragments, thus disproportionally rewarding some genomic regions and decreasing prediction accuracy. We make no assumptions about the structure or amplitude of bound peaks, yet we show that our method outperforms leading methods developed using either global or local null hypothesis models for random binding. We test prediction performance by comparing analyses of ChIP-seq, ChIP-chip, motif-based binding-site prediction, and shRNA assays, showing high reproducibility, binding-site enrichment in predicted target regions, and functional regulation of predicted targets.
Given appropriate controls, a direct nonparametric method for identifying transcription-factor targets from ChIP-Seq assays may lead to both higher sensitivity and higher specificity, and should be preferred or used in conjunction with methods that use parametric models for null binding.
PMCID: PMC4460594  PMID: 26040656
ChIP-Seq; peak calling; protein-DNA binding sites
2.  Reduced Proficiency in Homologous Recombination Underlies the High Sensitivity of Embryonal Carcinoma Testicular Germ Cell Tumors to Cisplatin and Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51563.
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors (TGCT) and patient-derived cell lines are extremely sensitive to cisplatin and other interstrand cross-link (ICL) inducing agents. Nevertheless, a subset of TGCTs are either innately resistant or acquire resistance to cisplatin during treatment. Understanding the mechanisms underlying TGCT sensitivity/resistance to cisplatin as well as the identification of novel strategies to target cisplatin-resistant TGCTs have major clinical implications. Herein, we have examined the proficiency of five embryonal carcinoma (EC) cell lines to repair cisplatin-induced ICLs. Using γH2AX staining as a marker of double strand break formation, we found that EC cell lines were either incapable of or had a reduced ability to repair ICL-induced damage. The defect correlated with reduced Homologous Recombination (HR) repair, as demonstrated by the reduction of RAD51 foci formation and by direct evaluation of HR efficiency using a GFP-reporter substrate. HR-defective tumors cells are known to be sensitive to the treatment with poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. In line with this observation, we found that EC cell lines were also sensitive to PARP inhibitor monotherapy. The magnitude of sensitivity correlated with HR-repair reduced proficiency and with the expression levels and activity of PARP1 protein. In addition, we found that PARP inhibition strongly enhanced the response of the most resistant EC cells to cisplatin, by reducing their ability to overcome the damage. These results point to a reduced proficiency of HR repair as a source of sensitivity of ECs to ICL-inducing agents and PARP inhibitor monotherapy, and suggest that pharmacological inhibition of PARP can be exploited to target the stem cell component of the TGCTs (namely ECs) and to enhance the sensitivity of cisplatin-resistant TGCTs to standard treatments.
PMCID: PMC3520950  PMID: 23251575
3.  Role of promoter hypermethylation in Cisplatin treatment response of male germ cell tumors 
Molecular Cancer  2004;3:16.
Male germ cell tumor (GCT) is a highly curable malignancy, which exhibits exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin treatment. The genetic pathway(s) that determine the chemotherapy sensitivity in GCT remain largely unknown.
We studied epigenetic changes in relation to cisplatin response by examining promoter hypermethylation in a cohort of resistant and sensitive GCTs. Here, we show that promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A and HIC1 genes is associated with resistance. The promoter hypermethylation and/or the down-regulated expression of MGMT is seen in the majority of tumors. We hypothesize that these epigenetic alterations affecting MGMT play a major role in the exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin, characteristic of GCTs. We also demonstrate that cisplatin treatment induce de novo promoter hypermethylation in vivo. In addition, we show that the acquired cisplatin resistance in vitro alters the expression of specific genes and the highly resistant cells fail to reactivate gene expression after treatment to demethylating and histone deacetylase inhibiting agents.
Our findings suggest that promoter hypermethylation of RASSF1A and HIC1 genes play a role in resistance of GCT, while the transcriptional inactivation of MGMT by epigenetic alterations confer exquisite sensitivity to cisplatin. These results also implicate defects in epigenetic pathways that regulate gene transcription in cisplatin resistant GCT.
PMCID: PMC420487  PMID: 15149548
4.  Characteristic promoter hypermethylation signatures in male germ cell tumors 
Molecular Cancer  2002;1:8.
Human male germ cell tumors (GCTs) arise from undifferentiated primordial germ cells (PGCs), a stage in which extensive methylation reprogramming occurs. GCTs exhibit pluripotentality and are highly sensitive to cisplatin therapy. The molecular basis of germ cell (GC) transformation, differentiation, and exquisite treatment response is poorly understood.
To assess the role and mechanism of promoter hypermethylation, we analyzed CpG islands of 21 gene promoters by methylation-specific PCR in seminomatous (SGCT) and nonseminomatous (NSGCT) GCTs. We found 60% of the NSGCTs demonstrating methylation in one or more gene promoters whereas SGCTs showed a near-absence of methylation, therefore identifying distinct methylation patterns in the two major histologies of GCT. DNA repair genes MGMT, RASSF1A, and BRCA1, and a transcriptional repressor gene HIC1, were frequently methylated in the NSGCTs. The promoter hypermethylation was associated with gene silencing in most methylated genes, and reactivation of gene expression occured upon treatment with 5-Aza-2' deoxycytidine in GCT cell lines.
Our results, therefore, suggest a potential role for epigenetic modification of critical tumor suppressor genes in pathways relevant to GC transformation, differentiation, and treatment response.
PMCID: PMC149411  PMID: 12495446
Germ cell tumor; promoter hypermethylation; MGMT; RASSF1A; BRCA1; gene expression
5.  Chronic renal disease, myotonic dystrophy, and gonadoblastoma in XY gonadal dysgenesis 
Journal of Medical Genetics  1982;19(1):73-76.
A patient with XY gonadal dysgenesis and gonadoblastoma showed myotonic dystrophy and chronic renal disease of unknown aetiology. The coexistence of renal disease and XY gonadal dysgenesis in this and two other subjects suggests a presently obscure aetiological relationship between the phenomena.
PMCID: PMC1048825  PMID: 7069752
6.  Subtyping of renal cortical neoplasms in fine needle aspiration biopsies using a decision tree based on genomic alterations detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization 
Bju International  2014;114(6):881-890.
To improve the overall accuracy of diagnosis in needle biopsies of renal masses, especially small renal masses (SRMs), using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and to develop a renal cortical neoplasm classification decision tree based on genomic alterations detected by FISH.
Patients and Methods
Ex vivo fine needle aspiration biopsies of 122 resected renal cortical neoplasms were subjected to FISH using a series of seven-probe sets to assess gain or loss of 10 chromosomes and rearrangement of the 11q13 locus. Using specimen (nephrectomy)-histology as the ‘gold standard’, a genomic aberration-based decision tree was generated to classify specimens. The diagnostic potential of the decision tree was assessed by comparing the FISH-based classification and biopsy histology with specimen histology.
Of the 114 biopsies diagnostic by either method, a higher diagnostic yield was achieved by FISH (92 and 96%) than histology alone (82 and 84%) in the 65 biopsies from SRMs (<4 cm) and 49 from larger masses, respectively. An optimized decision tree was constructed based on aberrations detected in eight chromosomes, by which the maximum concordance of classification achieved by FISH was 79%, irrespective of mass size. In SRMs, the overall sensitivity of diagnosis by FISH compared with histopathology was higher for benign oncocytoma, was similar for the chromophobe renal cell carcinoma subtype, and was lower for clear-cell and papillary subtypes. The diagnostic accuracy of classification of needle biopsy specimens (from SRMs) increased from 80% obtained by histology alone to 94% when combining histology and FISH.
The present study suggests that a novel FISH assay developed by us has a role to play in assisting in the yield and accuracy of diagnosis of renal cortical neoplasms in needle biopsies in particular, and can help guide the clinical management of patients with SRMs that were non-diagnostic by histology.
PMCID: PMC4257075  PMID: 24467611
renal cell carcinoma; fine needle aspiration biopsies; fluorescence in situ hybridization; classification; algorithm; oncocytoma

Results 1-6 (6)