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1.  An H2A histone isotype regulates estrogen receptor target genes by mediating enhancer-promoter-3′-UTR interactions in breast cancer cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(5):3073-3088.
A replication-dependent histone H2A isotype, H2ac, is upregulated in MCF-7 cells and in estrogen receptor-positive clinical breast cancer tissues. Cellular depletion of this H2A isotype leads to defective estrogen signaling, loss of cell proliferation and cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase. H2ac mediates regulation of estrogen receptor target genes, particularly BCL2 and c-MYC, by recruiting estrogen receptor alpha through its HAR domain and facilitating the formation of a chromatin loop between the promoter, enhancer and 3′-untranslated region of the respective genes. These findings reveal a new role for histone isotypes in the regulation of gene expression in cancer cells, and suggest that these molecules may be targeted for anti-cancer drug discovery.
PMCID: PMC3950719  PMID: 24371278
2.  MicroRNA-122 plays a critical role in liver homeostasis and hepatocarcinogenesis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(8):2884-2897.
MicroRNA-122 (miR-122), which accounts for 70% of the liver’s total miRNAs, plays a pivotal role in the liver. However, its intrinsic physiological roles remain largely undetermined. We demonstrated that mice lacking the gene encoding miR-122a (Mir122a) are viable but develop temporally controlled steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These mice exhibited a striking disparity in HCC incidence based on sex, with a male-to-female ratio of 3.9:1, which recapitulates the disease incidence in humans. Impaired expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) contributed to steatosis, which was reversed by in vivo restoration of Mttp expression. We found that hepatic fibrosis onset can be partially attributed to the action of a miR-122a target, the Klf6 transcript. In addition, Mir122a–/– livers exhibited disruptions in a range of pathways, many of which closely resemble the disruptions found in human HCC. Importantly, the reexpression of miR-122a reduced disease manifestation and tumor incidence in Mir122a–/– mice. This study demonstrates that mice with a targeted deletion of the Mir122a gene possess several key phenotypes of human liver diseases, which provides a rationale for the development of a unique therapy for the treatment of chronic liver disease and HCC.
PMCID: PMC3408747  PMID: 22820290
3.  Transcription of Muscle Actin Genes by a Nuclear Form of Mitochondrial RNA Polymerase 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22583.
Actins are the major constituent of the cytoskeleton. In this report we present several lines of evidence that muscle actin genes are transcribed by nuclear isoform of mitochondrial RNA polymerase (spRNAP-IV) whereas the non-muscle actin genes are transcribed by the conventional RNA polymerase II (PolII). We show that mRNA level of muscle actin genes are resistant to PolII inhibitors α-amanitin and triptolide as well as insensitive to knockdown of PolII but not to knockdown of spRNAP-IV, in contrast to non-muscle actin genes in several cell lines. Similar results are obtained from nuclear run-on experiments. Reporter assay using muscle actin or PolII gene promoters also demonstrate the differential sensitivity to PolII inhibitors. Finally, chromatin-immunoprecipitation experiment was used to demonstrate that spRNAP-IV is associated with promoter of muscle actin genes but not with that of non-muscle gene and knockdown of spRNAP-IV depleted this polymerase from muscle actin genes. In summary, these experiments indicate that the two types of actin genes are transcribed by different transcription machinery. We also found that POLRMT gene is transcribed by spRNAP-IV, and actin genes are sensitive to oligomycin, suggesting a transcription coupling between mitochondria and nucleus.
PMCID: PMC3143168  PMID: 21799907
4.  Sequencing and Comparative Genome Analysis of Two Pathogenic Streptococcus gallolyticus Subspecies: Genome Plasticity, Adaptation and Virulence 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20519.
Streptococcus gallolyticus infections in humans are often associated with bacteremia, infective endocarditis and colon cancers. The disease manifestations are different depending on the subspecies of S. gallolyticus causing the infection. Here, we present the complete genomes of S. gallolyticus ATCC 43143 (biotype I) and S. pasteurianus ATCC 43144 (biotype II.2). The genomic differences between the two biotypes were characterized with comparative genomic analyses. The chromosome of ATCC 43143 and ATCC 43144 are 2,36 and 2,10 Mb in length and encode 2246 and 1869 CDS respectively. The organization and genomic contents of both genomes were most similar to the recently published S. gallolyticus UCN34, where 2073 (92%) and 1607 (86%) of the ATCC 43143 and ATCC 43144 CDS were conserved in UCN34 respectively. There are around 600 CDS conserved in all Streptococcus genomes, indicating the Streptococcus genus has a small core-genome (constitute around 30% of total CDS) and substantial evolutionary plasticity. We identified eight and five regions of genome plasticity in ATCC 43143 and ATCC 43144 respectively. Within these regions, several proteins were recognized to contribute to the fitness and virulence of each of the two subspecies. We have also predicted putative cell-surface associated proteins that could play a role in adherence to host tissues, leading to persistent infections causing sub-acute and chronic diseases in humans. This study showed evidence that the S. gallolyticus still possesses genes making it suitable in a rumen environment, whereas the ability for S. pasteurianus to live in rumen is reduced. The genome heterogeneity and genetic diversity among the two biotypes, especially membrane and lipoproteins, most likely contribute to the differences in the pathogenesis of the two S. gallolyticus biotypes and the type of disease an infected patient eventually develops.
PMCID: PMC3102119  PMID: 21633709
5.  Common Altered Epigenomic Domains in Cancer Cells: Characterization and Subtle Variations 
Cancers  2011;3(2):1996-2013.
We have previously identified large megabase-sized hypomethylated zones in the genome of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 using the TspRI-ExoIII technique. In this report, we used a more convenient high throughput method for mapping the hypomethylated zones in a number of human tumor genomes simultaneously. The method was validated by the bisulfite sequencing of 39 randomly chosen sites in a demethylated domain and by bisulfite genome-wide sequencing of the MCF-7 genome. This showed that the genomes of the various tumor cell lines, as well as some primary tumors, exhibit common hypomethylated domains. Interestingly, these hypomethylated domains are correlated with low CpG density distribution genome-wide, together with the histone H3K27Me3 landscape. Furthermore, they are inversely correlated with the H3K9Ac landscape and gene expression as measured in MCF-7 cells. Treatment with drugs resulted in en-bloc changes to the methylation domains. A close examination of the methylation domains found differences between non-invasive and invasive tumors with respect to tumorigenesis related genes. Taken together these results suggest that the human genome is organized in epigenomic domains that contain various different types of genes and imply that there are cis- and trans-regulators that control these domain-wide epigenetic changes and hence gene expression in the human genome. The hypomethylated domains are located in gene deserts that contain mainly tissue-specific genes and therefore we hypothesize that tumor cells keep these regions demethylated and silenced in order to save energy and resources and allow higher levels of cell proliferation and better survival (a thrifty tumor genome hypothesis).
PMCID: PMC3757401  PMID: 24212793
epigenetic; DNA methylation; histone modification; cancer
6.  Pediatric primary central nervous system germ cell tumors of different prognosis groups show characteristic miRNome traits and chromosome copy number variations 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:132.
Intracranial pediatric germ cell tumors (GCTs) are rare and heterogeneous neoplasms and vary in histological differentiation, prognosis and clinical behavior. Germinoma and mature teratoma are GCTs that have a good prognosis, while other types of GCTs, termed nongerminomatous malignant germ cell tumors (NGMGCTs), are tumors with an intermediate or poor prognosis. The second group of tumors requires more extensive drug and irradiation treatment regimens. The mechanisms underlying the differences in incidence and prognosis of the various GCT subgroups are unclear.
We identified a distinct mRNA profile correlating with GCT histological differentiation and prognosis, and also present in this study the first miRNA profile of pediatric primary intracranial GCTs. Most of the differentially expressed miRNAs were downregulated in germinomas, but miR-142-5p and miR-146a were upregulated. Genes responsible for self-renewal (such as POU5F1 (OCT4), NANOG and KLF4) and the immune response were abundant in germinomas, while genes associated with neuron differentiation, Wnt/β-catenin pathway, invasiveness and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (including SNAI2 (SLUG) and TWIST2) were abundant in NGMGCTs. Clear transcriptome segregation based on patient survival was observed, with malignant NGMGCTs being closest to embryonic stem cells. Chromosome copy number variations (CNVs) at cytobands 4q13.3-4q28.3 and 9p11.2-9q13 correlated with GCT malignancy and clinical risk. Six genes (BANK1, CXCL9, CXCL11, DDIT4L, ELOVL6 and HERC5) within 4q13.3-4q28.3 were more abundant in germinomas.
Our results integrate molecular profiles with clinical observations and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms causing GCT malignancy. The genes, pathways and microRNAs identified have the potential to be novel therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2837036  PMID: 20178649
7.  p53 Chromatin Epigenetic Domain Organization and p53 Transcription▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;29(1):93-103.
Epigenetic organization represents an important regulation mechanism of gene expression. In this work, we show that the mouse p53 gene is organized into two epigenetic domains. The first domain is fully unmethylated, associated with histone modifications in active genes, and organized in a nucleosome-free conformation that is deficient in H2a/H2b, whereas the second domain is fully methylated, associated with deacetylated histones, and organized in a nucleosomal structure. In mitotic cells, RNA polymerase is depleted in domain II, which is folded into a higher-order structure and is associated with H1 histone, whereas domain I conformation is preserved. Similar results were obtained for cells treated with inhibitors of associated regulatory factors. These results suggest that depletion of RNA polymerase II is the result of a physical barrier due to the folding of chromatin in domain II. The novel chromatin structure in the first domain during mitosis also suggests a mechanism for marking active genes in successive cell cycles.
PMCID: PMC2612499  PMID: 18936172
8.  A novel regulatory event-based gene set analysis method for exploring global functional changes in heterogeneous genomic data sets 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:26.
Analyzing gene expression data by assessing the significance of pre-defined gene sets, rather than individual genes, has become a main approach in microarray data analysis and this has promisingly derive new biological interpretations of microarray data. However, the detection power of conventional gene list or gene set-based approaches is limited on highly heterogeneous samples, such as tumors.
We developed a novel method, the regulatory event-based Gene Set Analysis (eGSA), which considers not only the consistently changed genes but also every gene regulation (event) of each sample to overcome the detection limit. In comparison with conventional methods, eGSA can detect functional changes in heterogeneous samples more precisely and robustly. Furthermore, by utilizing eGSA, we successfully revealed novel functional characteristics and potential mechanisms of very early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Our study creates a novel scheme to directly target the major cellular functional changes in heterogeneous samples. All potential regulatory routines of a functional change can be further analyzed by the regulatory event frequency. We also provide a case study on early HCCs and reveal a novel insight at the initial stage of hepatocarcinogenesis. eGSA therefore accelerates and refines the interpretation of heterogeneous genomic data sets in the absence of gene-phenotype correlations.
PMCID: PMC2637897  PMID: 19146704
9.  easyExon – A Java-based GUI tool for processing and visualization of Affymetrix exon array data 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:432.
Alternative RNA splicing greatly increases proteome diversity and thereby contribute to species- or tissue-specific functions. The possibility to study alternative splicing (AS) events on a genomic scale using splicing-sensitive microarrays, including the Affymetrix GeneChip Exon 1.0 ST microarray (exon array), has appeared very recently. However, the application of this new technology is hindered by the lack of free and user-friendly software devoted to these novel platforms.
In this study we present a Java-based freeware, easyExon , to process, filtrate and visualize exon array data with an analysis pipeline. This tool implements the most commonly used probeset summarization methods as well as AS-orientated filtration algorithms, e.g. MIDAS and PAC, for the detection of alternative splicing events. We include a biological filtration function according to GO terms, and provide a module to visualize and interpret the selected exons and transcripts. Furthermore, easyExon can integrate with other related programs, such as Integrate Genome Browser (IGB) and Affymetrix Power Tools (APT), to make the whole analysis more comprehensive. We applied easyExon on a public accessible colon cancer dataset as an example to illustrate the analysis pipeline of this tool.
EasyExon can efficiently process and analyze the Affymetrix exon array data. The simplicity, flexibility and brevity of easyExon make it a valuable tool for AS event identification in genomic research.
PMCID: PMC2579307  PMID: 18851762
10.  Identification of CD133-Positive Radioresistant Cells in Atypical Teratoid/ Rhabdoid Tumor 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(5):e2090.
Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) is an extremely malignant neoplasm in the central nervous system (CNS) which occurs in infancy and childhood. Recent studies suggested that CD133 could be considered a marker for brain cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). However, the role of CD133 in AT/RT has never been investigated. Herein we report the isolation of CD133-positive cells (CD133+), found to have the potential to differentiate into three germ layer tissues, from tissues of nine AT/RT patients. The migration/invasion/malignancy and radioresistant capabilities of CD133+ were significantly augmented when compared to CD133−. The clinical data showed that the amount of CD133+ in AT/RTs correlated positively with the degree of resistance to radiation therapy. Using cDNA microarray analysis, the genotoxic–response profiles of CD133+ and CD133− irradiated with 10 Gy ionizing radiation (IR) were analyzed 0.5, 2, 6, 12 and 24 h post-IR. We then validated these microarray data and showed increased phosphorylation after IR of p-ATM, p-RAD17, and p-CHX2 as well as increased expression of BCL-2 protein in CD133+ compared to CD133−. Furthermore, we found that CD133+ can effectively resist IR with cisplatin- and/or TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the up-regulated expression of p-ATM and BCL-2 proteins in IR-treated CD133+ xenotransgrafts in SCID mice but not in IR-treated CD133−. Importantly, the effect of IR in CD133+ transplanted mice can be significantly improved by a combination of BCL-2 siRNA with debromohymenialdisine, an inhibitor of checkpoint kinases. In sum, this is the first report indicating that CD133+ AT/RT cells demonstrate the characteristics of CSCs. The IR-resistant and anti-apoptotic properties in CD133+ may reflect the clinical refractory malignancy of AT/RTs and thus the activated p-ATM pathway and BCL-2 expression in CD133+ could be possible targets to improve future treatment of deadly diseases like AT/RT.
PMCID: PMC2396792  PMID: 18509505
11.  Signature Evaluation Tool (SET): a Java-based tool to evaluate and visualize the sample discrimination abilities of gene expression signatures 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:58.
The identification of specific gene expression signature for distinguishing sample groups is a dominant field in cancer research. Although a number of tools have been developed to identify optimal gene expression signatures, the number of signature genes obtained is often overly large to be applied clinically. Furthermore, experimental verification is sometimes limited by the availability of wet-lab materials such as antibodies and reagents. A tool to evaluate the discrimination power of candidate genes is therefore in high demand by clinical researchers.
Signature Evaluation Tool (SET) is a Java-based tool adopting the Golub's weighted voting algorithm as well as incorporating the visual presentation of prediction strength for each array sample. SET provides a flexible and easy-to-follow platform to evaluate the discrimination power of a gene signature. Here, we demonstrated the application of SET for several purposes: (1) for signatures consisting of a large number of genes, SET offers the ability to rapidly narrow down the number of genes; (2) for a given signature (from third party analyses or user-defined), SET can re-evaluate and re-adjust its discrimination power by selecting/de-selecting genes repeatedly; (3) for multiple microarray datasets, SET can evaluate the classification capability of a signature among datasets; and (4) by providing a module to visualize the prediction strength for each sample, SET allows users to re-evaluate the discrimination power on mis-grouped or less-certain samples. Information obtained from the above applications could be useful in prognostic analyses or clinical management decisions.
Here we present SET to evaluate and visualize the sample-discrimination ability of a given gene expression signature. This tool provides a filtration function for signature identification and lies between clinical analyses and class prediction (or feature selection) tools. The simplicity, flexibility and brevity of SET could make it an invaluable tool for marker identification in clinical research.
PMCID: PMC2248562  PMID: 18221568
12.  Interference of the Simian Virus 40 Origin of Replication by the Cytomegalovirus Immediate Early Gene Enhancer: Evidence for Competition of Active Regulatory Chromatin Conformation in a Single Domain 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(11):4062-4074.
Replication origins are often found closely associated with transcription regulatory elements in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. To examine the relationship between these two elements, we studied the effect of a strong promoter-enhancer on simian virus 40 (SV40) DNA replication. The human cytomegalovirus (CMV) immediate early gene enhancer-promoter was found to exert a strong inhibitory effect on SV40 origin-based plasmid replication in Cos-1 cells in a position- and dose-dependent manner. Deletion analysis indicated that the effect was exerted by sequences located in the enhancer portion of the CMV sequence, thus excluding the mechanism of origin occlusion by transcription. Insertion of extra copies of the SV40 origin only partially alleviated the inhibition. Analysis of nuclease-sensitive cleavage sites of chromatin containing the transfected plasmids indicate that the chromatin was cleaved at one of the regulatory sites in the plasmids containing more than one regulatory site, suggesting that only one nuclease-hypersensitive site existed per chromatin. A positive correlation was found between the degree of inhibition of DNA replication and the decrease of P1 cleavage frequency at the SV40 origin. The CMV enhancer was also found to exhibit an inhibitory effect on the CMV enhancer-promoter driving chloramphenicol acetyltransferase expression in a dose-dependent manner. Together these results suggest that inhibition of SV40 origin-based DNA replication by the CMV enhancer is due to intramolecular competition for the formation of active chromatin structure.
PMCID: PMC85776  PMID: 10805748
13.  Electron Microscope Analysis of Partial Denaturation of F Factor Deoxyribonucleic Acid 
Journal of Bacteriology  1974;118(2):425-433.
Partial denaturation pattern of sex factor deoxyribonucleic acid of Escherichia coli was studied by electron microscopy. Clustering of the adenine-plusthymine-rich regions in one part of the molecule was revealed. The positions of these regions were located on the physical map of F by analyzing the partial denaturation pattern of heteroduplexes between F and F-prime factors with various parts of F sequences deleted.
PMCID: PMC246774  PMID: 4597443

Results 1-13 (13)