Substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) is a key basal ganglia output nucleus critical for movement control. Its γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing projection neurons intermingle with nigral dopamine (DA) neuron dendrites. Here we show that SNr GABA neurons co-express dopamine D1 and D5 receptor mRNAs and also mRNA for TRPC3 channels. Dopamine induced an inward current in these neurons and increased their firing frequency. These effects were mimicked by D1-like agonists, blocked by a D1-like antagonist. D1-like receptor blockade reduced SNr GABA neuron firing frequency and increased their firing irregularity. These D1-like effects were absent in D1 or D5 receptor knockout mice and inhibited by intracellularly applied D1 or D5 receptor antibody. These D1-like effects were also inhibited when the tonically active TRPC3 channels were inhibited by intracellularly applied TRPC3 channel antibody. Furthermore, stimulation of DA neurons induced a direct inward current in SNr GABA neurons that was sensitive to D1-like blockade. Manipulation of DA neuron activity and DA release and inhibition of dopamine reuptake affected SNr GABA neuron activity in a D1-like receptor-dependent manner. Taken together, our findings indicate that dendritically released dopamine tonically excites SNr GABA neurons via D1-D5 receptor co-activation that enhances constitutively active TRPC3 channels, forming an ultra-short SNc→SNr dopamine pathway that regulates the firing intensity and pattern of these basal ganglia output neurons.
basal ganglia; dopamine receptor; spontaneous firing; substantia nigra pars reticulata; TRP channel; Parkinson’s disease
A phase III clinical trial has already shown the survival benefits of postoperative chemotherapy in gastric cancer. However, there are limited published data concerning the elderly. This study aims to investigate the use of adjuvant chemotherapy for gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy among the elderly and identify its impact on survival.
We retrospectively reviewed 360 patients who had undergone D2 gastrectomy, aged 65 years or older, with non-metastatic gastric cancer in a single institution. We analyzed the predictors and survival benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy use in the elderly. Further, we analyzed the survival benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy by dividing the patients into groups according to disease stages and chemotherapeutic regimens.
Among the 360 patients, only 34.7% of patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Age, tumor location, lymph node involvement and tumor invasion were associated with the receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy. Adjuvant chemotherapy improved the overall survival for non-metastatic elderly patients (HR 0.60, 95%CI 0.42–0.83, P = 0.003). Significant survival benefits were found with adjuvant chemotherapy in stage III patients (HR 0.67, 95%CI 0.47–0.97, P = 0.033), but not in stage I patients or in stage II patients (HR 0.52, 95%CI 0.21–1.30 P = 0.161). Compared to adjuvant chemotherapy without platinum, no significant survival benefits were observed with platinum-containing chemotherapy (HR 0.84, 95%CI 0.49–1.45, P = 0.530). Besides adjuvant chemotherapy, other independent prognostic factors of survival included tumor location, tumor size, histologic grade, depth of tumor invasion, and lymph node status.
This study demonstrated the survival benefits of adjuvant fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy among the elderly patients with non-metastatic gastric cancer after D2 gastrectomy. However, due to the limitations of this study, further well-designed prospective studies with large populations are needed to confirm these findings and identify the patients that can tolerate and benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) released in the brain by HIV-activated macrophages/microglia is suspected to compromise neuronal survival. Previously, we have demonstrated that activated receptor for insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-IR) protects neurons from TNFαinduced neuronal damage (Wang et al.  J. Neurosci. Res. 83:7–18). Because TNFα triggers phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) on serine residues (pS-IRS-1; Rui et al.  J. Clin. Invest. 107:181–189), and pS-IRS-1 binds integrins (Reiss et al.  Oncogene 20:490–500), we asked how these events affect neuronal processes. We show that β1-integrin and pS-IRS-1 colocalize in PC12 cells and in primary cortical neurons. TNFα treatment elevated membrane-associated pS-IRS-1, enhanced pSIRS-1 interaction with β1-integrin, and attenuated cell attachment to collagen IV. In contrast, IGF-I inhibited pS-IRS-1–β1-integrin complexes and improved cell attachment. The domain of IRS-1 involved in β1-integrin binding mapped between amino acids 426 and 740, and the expression of 426–740/IRS-1 mutant attenuated neuronal outgrowth. Our results indicate that TNFα facilitates the interaction of pS-IRS-1 and β1-integrin and destabilizes neuronal processes. IGF-I counteracts TNFα-mediated accumulation of pS-IRS-1–β1-integrin complexes supporting the stability of neuronal processes.
IRS-1; integrins; TNFα; IGF-I; neuronal damage
Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has opened new avenues for the investigation of heart diseases, drug screening and potential autologous cardiac regeneration. However, their application is hampered by inefficient cardiac differentiation, high interline variability, and poor maturation of iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (iPS-CMs). To identify efficient inducers for cardiac differentiation and maturation of iPSCs and elucidate the mechanisms, we systematically screened sixteen cardiomyocyte inducers on various murine (m) iPSCs and found that only ascorbic acid (AA) consistently and robustly enhanced the cardiac differentiation of eleven lines including eight without spontaneous cardiogenic potential. We then optimized the treatment conditions and demonstrated that differentiation day 2-6, a period for the specification of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs), was a critical time for AA to take effect. This was further confirmed by the fact that AA increased the expression of cardiovascular but not mesodermal markers. Noteworthily, AA treatment led to approximately 7.3-fold (miPSCs) and 30.2-fold (human iPSCs) augment in the yield of iPS-CMs. Such effect was attributed to a specific increase in the proliferation of CPCs via the MEK-ERK1/2 pathway by through promoting collagen synthesis. In addition, AA-induced cardiomyocytes showed better sarcomeric organization and enhanced responses of action potentials and calcium transients to β-adrenergic and muscarinic stimulations. These findings demonstrate that AA is a suitable cardiomyocyte inducer for iPSCs to improve cardiac differentiation and maturation simply, universally, and efficiently. These findings also highlight the importance of stimulating CPC proliferation by manipulating extracellular microenvironment in guiding cardiac differentiation of the pluripotent stem cells.
induced pluripotent stem cells; ascorbic acid; cardiomyocytes; cardiac progenitor cells
The novel compound JRS-15 was obtained through the chemical modification of xylocydine. JRS-15 exhibited much stronger cytotoxic and pro-apoptotic activity than its parent compound in various cancer cell lines, with IC50 values in HeLa, HepG2, SK-HEP-1, PC-3M and A549 cells ranging from 12.42 to 28.25 μM. In addition, it is more potent for killing cancer than non-cancerous cells. Mechanistic studies showed that JRS-15 treatment arrested cell cycle at the G1/S phase, which further triggered the translocation of Bax and Bak to the mitochondria, resulting in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) depolarization and the subsequent release of cytochrome c and the second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (Smac). The sequential activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3/7 and the cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were observed following these mitochondrial events. Caspase-8, an initiator caspase that is required to activate the membrane receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptosis pathway was not activated in JRS-15-treated cells. Further analysis showed that the levels of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and XIAP were significantly reduced upon JRS-15 treatment. Furthermore, the caspase-9 inhibitor z-LEHD-fmk, the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk, and Bcl-xL or XIAP overexpression all effectively prevented JRS-15-induced apoptosis. Taken together, these results indicate that JRS-15 induces cancer cell apoptosis by regulating multiple apoptosis-related proteins, and this compound may therefore be a good candidate reagent for anticancer therapy.
apoptosis; Bax; Bak; Bcl-xL; cell cycle; cytochrome c; JRS-15; Smac; XIAP
Hypersensitivity diseases are associated with many severe human illnesses, including leprosy and tuberculosis. Emerging evidence suggests that the pathogenesis and pathological mechanisms of treating these diseases may be attributable to sphingolipid metabolism.
High performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry was employed to target and measure 43 core sphingolipids in the plasma, kidneys, livers and spleens of BALB/c mice from four experimental groups: control, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) model, DTH+triptolide, and control+triptolide. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) was used to identify potential biomarkers associated with variance between groups. Relationships between the identified biomarkers and disease markers were evaluated by Spearman correlation.
As a treatment to hypersensitivity disease, triptolide significantly inhibit the ear swelling and recover the reduction of splenic index caused by DTH. The sphingolipidomic result revealed marked alterations in sphingolipid levels between groups that were associated with the effects of the disease and triptolide treatment. Based on this data, 23 potential biomarkers were identified by OPLS-DA, and seven of these biomarkers correlated markedly with the disease markers (p<0.05) by Spearman correlation.
These data indicate that differences in sphingolipid levels in plasma and tissues are related to DTH and treatment with triptolide. Restoration of proper sphingolipid levels may attribute to the therapeutic effect of triptolide treatment. Furthermore, these findings demonstrate that targeted sphingolipidomic analysis followed by multivariate analysis presents a novel strategy for the identification of biomarkers in biological samples.
Generalized vitiligo is the most common pigmentation disorder, the result of autoimmune loss of melanocytes from the skin and hair, with a high frequency of other autoimmune diseases in vitiligo patients and their relatives. We previously reported the linkage signals on chromosomes 1, 7, and 17 in Caucasian families with generalized vitiligo and associated autoimmune diseases and identified the risk loci of chromosomes 17 and 1 as NLRP1 (NALP1) and FOXD3, respectively. Here, we describe fine-scale genetic association analyses in two independent series of Caucasian multiplex families, refining localization of the chromosome 7 locus and a locus on chromosome 9. Three susceptibility signals, represented by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs6960920 in 7p13, rs734930 in 7q11, and rs4744411 in 9q22, were significantly associated with vitiligo and other autoimmune diseases. We also detected significant three-way interaction effects of chromosome 7 SNP rs6960920, chromosome 9 SNP rs4744411, and NLRP1 SNP rs6502867 on both the vitiligo phenotype and an expanded autoimmune disease phenotype, and significant three-way interaction effects of both chromosome 7 SNPs and NLRP1 SNP rs6502867 on the vitiligo phenotype. These support the validity of the chromosomes 7 and 9 linkage/association signals and underscore the utility of gene-gene interaction analysis in characterizing the genetic effects of candidate association signals.
In previous linkage and genome-wide association studies we identified 17 susceptibility loci for generalized vitiligo. By a second genome-wide association study, meta-analysis, and independent replication study, we have now identified 13 additional vitiligo-associated loci, including OCA2-HERC2, a region of 16q24.3 containing MC1R, a region of chromosome 11q21 near TYR, several immunoregulatory loci including IFIH1, CD80, CLNK, BACH2, SLA, CASP7, CD44, IKZF4, SH2B3, and a region of 22q13.2 where the causal gene remains uncertain. Functional pathway analysis shows that most vitiligo susceptibility loci encode immunoregulatory proteins or melanocyte components that likely mediate immune targeting and genetic relationships among vitiligo, malignant melanoma, and normal variation of eye, skin, and hair color.
(De)acetylation of histone and non-histone proteins is an important post-translational modification affecting many cellular processes. Here we report that NuA4 acetylation of Sip2, one of three regulatory β subunits of Snf1 complex (yeast AMP-activated protein kinase), decreases as cells age. We used mutations at four acetylation sites, K12, 16, 17 and 256, to study acetyl-Sip2 function. Sip2 acetylation, controlled by antagonizing NuA4 acetyltransferase and Rpd3 deacetylase, enhances interaction with Snf1, the catalytic subunit of Snf1 complex. Sip2-Snf1 interaction inhibits Snf1 activity, thus decreasing phosphorylation of a downstream target, Sch9 (homolog of Akt/S6K), ultimately leads to slower growth but extends replicative lifespan. Sip2 acetylation mimetics are more resistant to oxidative stress. We further demonstrate that the anti-aging effect of Sip2 acetylation is independent of extrinsic nutrient availability and TORC1 activity. We propose a novel protein acetylation- phosphorylation cascade that regulates Sch9 activity, controls intrinsic aging and extends replicative lifespan in yeast.
Cyclin A-Cdk2, a cell cycle regulated Ser/Thr kinase, plays important roles in a variety of apoptoticprocesses. However, the mechanism of cyclin A-Cdk2 regulated apoptosis remains unclear. Here, we demonstrated that Rad9, a member of the BH3-only subfamily of Bcl-2 proteins, could be phosphorylated by cyclin A-Cdk2 in vitro and in vivo. Cyclin A-Cdk2 catalyzed the phosphorylation of Rad9 at serine 328 in HeLa cells during apoptosis induced by etoposide, an inhibitor of topoisomeraseII. The phosphorylation of Rad9 resulted in its translocation from the nucleus to the mitochondria and its interaction with Bcl-xL. The forced activation of cyclin A-Cdk2 in these cells by the overexpression of cyclin A,triggered Rad9 phosphorylation at serine 328 and thereby promoted the interaction of Rad9 with Bcl-xL and the subsequent initiation of the apoptotic program. The pro-apoptotic effects regulated by the cyclin A-Cdk2 complex were significantly lower in cells transfected with Rad9S328A, an expression vector that encodes a Rad9 mutant that is resistant to cyclin A-Cdk2 phosphorylation. These findings suggest that cyclin A-Cdk2 regulates apoptosis through a mechanism that involves Rad9phosphorylation.
Elevated expression of specific transposable elements (TEs) has been observed in several neurodegenerative disorders. TEs also can be active during normal neurogenesis. By mining a series of deep sequencing datasets of protein-RNA interactions and of gene expression profiles, we uncovered extensive binding of TE transcripts to TDP-43, an RNA-binding protein central to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Second, we find that association between TDP-43 and many of its TE targets is reduced in FTLD patients. Third, we discovered that a large fraction of the TEs to which TDP-43 binds become de-repressed in mouse TDP-43 disease models. We propose the hypothesis that TE mis-regulation contributes to TDP-43 related neurodegenerative diseases.
Melanoma antigen D1 (MAGED1) is a member of the type II melanoma antigen (MAGE) family. The down-regulation of MAGED1 expression has been shown in breast carcinoma cell lines and in glioma stem cells and may play an important role in apoptosis and anti-tumorigenesis. However, there is no report on its clinical role in colorectal cancer (CRC).
We examined the expression of MAGED1 by qPCR in colorectal cancer tissues and their adjacent non-tumorous tissues taken from 6 cases and performed Western blotting and IHC analyses. In addition, we analyzed MAGED1 expression in 285 clinicopathologically characterized colorectal cancer patients.
MAGED1 expression was significantly down-regulated in colorectal cancer tissues compared with adjacent non-tumorous tissues and was associated with clinical stage (p < 0.001), T classification (p = 0.001), N classification (p < 0.001), M classification (p < 0.001) and pathologic differentiation (p = 0.002). Patients with lower MAGED1 expression had a shorter survival time than those with higher MAGED1 expression. Univariate and multivariate analyses indicated that MAGED1 expression was an independent prognostic factors (p < 0.001).
MAGED1 may serve as a novel prognostic biomarker of human colorectal cancer.
MAGED1; Colorectal cancer; Melanoma antigen and prognosis
The bacterial enzyme chondroitinase ABC (ChABC), which cleaves chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains, can degrade inhibitory scar tissue formed following spinal cord injury, thereby promoting axonal growth and regeneration. However, delivering the active enzyme for prolonged periods presents practical limitations. To overcome these problems, we prepared a lentiviral vector (LV) encoding chondroitinase AC (Chase) together with the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter (Chase/LV) and demonstrated its expression and enzymatic activity in vitro and in vivo. Neural precursor cells infected with Chase/LV expressed the GFP reporter at levels that increased dramatically with time in culture. Enzymatic activity from the supernatant of the infected cells was demonstrated by dot blot assay using an antibody that recognizes the digested form of CSPG and was compared with the bacterial ChABC enzyme. Chick DRG cultures plated adjacent to the CSPG border and incubated with supernatant from Chase/LV-infected cells showed neurites growing into the CSPG area, a response similar to that after treatment with ChABC. In contrast, in control cultures, the neurites turned to avoid the inhibitory CSPG interface. Degradation of CSPG in these cultures was confirmed by specific CSPG antibodies. A single injection of Chase/LV into the spinal cord resulted in sustained secretion of the enzyme, whose activity was detected for 8 weeks by expression of GFP and evidence of the digested form of CSPG. This study demonstrates the efficacy of the Chase/LV vector and its potential as a therapeutic tool to reduce scar inhibition and promote axonal growth and repair following central nervous system injury.
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan; chondroitinase; axonal growth; spinal cord injury; gene therapy
First identified as histone-modifying proteins, lysine acetyltranferases (KATs) and deacetylases (KDACs) antagonize each other through modification of the side chains of lysine residues in histone proteins1. (De)acetylation of many non-histone proteins involved in chromatin, metabolism or cytoskeleton regulation were further identified in eukaryotic organisms2–6, but the corresponding modifying enzymes and substrate-specific functions of the modification are unclear. Moreover, mechanisms underlying functional specificity of individual KDACs7 remain enigmatic, and the substrate spectra of each KDAC lack comprehensive definition. Here we dissect the functional specificity of twelve critical human KDACs using a genome-wide synthetic lethality screen8–13 in cultured human cells. The genetic interaction profiles revealed enzyme-substrate relationships between individual KDACs and many important substrates governing a wide array of biological processes including metabolism, development and cell cycle progression. We further confirmed that (de)acetylation of the catalytic subunit of the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a critical cellular energy-sensing protein kinase complex, is controlled by the opposing catalytic activities of HDAC1 and p300. Its deacetylation enhances physical interaction with the upstream kinase LKB1, in turn leading to AMPK phosphorylation and activation, resulting in lipid breakdown in human liver cells. These findings provide new insights into previously underappreciated metabolism-regulatory roles of HDAC1 in coordinating nutrient availability and cellular responses upstream of AMPK, and demonstrate the importance of high-throughput genetic interaction profiling to elucidate functional specificity and critical substrates of individual human KDACs potentially valuable for therapeutic applications.
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) provide an attractive cell source for basic research and disease treatment. Currently, the common culture system for mouse ESC requires mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) as a feeder layer supplemented with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). The drawbacks associated with MEF and the cost of LIF have motivated exploration of new feeder cell types to maintain self-renewal of mouse ESCs without the need of exogenous LIF. However, why these feeder cells could maintain ESCs at the undifferentiated state independent of exogenous LIF is unclear.
We derived mouse ESC lines using human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) in the absence of exogenous LIF. We also examined the dependence of HFF on the JAK-Stat3 pathway to maintain ESC identities and explored the potential molecular basis for HFF to support self-renewal of ESCs.
HFF supported mouse ESC self-renewal superiorly to MEFs. Using the HFF system, multiple lines of mouse ESCs were successfully derived without addition of exogenous LIF and any small molecular inhibitors. These ESCs had capacities to self-renew for a long period of time and to differentiate into various cell types of the three germ layers both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the ESCs participated in embryonic development and contributed to germ cell lineages in the chimeric mouse. At a molecular level, HFF was dependent on the JAK-Stat3 pathway to maintain ESC self-renewal. The high level of interleukin-6 (IL-6) produced by HFF might be responsible for the exogenous LIF-independent effect.
This study describes an efficient, convenient and economic system to establish and maintain mouse ESC lines, and provides insights into the functional difference in the support of ESC culture between MEF and HFF.
Platelets contain mRNAs and are capable of translating mRNA into protein and it has been previously demonstrated that platelets increase their levels of integrin β3 over time while in Blood Bank storage conditions. We are unaware of prior attempts to introduce nucleic acids into platelets. Considering the potential clinical and research utility of manipulating platelet gene expression, we tested whether small inhibitory RNAs (siRNAs) could be transfected into normal human platelets. Multiple conditions were tested, including lipofectamine vs. electroporation, different amounts of siRNA, the effect of different buffers and the presence of plasma during transfection, and the time for optimal siRNA incorporation after transfection. Using flow cytometry to assess transfection efficiency, we found that optimal transfection was obtained using Lipofectamine, washed platelets and 400 pmoles siRNA. Cell-sorting of transfected platelets suggested the incorporated siRNA was able to knockdown the level of a targeted mRNA. This is the first ever demonstration that nucleic acids can be introduced directly into platelets, and offers proof-of-concept for manipulating gene expression in platelets by non-viral methods. Future technical improvements may permit improving the quality and/or lifespan of stored human platelets.
Transplantation of neural progenitors remains a promising therapeutic approach to spinal cord injury (SCI), but the anatomical and functional evaluation of their effects is complex, particularly when using human cells. We investigated the outcome of transplanting human glial-restricted progenitors (hGRP) and astrocytes derived from hGRP (hGDA) in spinal cord contusion with respect to cell fate and host response using athymic rats to circumvent xenograft immune issues. Nine days after injury hGRP, hGDA, or medium were injected into the lesion center and rostral and caudal to the lesion, followed by behavioral testing for 8 weeks. Both hGRP and hGDA showed robust graft survival and extensive migration. The total number of cells increased 3.5-fold for hGRP, and twofold for hGDA, indicating graft expansion, but few proliferating cells remained by 8 weeks. Grafted cells differentiated into glia, predominantly astrocytes, and few remained at progenitor state. About 80% of grafted cells around the injury were glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive, gradually decreasing to 40–50% at a distance of 6 mm. Conversely, there were few graft-derived oligodendrocytes at the lesion, but their numbers increased away from the injury to 30–40%. Both cell grafts reduced cyst and scar formation at the injury site compared to controls. Microglia/macrophages were present at and around the lesion area, and axons grew along the spared tissue with no differences among groups. There were no significant improvements in motor function recovery as measured by the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) scale and grid tests in all experimental groups. Cystometry revealed that hGRP grafts attenuated hyperactive bladder reflexes. Importantly, there was no increased sensory or tactile sensitivity associated with pain, and the hGDA group showed sensory function returning to normal. Although the improved lesion environment was not sufficient for robust functional recovery, the permissive properties and lack of sensory hypersensitivity indicate that human GRP and astrocytes remain promising candidates for therapy after SCI.
axon growth; bladder control; motor and sensory function; neural stem cells; scar formation
The allyl moiety of the immunosuppressive agent FK506 is structurally unique amongst polyketides and critical for its potent biological activity. Here, we detail the biosynthetic pathway to allylmalonyl-coenzyme A (CoA), from which the FK506 allyl group is derived, based on a comprehensive chemical, biochemical and genetic interrogation of three FK506 gene clusters. A discrete polyketide synthase (PKS) with noncanonical domain architecture presumably in coordination with the fatty acid synthase pathway of the host catalyzes a multi-step enzymatic reaction to allylmalonyl-CoA via trans-2-pentenyl-acyl carrier protein. Characterization of this discrete pathway facilitated the engineered biosynthesis of novel allyl group-modified FK506 analogs, namely 36-fluoro-FK520 and 36-methyl-FK506, the latter of which exhibits improved neurite outgrowth activity. This unique feature of FK506 biosynthesis, in which a dedicated PKS provides an atypical extender unit for the main modular PKS, illuminates a new strategy for the combinatorial biosynthesis of designer macrolide scaffolds as well as FK506 analogs.
allylmlonyl-CoA; FK506; polyketide extender unit; mutasynthesis
There are two independent molecules in the asymmetric unit of the title compound, C20H17ClO3, each having an E configuration about the –C=C– bond. The dihedral angles between the two benzene rings in the two molecules are 7.17 (11) and 9.82 (11)°. In both molecules, the hydroxy group is involved in an intramolecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bond.
Ginsenoside Rh2 (G-Rh2) has been shown to induce apoptotic cell death in a variety of cancer cells. However, the details of the signal transduction cascade involved in G-Rh2-induced cell death is unclear. In this manuscript we elucidate the molecular mechanism of G-Rh2-induced apoptosis in human hepatoma SK-HEP-1 cells by demonstrating that G-Rh2 causes rapid and dramatic translocation of both Bak and Bax, which subsequently triggers mitochondrial cytochrome c release and consequent caspase activation. Interestingly, siRNA-based gene inactivation of caspase-8 effectively delays caspase-9 activation and apoptosis induced by G-Rh2, indicating that caspase-8 also plays an important role in the G-Rh2-induced apoptosis program. Taken together, our results indicate that G-Rh2 employs a multi pro-apoptotic pathway to execute cancer cell death, suggesting a potential role for G-Rh2 as a powerful chemotherapeutic agent.
apoptosis; Bax/Bak translocation; caspase activation cascade; caspase-8/Bid pathway; ginsenoside Rh2
Pluripotency, a characteristic of cells in the inner cell mass of the mammalian preimplantation blastocyst as well as of embryonic stem cells, is defined as the ability of a cell to generate all of the cell types of an organism. A group of transcription factors is essential for the establishment and maintenance of the pluripotent state. Recent studies have demonstrated that differentiated somatic cells could be reverted to a pluripotent state by the overexpression of a set of transcription factors, further highlighting the significance of transcription factors in the control of pluripotency. Among these factors, a member of the POU transcription factor family, Oct4, is central to the machinery governing pluripotency. Oct4 is highly expressed in pluripotent cells and becomes silenced upon differentiation. Interestingly, the precise expression level of Oct4 determines the fate of embryonic stem cells. Therefore, to control the expression of Oct4 precisely, a variety of regulators function at multiple levels, including transcription, translation of mRNA and post-translational modification. Additionally, in cooperation with Sox2, Nanog and other members of the core transcriptional regulatory circuitry, Oct4 activates both protein-coding genes and noncoding RNAs necessary for pluripotency. Simultaneously, in association with transcriptional repressive complexes, Oct4 represses another set of targets involved in developmental processes. Importantly, Oct4 can re-establish pluripotency in somatic cells, and proper reprogramming of Oct4 expression is indispensable for deriving genuine induced pluripotent stem cell lines. In the past several years, genome-wide identification of Oct4 target genes and Oct4-centered protein interactomes has been reported, indicating that Oct4 exerts tight control over pluripotency regulator expression and protects embryonic stem cells in an undifferentiated state. Nevertheless, further investigation is required to fully elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms through which Oct4 maintains and reinitiates pluripotency. Systemic and dynamic exploration of the protein complexes and target genes associated with Oct4 will help to elucidate the role of Oct4 more comprehensively.
Generalized vitiligo is a common autoimmune disease in which acquired patchy depigmentation of skin, hair, and mucous membranes results from loss of melanocytes from involved areas. Previous genetic analyses have focused on vitiligo susceptibility, and have identified a number of genes involved in disease risk. Age of onset of generalized vitiligo also involves a substantial genetic component, but has not previously been studied systematically. In this study, we report a genome-wide association study of vitiligo age of onset in 1,339 generalized vitiligo patients, with replication in an independent cohort of 677 cases. We identified a quantitative trait locus for vitiligo age of onset in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II region, located near c6orf10-BTNL2 (rs7758128; P = 8.14×10−11), a region that is also associated with generalized vitiligo susceptibility. In contrast, there was no association of vitiligo age of onset with any other MHC or non-MHC loci that are associated with vitiligo susceptibility. These findings highlight the differing roles played by genes involved in vitiligo susceptibility versus vitiligo age of onset, and illustrate that genome-wide analyses can be used to identify genes involved in quantitative aspects of disease natural history, as well as disease susceptibility per se.
We previously carried out a genome-wide association study of generalized vitiligo (GV) in non-Hispanic whites, identifying 13 confirmed susceptibility loci. In this study, we re-analyzed the genome-wide data set (comprising 1,392 cases and 2,629 controls) to specifically test association of all 33 GV candidate genes that have previously been suggested for GV, followed by meta-analysis incorporating both current and previously published data. We detected association of three of the candidate genes tested: TSLP (rs764916, P = 3.0E-04, odds ratio (OR)= 1.60; meta-P for rs3806933= 3.1E-03), XBP1 (rs6005863, P = 3.6E-04, OR= 1.17; meta-P for rs2269577= 9.5E-09), and FOXP3 (rs11798415, P = 5.8E-04, OR= 1.19). Association of GV with CTLA4 (rs12992492, P = 5.9E-05, OR= 1.20; meta-P for rs231775= 1.0E-04) seems to be secondary to epidemiological association with other concomitant autoimmune diseases. Within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), at 6p21.33, association with TAP1-PSMB8 (rs3819721, P = 5.2E-06) seems to derive from linkage disequilibrium with major primary signals in the MHC class I and class II regions.