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1.  The tumour suppressor Ras-association domain family protein 1A (RASSF1A) regulates TNF-α signalling in cardiomyocytes 
Cardiovascular Research  2014;103(1):47-59.
Tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) plays a key role in the regulation of cardiac contractility. Although cardiomyocytes are known to express the TNF-α receptors (TNFRs), the mechanism of TNF-α signal transmission is incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the tumour suppressor Ras-association domain family protein 1 isoform A (RASSF1A) modulates TNF-α signalling in cardiomyocytes.
Methods and results
We used RASSF1A knockout (RASSF1A−/−) mice and wild-type (WT) littermates in this study. Acute stimulation with a low dose of TNF-α (10 µg/kg iv) increased cardiac contractility and intracellular calcium transients' amplitude in WT mice. In contrast, RASSF1A−/− mice showed a blunted contractile response. Mechanistically, RASSF1A was essential in the formation of the TNFR complex (TNFRC), where it functions as an adaptor molecule to facilitate the recruitment of TNFR type 1-associated death domain protein and TNFR-associated factor 2 to form the TNF-α receptor complex. In the absence of RASSF1A, signal transmission from the TNF-α receptor complex to the downstream effectors, such as cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 and protein kinase A, was attenuated leading to the reduction in the activation of calcium handling molecules, such as L-type Ca2+ channel and ryanodine receptors.
Our data indicate an essential role of RASSF1A in regulating TNF-α signalling in cardiomyocytes, with RASSF1A being key in the formation of the TNFRC and in signal transmission to the downstream targets.
PMCID: PMC4207857  PMID: 24776599
Calcium transient; Contractile function; RASSF1A; Signal transduction; Tumour necrosis factor alpha
2.  Small Molecules Greatly Improve Conversion of Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to the Neuronal Lineage 
Stem Cells International  2012;2012:140427.
Efficient in vitro differentiation into specific cell types is more important than ever after the breakthrough in nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells and its potential for disease modeling and drug screening. Key success factors for neuronal differentiation are the yield of desired neuronal marker expression, reproducibility, length, and cost. Three main neuronal differentiation approaches are stromal-induced neuronal differentiation, embryoid body (EB) differentiation, and direct neuronal differentiation. Here, we describe our neurodifferentiation protocol using small molecules that very efficiently promote neural induction in a 5-stage EB protocol from six induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) lines from patients with Parkinson's disease and controls. This protocol generates neural precursors using Dorsomorphin and SB431542 and further maturation into dopaminergic neurons by replacing sonic hedgehog with purmorphamine or smoothened agonist. The advantage of this approach is that all patient-specific iPSC lines tested in this study were successfully and consistently coaxed into the neural lineage.
PMCID: PMC3339118  PMID: 22567022
3.  HLA-Cw group 1 ligands for KIR increase susceptibility to invasive cervical cancer 
Immunogenetics  2010;62(11-12):761-765.
Inherited genetic polymorphisms within immune response genes have been shown to associate with risk of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) and its immediate precursor, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3. Here, we used the transmission/disequilibrium test to detect disease-liability alleles and investigate haplotype transmission of KIR and HLA class I polymorphisms in a large family-based population of women with cervical cancer and their biological parents (359 trios). The effect of distinct human papillomavirus types was also explored. HLA-Cw group 1 (HLA-Cw alleles with asparagine at position 80), which serves as ligand for certain killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), was significantly overtransmitted in women with ICC (P=0.04), and particularly in the subgroup of women infected with high risk HPV16 or 18 subtypes (P=0.008). These data support the involvement of the HLA-C locus in modulating the risk of cervical neoplasia perhaps through its function as ligands for KIR, but functional studies are essential to confirm this hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC3043355  PMID: 20857097
Cervical neoplasia; HPV; HLA; KIR
4.  TP53, MDM2, NQO1 and susceptibility to Cervical Cancer 
Host genetic variability modifies the risk of cervical cancer in women infected with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV). Studies have reported an association of the TP53 codon 72 arginine and cervical cancer, but the results are inconsistent. We examined the association of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in women with cervical cancer and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3), using family-based association test. We further explored SNPs in two genes that regulate p53 stability: MDM2 (SNP309) and NQO1 (SNP609, SNP465). We also examined the relationship between host genotype and tumor HPV type. We genotyped 577 patients and their biological parents and/or siblings, using PCR-RFLP or TaqMan assays. HPVs were typed by sequence-based methods. The transmission/disequilibrium test was used to detect disease-susceptibility alleles. The arginine peptide of TP53 codon 72 was overtransmitted in Caucasian families (P=0.043), and the significance of this finding was enhanced in a subgroup of women infected with HPV16- and/or 18-related HPVs (P=0.026). Allele C of NQO1 SNP609 was also overtransmitted in all cases (P=0.026). We found no association between MDM2 SNP309 or NQO1 SNP465 and cervical cancer. Our results indicate that functional polymorphisms in TP53 codon 72 and NQO1 SNP609 associate with the risk of cervical cancer especially in women infected with type 16- and/or 18-related HPVs.
PMCID: PMC2837516  PMID: 20200430
cervical cancer; TP53; MDM2; NQO1; HPV; family-based association study
5.  Polymorphisms in MMP9 and SIPA1 are associated with increased risk of nodal metastases in early stage cervical cancer 
Gynecologic oncology  2009;116(3):539.
Heritable polymorphisms modulate metastatic efficiency in cancer. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MMP9 (rs17576) and SIPA1 (rs746429, rs931127) have been associated with nodal metastases in multiple cancers. We investigated the association of these SNPs with nodal metastases in early stage cervical cancer.
Consecutive patients with stage IB cervical cancer who underwent a pelvic lymph node (LN) dissection were included. Cases (≥ 1 positive LN, n=101) were compared with controls (negative LN pathology, n=273). Genotyping was performed on genomic DNA in the 3 SNPs using a Taqman assay, and correlated with clinical variables.
The G allele at SIPA1 rs931127 was associated with an increased risk of nodal disease (OR 1.9, p=0.03), and approached significance at SIPA 1 rs746429 (OR 2.2, p=0.09) and MMP9 rs17576 (OR 1.5, 0.08). In patients with stage Ib1 lesions (n=304), the G allele at both SIPA1 SNPs were associated with LN metastases (rs746429 OR 10.1, p=0.01; rs931127 OR 2.4, p=0.01). In patients with no lymph vascular space invasion, SIPA1 SNPs were again associated with LN metastases, and all patients with nodal disease had at least one G allele at SIPA1 rs746429.
In this case control study, SNPs in SIPA1 varied statistically in cervical cancer patients with and without nodal metastases, and in MMP9 after controlling for stage and lymphvascular space invasion. Further work is needed to characterize inherited polymorphisms that provide a permissive background for the metastatic cascade.
PMCID: PMC2822070  PMID: 19906411
6.  A unified sample preparation protocol for proteomic and genomic profiling of cervical swabs to identify biomarkers for cervical cancer screening 
Proteomics. Clinical applications  2008;2(12):1658-1669.
Cervical cancer screening is ideally suited for the development of biomarkers due to the ease of tissue acquisition and the well-established histological transitions. Furthermore, cell and biologic fluid obtained from cervix samples undergo specific molecular changes that can be profiled. However, the ideal manner and techniques for preparing cervical samples remains to be determined. To address this critical issue a patient screening protein and nucleic acid collection protocol was established. RNAlater was used to collect the samples followed by proteomic methods to identify proteins that were differentially expressed in normal cervical epithelial versus cervical cancer cells. Three hundred ninety spots were identified via two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) that were expressed at either higher or lower levels (>3-fold) in cervical cancer samples. These proteomic results were compared to genes in a cDNA microarray analysis of microdissected neoplastic cervical specimens to identify overlapping patterns of expression. The most frequent pathways represented by the combined dataset were: cell cycle: G2/M DNA damage checkpoint regulation; aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling; p53 signaling; cell cycle: G1/S checkpoint regulation; and the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway. HNRPA2B1 was identified as a biomarker candidate with increased expression in cancer compared to normal cervix and validated by Western blot.
PMCID: PMC3042129  PMID: 21136816
2-D DIGE; biomarkers; cervical cancer; cDNA microarray; RNAlater
7.  Identification and Characterization of Novel Polymorphisms in the Basal Promoter of the Human Transporter, MATE1 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2009;19(10):770-780.
Human multidrug and toxin extrusion member 1, MATE1 (SLC47A1), plays an important role in the renal and biliary excretion of endogenous and exogenous organic cations including many therapeutic drugs. In this study, we characterized the transcriptional effects of five polymorphic variants and six common haplotypes in the basal promoter region of MATE1 that were identified in 272 DNA samples from ethnically diverse U.S. populations. We measured luciferase activities of the six common promoter haplotypes of MATE1 using in vitro and in vivo reporter assays. Haplotypes that contain the most common variant (mean allele frequency in four ethnics: 0.322), g.−66T>C, showed a significant decrease in reporter activities compared to the reference. Two transcription factors, AP-1 and AP-2rep, were predicted to bind to the promoter in the region of g.−66T>C. Results from electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that the g.−66T allele, exhibited greater binding to AP-1 than the g.−66C allele. AP-2rep inhibited the binding of AP-1 to the MATE1 basal promoter region, and the effect was considerably greater for the g.−66T>C. These data suggest that the reduced transcriptional activity of g.−66T>C results from a reduction in the binding potency of the transcriptional activator, AP-1, and an enhanced binding potency of the repressor, AP-2rep to the MATE1 basal promoter region. Consistent with the reporter assays, MATE1 mRNA expression levels were significantly lower in kidney samples from individuals who were homozygous or heterozygous for g.−66T>C in comparison to samples from individuals who were homozygous for the g.−66T allele. Our study suggests that the rate of transcription of MATE1 is regulated by AP-1 and AP-2rep and that a common promoter variant, g.−66T>C may affect the expression level of MATE1 in human kidney, and ultimately result in variation in drug disposition and response.
PMCID: PMC2976711  PMID: 19745787
MATE1; Haplotype; Promoter; AP-1; AP-2rep; Transcriptional activity; Pharmacogenomics; Membrane transporters; SLC47A1; Polymorphisms
8.  Adhesion to the extracellular matrix is required for interleukin-1 beta actions leading to reactive phenotype in rat astrocytes 
The extracellular matrix (ECM) of the brain is essential for homeostasis and normal functions, but is rapidly remodelled during acute brain injury alongside the development of an inflammatory response driven by the cytokine interleukin (IL)-1. Whether the ECM regulates IL-1 actions in astrocytes is completely unknown. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that cellular attachment to the ECM is a critical mediator of IL-1β-induced signalling pathways and development of reactive phenotype in astrocytes. Primary rat astrocytes adhered to fibronectin, laminin and fibrillin-1 in an integrin-dependent manner. Attachment to these ECM molecules significantly increased IL-1β-induced activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and inhibition of RhoA and Rho kinase (ROCK), coincident with loss of focal adhesions and cellular morphological changes. Our data demonstrate that the ECM regulates IL-1 actions in astrocytes via cross-talk mechanisms between ERK1/2 and RhoA/ROCK, which could have important implications in brain inflammatory disorders.
PMCID: PMC3507629  PMID: 20380881
Inflammation; Extracellular matrix; CNS; Interleukin; Integrin; Astrocytes
9.  Differential display identifies overexpression of the USP36 gene, encoding a deubiquitinating enzyme, in ovarian cancer 
Objectives. To find potential diagnostic markers or therapeutic targets, we used differential display technique to identify genes that are over or under expressed in human ovarian cancer.
Methods. Genes were initially identified by differential display between two human ovarian surface epithelium cultures and two ovarian cancer cell lines, A2780 and Caov-3. Genes were validated by relative quantitative RT-PCR and RNA in situ hybridization.
Results. Twenty-eight non-redundant sequences were expressed differentially in the normal ovarian epithelium and ovarian cancer cell lines. Seven of the 28 sequences showed differential expression between normal ovary and ovarian cancer tissue by RT-PCR. USP36 was over-expressed in ovarian cancer cell lines and tissues by RT-PCR and RNA in situ hybridization. Northern blot analysis and RT-PCR revealed two transcripts for USP36 in ovarian tissue. The major transcript was more specific for ovarian cancer and was detected by RT-PCR in 9/9 ovarian cancer tissues, 3/3 cancerous ascites, 5/14 (36%) sera from patients with ovarian cancer, and 0/7 sera from women without ovarian cancer.
Conclusion. USP36 is overexpressed in ovarian cancer compared to normal ovary and its transcripts were identified in ascites and serum of ovarian cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC2424181  PMID: 18566677
ovarian cancer; biological markers; ubiquitin specific peptidase 36 (USP36); deubiquitinating enzyme
10.  The ets-Related Transcription Factor GABP Directs Bidirectional Transcription 
PLoS Genetics  2007;3(11):e208.
Approximately 10% of genes in the human genome are distributed such that their transcription start sites are located less than 1 kb apart on opposite strands. These divergent gene pairs have a single intergenic segment of DNA, which in some cases appears to share regulatory elements, but it is unclear whether these regions represent functional bidirectional promoters or two overlapping promoters. A recent study showed that divergent promoters are enriched for consensus binding sequences of a small group of transcription factors, including the ubiquitous ets-family transcription factor GA-binding protein (GABP). Here we show that GABP binds to more than 80% of divergent promoters in at least one cell type. Furthermore, we demonstrate that GABP binding is correlated and associated with bidirectional transcriptional activity in a luciferase transfection assay. In addition, we find that the addition of a strict consensus GABP site into a set of promoters that normally function in only one direction significantly increases activity in the opposite direction in 67% of cases. Our findings demonstrate that GABP regulates the majority of divergent promoters and suggest that bidirectional transcriptional activity is mediated through GABP binding and transactivation at both divergent and nondivergent promoters.
Author Summary
Surveys of the locations of genes in the human genome have revealed that a surprising number of genes, greater than 10%, have transcription start sites within 1 kb of one another on opposite strands. These divergent gene pairs, sometimes referred to as bidirectional genes, are common in organisms such as bacteria and yeast, but it is unknown why such an arrangement exists in large, mammalian genomes. Recently, it has become apparent that the promoters of these divergent genes are regulated by a subset of transcription factors, and we have focused on one of these, GA-binding protein (GABP). We find that it regulates a large number of human genes, including the majority of divergent genes, and that its binding is associated with, correlated with, and sufficient for bidirectional transcriptional activity. Although clearly GABP is a major regulator of divergent genes, which carry out a variety of roles critical for the function and survival of the cell, these data also propose novel roles for GABP as a transcription factor. For example, the ability of GABP to promote bidirectional transcription may prove to be biologically relevant in generating many of the transcripts that have been observed outside of protein coding genes.
PMCID: PMC2077898  PMID: 18020712
11.  Denaturing High-Performance Liquid Chromatography for Detecting and Typing Genital Human Papillomavirus 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(12):5563-5571.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are important in the development of human cancers, including cervical and oral tumors. However, most existing methods for HPV typing cannot routinely distinguish among the more than 100 distinct types of HPV or the natural HPV intratypic variants that have also been documented. To address this problem, we developed a novel method, general primer-denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (GP-dHPLC), for the detection and typing of genital HPV using an automated 96-well plate format. GP-dHPLC uses general primer PCR (GP-PCR) to amplify the viral DNA and then analyzes the GP-PCR products by denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC). A number of different primer pairs with homology to most known genital HPV types were tested, and the L1C1-L1C2M pair specific for the L1 region of the viral genome was chosen. A set of HPV standard control patterns, consisting of those for HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 6, and 11, was established for genital HPV typing. One hundred eighty-six frozen and formalin-fixed cervical cancer tissue samples were analyzed for the presence of HPV and the HPV type by this method, and 95.8% of them were found to contain HPV DNA. GP-dHPLC accurately discriminated among HPV variants that differed by as little as one nucleotide. Several new variants of HPV types 16, 18, 39, 45, 52, and 59 were identified. Moreover, multiple HPV infections were detected in 26.6% of the samples. Our results indicate that HPV typing by GP-dHPLC permits discrimination of common genital HPV types, detection of multiple HPV infections, and identification of HPV variants in clinical samples.
PMCID: PMC309016  PMID: 14662941

Results 1-11 (11)